U.S., Canada Strengthen Bilateral Security Relationship

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2012 — The Unit­ed States and Cana­da expand­ed their secu­ri­ty rela­tion­ship today by enter­ing into two new agree­ments and renew­ing anoth­er that pro­mote clos­er cross-bor­der coop­er­a­tion and lay out both coun­tries’ roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties in the event of a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter or attack.

Army Gen. Charles Jaco­by Jr., com­man­der of North Amer­i­can Aero­space Defense Com­mand and U.S. North­ern Com­mand, joined Lt. Gen. Wal­ter Semi­aniw of the Cana­di­an army, com­man­der of Cana­da Com­mand, dur­ing defense meet­ings in the Cana­di­an cap­i­tal of Ottawa to sign three key doc­u­ments that strength­en the com­bined defense and secu­ri­ty of the Unit­ed States and Cana­da, North­com offi­cials report­ed.

The new Com­bined Defense Plan estab­lish­es a plan­ning frame­work to enhance defense coop­er­a­tion between the two coun­tries in the event their gov­ern­ments need each other’s assis­tance, such as dur­ing a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter or attack, offi­cials explained.

Jaco­by and Semi­aniw also renewed for the next two years the Civ­il Assis­tance Plan that allows the mil­i­tary from one nation to sup­port the armed forces of the oth­er nation dur­ing a civ­il emer­gency. That agree­ment, in effect since 2008, rec­og­nizes the role of each nation’s lead fed­er­al agency for emer­gency pre­pared­ness, but facil­i­tates mil­i­tary sup­port of civ­il author­i­ties once gov­ern­ment author­i­ties have agreed on an appro­pri­ate response, offi­cials said.

In the Unit­ed States, the Home­land Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment would be the lead agency. In Cana­da, it would be Pub­lic Safe­ty Cana­da.

A third doc­u­ment signed today, the Infor­ma­tion Shar­ing Mem­o­ran­dum of Under­stand­ing, updates and for­mal­izes exist­ing arrange­ments to pro­mote infor­ma­tion-shar­ing among the three orga­ni­za­tions, offi­cials said.

Jaco­by said the doc­u­ments rein­force an already-strong defense rela­tion­ship.

“Cana­da and the Unit­ed States are great secu­ri­ty part­ners who have worked togeth­er for over half a cen­tu­ry,” he said at the sign­ing.

“These three doc­u­ments pro­vide us with the nec­es­sary means to bet­ter coor­di­nate our com­bined mil­i­tary resources to help our fel­low Amer­i­cans and Cana­di­ans dur­ing emer­gen­cies,” Jaco­by con­tin­ued. “They help us be bet­ter pre­pared to defend the inter­ests of our two great coun­tries.”

The sign­ing took place as both gen­er­als attend­ed meet­ings of the Per­ma­nent Joint Board of Defense, the high­est-lev­el defense forum between the Unit­ed States and Cana­da. The cur­rent meet­ing, the 228th in the body’s 70 years, fea­tured talks on con­ti­nen­tal defense and secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion, region­al engage­ment and the arc­tic.

Cana­di­an Defense Min­is­ter Peter MacK­ay, who deliv­ered the keynote address at the forum last night, told par­tic­i­pants the new agree­ments pro­mote com­bined defense of the Unit­ed States and Cana­da dur­ing peace, con­tin­gen­cies and war.

They describe the author­i­ties and means by which the two gov­ern­ments would approve home­land mil­i­tary oper­a­tions in the event of a mutu­al­ly agreed threat, and how the two mil­i­taries would col­lab­o­rate and share infor­ma­tion, he added.

MacK­ay empha­sized the close defense and secu­ri­ty rela­tions between the two coun­tries, call­ing the bilat­er­al mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship a mod­el for broad­er cross-bor­der coop­er­a­tion between civil­ian agen­cies as well.

He cit­ed the val­ue of the Per­ma­nent Joint Board on Defense in pro­mot­ing this rela­tion­ship.

“The Unit­ed States is Canada’s most impor­tant ally and defense part­ner, and strate­gic dis­cus­sion entrench our defense rela­tion­ship at a crit­i­cal time,” he said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)