Deepening Canada-U.S. Security And Military Ties

Posted on Friday, February 04 at 08:01 by NAUWATCH

By Dana Gabriel 

A recent North American defense ministers meeting was originally scheduled to be a trilateral gathering, but Mexico’s Secretary of Defense was unable to participate in the summit. Canada-U.S. talks focused on continental, hemispheric, as well as global defense issues. The meeting went a long way to further deepen bilateral security and military ties. It was also significant considering that Canada and the U.S. are currently negotiating an agreement that would work towards establishing a perimeter approach to security

On January 27, Canadian Minister of National Defense Peter MacKay hosted a bilateral meeting with his American counterpart U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, which centered on security issues of common interest. MacKay characterized the bilateral talks as an opportunity to, “build a better understanding of the threats facing our countries, as well as discuss the most effective ways to address them.” He added, “Our objective is simple: we will work to build on our defence and security cooperation with coordinated and sustained action.” Gates and MacKay addressed security issues facing Mexico and Central America. They discussed expanding cooperation in the Arctic, along with efforts to counter piracy, narcotics and human-trafficking. Also on the agenda was Afghanistan. Canada was set to pull its troops out in July of this year, but now its mission has been extended. It will transition from a combat role to training members of the Afghan military and police forces until 2014. In the coming years, Canada could be asked to play a bigger role in the war on terrorism, including participation in any future U.S.-NATO military operations.

At a Joint Press Conference the Canadian and U.S. defense chiefs further elaborated on what was discussed during their meeting. Minister Mackay emphasized that the talks, “were successful in strengthening and expanding the already strong defense relationship that exists between our two countries and in improving our bilateral coordination to effectively address threats to our common security.” He went on to say, “we discussed our bilateral efforts through NORAD as well as new challenges facing our defense and security institutions such as maritime domain awareness which now falls under NORAD, and ways to make our maritime approaches safer and cyber threats.” MacKay acknowledged, “What Secretary Gates and I discussed today will deepen the unique partnership between our countries on important defense issues and ultimately increase security for our citizens and our coordinated contributions to global security.” Although it was not specifically mentioned, the talks would have provided a perfect opportunity to address any military aspects associated with the proposed security perimeter agreement.

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