A new Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAOD) was issued earlier this year, reminding all Defence team members on how to appropriately safeguard and disclose information.
The directive is just one step in a series of steps in recent years to protect the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) from embarrassing and inappropriate leaks after a series of high-profile exposes that have scarred the military.
Appropriately disseminating information
The purpose of the DAOD is to remind everyone to “safeguard information appropriately and respect legislation and the government of Canada policies, directive and standards related to open government transparency and access to information,” stated the CANFORGEN.
According to a CANFORGEN released recently to all Defence team members, it is the “clear responsibility” of all to safeguard information appropriately.
“The defence team has a clear responsibility to safeguard information and only disclose it when authorized in accordance with legislation and government of Canada policies, directives and procedures,” stated the CANFORGEN.
The memo makes it clear that this responsibility started the moment civilians made their public service oath and is also required under the DND and CAF Code of Values and Ethics.
CAF organizations have been reminded to brief their team members on security of information requirements and the procedures for vetting and disclosing information properly.
In recent years the CAF has suffered from a series of leaks that have impacted the highest echelons of the organization, the most notorious of which was the criminal case against VAdm. Mark Norman.
“Improper safeguarding and unauthorized disclosure of information may contravene applicable laws. Non-compliance with these laws may compromise national security or impose liability on the Government of Canada and on Defence team members as individuals,” stated the CANFORGEN.
However, the CAF and DND have made it clear that reporting wrongdoing within the organization is not discouraged by the DAOD. It also does not limit the disclosure of information when reporting wrongdoing.
Public servants can report wrongdoing in accordance with the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act to their management. They can also reach out to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner if they believe wrongdoing has occurred.
CAF members reach out to Chain of Command.
Public servants are protected under section 19 of the Public Servant Disclosure Protection Act, and CAF is protected by Article 19.15 Prohibition of Reprisals of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces.
In recent years the CAF has suffered from a series of leaks that have impacted the highest echelons of the organization, the most notorious of which was the criminal case against VAdm. Mark Norman. Norman, once the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, was accused of leaking cabinet secrets to a Quebec shipyard executive.
In more recent years, misinformation about the crash of the Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece undercut statements made by then defence minister Harjit Sajjan and then chief of the defence staff Gen. (ret’d) Jonathan Vance.
Additionally, there was another leak about conditions within long-term care homes in Ontario.To learn more regarding the CANFORGEN visit here.