The Arctic‑Offshore Patrol Ship and its Future Operation in the Canadian North

Maritime Security Workshop Series
5 June 2015, Dalhousie University

On 16 January 2015 the Government of Canada awarded Irving Shipbuilding the contract to build as many as six Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS), to be known as the DeWolf-class. These new ships represent expanded potential for northern and offshore tasks, as well as for the support of other government policy goals and objectives through collaboration with traditional partners. The Canadian north is a harsh operating area for all vessels, and the distance from rescue, repair and fuel facilities is enormous. Understanding the nature of the environment will help to shape expectations for the nature of the tasks that can be conducted there by the AOPSs and their crews. The ability to provide support and see tasks through to completion in the North is affected by the endurance of the ship and crew and relies on a vast and complex network to deliver the necessary services while deployed, both in port and underway.

Workshop Intent

The Canadian north is a harsh operating area for all vessels, and the distance from rescue, repair and fuel facilities is enormous. Understanding the nature of the environment will help to shape expectations for the nature of the tasks that can be conducted there by the AOPSs and their crews. The practical ability to conduct tasks and maintain a presence in the Arctic will be governed by a wide array of factors. Likewise, the length of time available to undertake these tasks will be governed by logistical factors that must also be understood. The ability to provide support and see tasks through to completion in the North is affected by the endurance of the ship and crew and relies on a vast and complex network to deliver the necessary services while deployed, both in port and underway.

What are the key elements for consideration in developing a practical approach to operations in the Arctic, in order to realize the potential of AOPS as a whole-of-government platform? Why do we care about the Arctic? What are the strategic elements of AOPS operations in the Arctic? How will the AOPS affect navy-coast guard interaction? And how will the AOPS contribute to scientific research in the Arctic? These questions will be the focus of this workshop.

Programme of Events

Friday, 5 June 2015         1130 - 1800

Location: 6300 Coburg Rd., University Hall, MacDonald Building

For more information please refer to the full workshop program

1130 - 1215 Registration & Buffet Lunch

1215 - 1230 Introductions & Welcome

1230 - 1315 Rear-Admiral John Newton: The RCN AOPS Concept of Employment

1315 - 1330 Health Break

1330 - 1430 Panel Session − AOPS and the Arctic: The Strategic, the Practical and the Potential

This panel will look at how the characteristics of the AOPS will potentially and practically respond to the strategic and operational demands and how the ship will integrate and support other policy goals and objectives.
Chair:  Mark Sloan – CFPS Fellow

Topic 1 − Why the Arctic is important and why we should care

Panelist: Dave Smart, CFPS

The Arctic is an important dimension of the Canadian national identity.  Many of its fundamental characteristics are changing. Do we understand how these changes will affect the maritime dimension of the North and shape future AOPS operations?

Topic 2 − The Future of the Coast Guard-Navy Relationship in the Arctic

Panelist: Daniel Breton, Senior Director, World Class Strategies

The Canadian Coast Guard has a long history of operations in the North. It also has plans for new capabilities that could reshape future CCG activities. What is the CCG vision for the future and how might AOPS best be integrated into a holistic approach to achieving maritime security in the Arctic?

Topic 3 − Advancing Research in the Arctic

Panelist: Jim Hanlon, IORE

To learn more about the Arctic and use that knowledge in future plans and operations requires a commitment to supporting research activities in the North. AOPS will have enhanced capacities to support and sustain operations onboard for groups and organizations not normally affiliated with naval tasks. How might these capabilities affect the advancement of scientific research and other related activities?

1430 - 1500 Health Break

1500 - 1545 Moderated Q&A Session

1545 - 1600 Panel Session − Wrap up & Take-Aways

1600 - 1615 Workshop Closing Remarks

1615 - 1800 Workshop Closing Reception (Dalhousie UClub)


AOPS & the Arctic: Future Trents and Influences (Dave Smart, CFPS)

Canadian Coast Guard Services in the Arctic (Daniel Breton - Senior Director, World Class Strategies)

Advancing Research in the Arctic (Jim Hanlon - CEO, Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise)

Biographies of Workshop Presenters and Panel Chairs

Daniel Breton joined the Canadian Coast Guard in 2007 and became responsible for Canada-wide client consultations on the services provided by the Canadian Coast Guard in addition to being in charge of key transformational projects in the fields of search and rescue and aids to navigation.  In 2008, he was appointed Director of Marine Navigation.  His responsibilities included the nation-wide policies and management frameworks for the Coast Guard Icebreaking, Waterways Management, and Aids to Navigation programs, including championing the implementation of the e-Navigation concept in Canada. In 2015, he was appointed Executive Director of World Class Strategies where he oversees various initiatives designed at strengthening Canada’s marine safety regime North and South of Canada, including the implementing of the Area Response Planning initiative.

