CDA Conference 2012

Peter Mackay

Defence Minister Peter Mackay speaks at the Conference of Defence Association Institute annual conference on defence and security at Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.

February 23 – 24 saw the Conference of Defence Association Institutes hold its annual conference on defence and security and release the institute’s 2012 Strategic Outlook for Canada.

The conference, held at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier, brought together security and defence leaders from across the world to discuss what has been a volatile year.

Speakers included defence minister Peter Mackay, US CENTCOM commander Gen. James Mattis, and Canadian chief of defence staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk.

CDA’s 2012 outlook, released in the 46 page fifth volume of the Vimy Paper, covers everything from upcoming political events to analyst expectation for potential sources of conflict within the next year.

CDA outlined four regions they perceive as potential sources for international conflict in 2012.  The institute’s selection of Iran and the Arbian Gulf as the second most likely source of conflict emerged as one of the more controversial predictions of the conference.

Former Israeli national security advisor Dr. Uzi Arad delivered a speech early on February 23, noting that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, “acting in defiance of the international community.”

Arad placed much of the blame on what he calls an alliance of  like minded countries which has failed to act.   The debate over Iran’s nuclear ambition is, “a phony and false debate,” said Arad.

Roland Paris, research chair in international relations at University of Ottawa disagrees with Arad’s prescription for Iran.  “How do we know that any preemptive attack would eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity,” asked Paris.