It would be fascinating to find out if the Department of National Defence briefing to incoming minister Harjit Sajjan are quite as blatantly PR-focussed as the documents provided to former minister Jason Kenney when he took over the portfolio in February:
A new Liberal defence minister will inherit a self-conscious department that seems more than a little concerned about how it’s perceived by the public.
When Jason Kenney took over as national defence minister in February 2015, he was briefed with a thicker stack of papers about public opinion and media operations than about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Operation Reassurance and Operation Impact combined.
Embassy obtained the transition books for Mr. Kenney through an access to information request. Similar documents may be provided to a new minister when prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau names his Cabinet Nov. 4.
In a book about “Key Strategic Issues,” about 70 pages long, there are 17 pages worth of public opinion and media analysis, complete with graphs tracking Canadians’ perceptions of the department over years of polling data.
Conversely, only two pages of the document appear to be entirely devoted to Operation Reassurance in Central and Eastern Europe, two pages to Operation Impact in Iraq and Syria, four to NATO and two to NORAD.
Another transition book, titled “Who We Are and How We Work,” provided a broader departmental overview to the new minister of national defence.
Just shy of 70 pages, it includes information about ongoing Canadian Armed Forces operations, including all international engagements. It also gave the incoming minister a handy guide to key department officials, complete with photos and biographies.
A brief on strategic decision-making acknowledges that a prime minister or defence minister can make unilateral decisions on defence policy.
Cabinet does not need to sit together as a whole for major decisions to be made, the document explains.
“In some cases, a deployment decision will be made by a cabinet committee and, in others by the prime minister, or by the minister of national defence alone, or in conjunction with the minister of foreign affairs,” the transition book states.
H/T to MILNEWS.ca for the link.