Jim Hanlon is a 30-year veteran of the ocean tech industry, having worked in design, marketing and management for companies in Canada and New England.  His career has spanned the aerospace and defence sectors as well as the marine environmental monitoring field. Over the years, he has worked in senior management positions with several large publicly traded multinationals but has also sampled the waters of the entrepreneurial well as an owner in two separate ocean tech companies that have successfully grown and been purchased by multinationals.

Until February of 2012, he was the President of Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems in Halifax.  He and his partners sold their company to Ultra in May of 2008. In May of 2012, Jim assumed the role of CEO of the Halifax Marine Research Institute, now re-named the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise (IORE), a not-for-profit company established to foster collaborative ocean research among universities, government labs and private companies. His personal passion is innovation and its impact on the competitiveness of the ocean tech industry.

He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from The Nova Scotia Technical College (now Dalhousie University).  He also has an MBA in marketing from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and he is a registered professional engineer in Nova Scotia.

Rear-Admiral John Newton began his career in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1983, after an early occupation as a geologist. He enrolled as a Maritime Surface Officer, after an increased desire for challenge and adventure that he was certain he could find in a career that stretches itself through the shifting tides of the world’s active oceans.

In his early years as a junior naval officer, he acquired specialist skills in navigation, communications and operations, and completed tours in the destroyer HMCS Iroquois, the replenishment ship HMCS Preserver and the frigate HMCS Montreal. Over the years, he has developed a specialty in Canadian maritime sovereignty, gained through countless fishery patrols and three Arctic sovereignty missions.

While every progression in his career has been enjoyable, one of Rear-Admiral Newton’s fondest memories is when he experienced his life-long dream to patrol the fabled Northwest Passage while he was Commanding Officer of HMCS Fredericton from 2003 until 2006.

In 2000, he completed a year of Joint military studies at the Command and Staff College Toronto, followed by advanced military studies in 2004.

Rear-Admiral Newton has served his country on different fronts. He has deployed on NATO missions of the Cold War, and UN peace support operations, including the Gulf War in 1991, Haiti in 1993, and the maritime embargo of the former Yugoslavia in 1995. Of note, in 2006, he served at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa as Director of International Plans in the Strategic Joint Staff, working on files such as the commitment of the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Sudan, amongst others.

Beyond professional duties, Rear-Admiral Newton focuses strongly on his family. He strives to maintain a balanced work-home life, despite the rapid waves of naval responsibilities that consume his time as Commander and require his steady leadership.

Mark Sloan graduated from Nottingham University with a BSc (Honours) degree in Geography, and then served as a warfare officer in the UK’s Royal Navy.  He Commanded the frigates HMS Lancaster (1993-1995) and HMS Campbeltown (2001-2003), and completed a number of staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence.  His final appointment, in the rank of Commodore, was as the Director Maritime and Joint Concepts at the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre.  In this assignment, he was charged with developing concepts in support of the capability development process for both the Royal Navy and the Joint Services.  After leaving the Royal Navy and moving to Canada in early 2009, he was became a Research Fellow at Dalhousie University’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies where his research interests include maritime security and the Arctic.  He was also the lead researcher for the Operational Responses theme of the Dalhousie Marine Affairs Program’s study into a comprehensive approach to countering piracy.

Dave Smart, BA, MSc., CD  has been a Fellow with the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie since 2012 and his primary research interests are in governance, readiness and sustainment, and inter-agency collaboration within the realm of maritime security and defence. As well, he is a sessional lecturer for the School of Public Administration at Dalhousie University, in the Master of Public Administration Program and he also teaches international economics at Mount Saint Vincent University. In addition, he has established a management consulting business focused on project management and government procurement.

He had over 30 years in the federal public service, including 27 years with the Royal Canadian Navy as a logistics officer. Most notably he was a former Comptroller for Maritime Forces Atlantic and the Comptroller and Director-General Corporate Services for the Chief of the Maritime Staff in Ottawa. His most recent position was the Special Advisor (Policy) for the Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic, a position he held from when it was established in 2009 until its deletion through the federal government’s strategic review in 2013.  He was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee medal in September 2012 in recognition of his exemplary service to Canadians.

He is a graduate of Carleton University, Ottawa (BA); National Defence University, Washington, DC, USA (MSc) and holds a Certificate in Adult Education from the former Henson College, Halifax.