The National Security Studies Program

The Policy insights forum presents

About the NSSP

The PIF’s National Security Studies Program (NSSP) will investigate what it would mean to redefine Canada’s National Security in the digital era. The PIF, utilizing podcasts, conferences, and strategic research, will explore Canada’s national interests in respect of the security of its economy, its people, its energy and food supplies, and its political health. These will be examined through the lenses of selected components, threats, foresight, resilience, and defences.

Context

The focus of Canada’s National Security has been foreign relations and national defence. The understanding of what constitutes Canada’s National Security should evolve and encompass its broader and deeper interests, as Canada copes with changes in technology, global relationships, and its physical environment.

A significant argument can be made that Canada’s strategic interests with respect to how it is governed, its democratic institutions, its economic and human concerns, and its energy and food supplies, are vital to how it approaches the future as a matter of national security.

To explore this matter, the PIF has established the National Security Studies Program.

Purpose

Through a series of podcasts, conferences, and research projects, the National Security Studies Program will focus on how Canada’s National Security interests need to be redefined for the digital era.

By analyzing Canada’s National Security through the lenses of specific elements – threats, foresight, resilience, and protection – the Program aims to provide a broader outlook and transcend traditional approaches to raise awareness and facilitate informed discussions regarding current and future National Security risks.

Overview

The theme of the Policy Insights Forum’s National Security Studies Program is ‘Redefining Canada’s National Security in the Digital Era’. National security cannot be narrowly defined as security from foreign military threats (as important as these nevertheless remain), but rather must encompass all serious risks to Canada:  its economy, its people, its energy and food supplies, and its political health.

These risks will be analyzed in light of four components: foresight, threats, defences, and resilience, and against the backdrop of what is now an overwhelmingly digital world.  

The Policy Insights Forum will – by way of a series of podcasts, conferences, and research papers – examine particular aspects of these risks, and various Canadian responses to them.  Uniquely, the NSSP will not only consider these matters from the perspective of Canadian society as a whole but will also examine them whenever possible from the standpoint of individual Canadian citizens.

All Episodes

-       Episode 1: A Primer on Espionage – January 24th, 2024
In this first episode of the Canadian Foreign Intelligence Service series, host Geoffrey St. John addresses some of the essential facts of espionage and intelligence gathering as well as some practical matters applicable to any Canadian service.

-       Episode 2: Views From Canadian Intelligence Historian Professor Wesley Wark – February 20th, 2024
Geoffrey St. John is joined by Professor Wesley Wark, a Canadian Intelligence Historian, to weigh on the reasonings, debates and government proposals surrounding a Foreign Intelligence Service.

-       Episode 3: National Security Expert Christian Leuprecht – March 5th, 2024
In this episode of the series, Geoffrey St. John welcomes Christian Leuprecht, a distinguished author, professor, and national security expert to explore supporting and opposing views as well as common misconceptions surrounding the roles of intelligence services.

-       Episode 4: National Security Advisor Vincent Rigby – March 20th, 2024
Vincent Rigby, a former National Security and Intelligence Advisor to the Prime Minister, joins Geoffrey St. John to discuss the reasons why Canada should consider creating a foreign intelligence service.

-       Episode 5: Former CSIS Director Ward Elcock – April 10th, 2024
Joining host Geoffrey St. John is former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director Ward Elcock, a subject matter expert with unique insight into the time needed to create a Canadian foreign intelligence service, the powers it would have, and its integration with CSIS.

About the Program Director

Geoffrey St. John is Program Director for the National Security Studies Program (NSSP) at the Policy Insights Forum. Geoffrey served for nearly forty years in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defence (DND). Prior to his retirement from the military, he served as a senior member of the Canadian Armed Forces Intelligence Branch. He was responsible for the CAF imagery intelligence directorate, was director of transnational intelligence issues, and he was Chief of the Middle East / North Africa sections at National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ).

While in service, Geoffrey was a Commonwealth exchange intelligence analyst at the US Defense Intelligence Agency. He was also the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Intelligence Advisory Committee at the Privy Council Office (PCO). Geoffrey completed two United Nations (UN) tours and was the head of the Global Affairs Canada peacekeeping policy section. He served two postings as the Canadian Defence Attaché for Italy, Greece, Albania and Israel.

He is a graduate of Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean, with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Geoffrey St. John

Program Director

geoffrey.st-john@policyinsights.ca

Point of Contact

Louis E. Romet serves as a Business Policy Analyst and Researcher at the Samuel Group of Companies and Policy Insights Forum (PIF) and is the 2023 recipient of the Dr. Robert Spencer Transatlantic Award in Strategic Studies. As a fully bilingual (FR/EN) professional, Louis’s work focuses on strategic consulting and government relations relating to the defence, security, and technology sectors as well as responsibilities within the PIF dealing with NATO, EU, and foreign government engagements.

Prior to joining the Samuel Team and the PIF, Louis held various progressive positions in the consulting industry covering government relations and law. His experience has led him to work with numerous companies in the defence, aerospace, energy, mining, and healthcare sectors.

Louis completed a Master’s degree in Political Science (MSc) at the University of Montreal and wrote his Master’s essay on defence policy, procurement, and strategy in the Canadian Arctic.

Louis holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law with a Minor in Economics and Management from Paris-Panthéon-Assas University and a joint degree in U.S. Law from Emory University School of Law, Georgia State College of Law, and the University of Warsaw Center for American Law Studies. He also completed a Certificate in Oil and Gas Operations and Markets from Duke University.

Louis E. Romet

Fellow

louis.romet@policyinsights.ca

The strategic thinkers series

All Episodes

The strategic thinkers series

All Episodes