According to Canada’s 2019 Exports of Military Goods report, last year Canada exported weapons worth almost $4-billion—the highest value on public record. Saudi Arabia, which received 76 per cent of those weapons, is now almost certainly Canada’s prime customer, unseating the United States.
What if space has already been weaponized? This is the claim of the United States military. Following the official establishment of the Space Force in January 2020, a new Defense Space Strategy published in June presents a strategy for “winning wars” in a domain that it depicts as “weaponized” by Russia and China. Russia and China have made similar accusations against the United States.
Militaries are doing more research and development of artificial intelligence (AI), and are looking to implement AI systems. In early August of this year, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that later in the month a human fighter pilot would face off against an AI algorithm in virtual combat.
The Canadian government appears to be moving closer to acquiring armed drones. According to Justin Ling of Vice News, Canadian government officials recently briefed industry partners on systems requirements, with long-range surveillance and the ability to engage targets remotely seen as key to protecting Canadian territory and participating in foreign missions. But questions about the policies guiding the use of drones by the Canadian military remain unanswered and deserve more attention from civil society and the Canadian public.
Canada’s accession to the Arms Trade Treaty last year necessitated some welcome changes to Canada’s arms-control policies. But it appears that the export regime’s human-rights protections are still flawed. In this article, we focus on the activities of the Canadian Commercial Corporation.
COVID-19 disrupted international security diplomacy this year and led to the postponement of the consequential Review Conference of States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But 2020 remains a significant year for the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
In the fall of 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Operation IMPACT, Canada’s military contribution to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Approaching its sixth anniversary, Operation IMPACT is Canada’s most significant military operation since the war in Afghanistan.
Even during a health crisis, the need to make headway on security threats relating to nuclear weapons, autonomous robots, and other concerns remains. Project Ploughshares is still conducting rigorous research, providing fact-based analysis and commentary, engaging stakeholders in and out of government, proposing policy alternatives, and communicating our findings to our constituencies and the general public.
“Security theatre” is now being used to describe security measures that provide a false sense of safety by only seeming to address specific concerns. Typically expensive, such measures make life more difficult for ordinary people and actually decrease overall security by taking resources and attention away from effective responses. Moreover, some of these measures, like social profiling and the targeting of specific minority populations, can even pose dangers to human security if they are abused.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), widely considered the bedrock of the global nuclear disarmament regime, has not been immune to COVID-19. The latest in a series of Review Conferences (RevCon) of NPT states parties, which are held every five years, was to have taken place this past May at UN Headquarters in New York, but was postponed.