DND/CAF has entered a new era of effective and efficient information technology (IT) and communications and information systems (CIS) service management following a recent organizational change within the IM Group.
As approved on 11 April 2016 by the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, the Canadian Forces Shared Services Group (CFSSG) and 76 Communication Group (76 Comm Gp) have been officially amalgamated to create a new formation called 7 Communication Group (7 Comm Gp) with a transformed unit called 76 Communication Regiment (76 Comm Regt) under its command.
The new 7 Comm Gp replaces CFSSG, which along with its four subordinate shared services units, were created in June 2012 in response to the creation of Shared Services Canada (SSC) as the Government of Canada’s central provider of IT services. With a small presence on all bases and wings, CFSSG had the mandate to preserve military force generation capabilities and to support SSC in sustaining IT services for DND until the longer term implications of SSC could be assessed.
With this transformation, IT/CIS service operations will be centrally managed at the strategic and enterprise levels through common processes and coordination mechanisms with service providers and service management centres.
To officially mark this transformation, a formal inauguration ceremony was held on 19 May at Cartier Square Drill Hall, in Ottawa, attended by members of the military Communications and Electronics community. In his opening remarks at the ceremony, Colonel Walter Wood, the former Commander of CFSSG and first Commander of 7 Comm Gp, briefly touched on the histories of the two parent formations.
Colonel Wood revealed that the much-renowned 76 Comm Gp was formed in Ottawa in the 1970s as one of six ‘70-series’ regional formations under the Canadian Forces Communication Command. While its mission and structure evolved over the years, 76 Comm Gp remained intimately engaged in providing critical CIS capabilities for DND and CAF elements, mainly in the National Capital Region, but extended throughout North America and overseas. Colonel Wood added that:
“the 76 Comm Gp legacy will live on as 76 Comm Regt increasingly takes on a broader mandate as a full-spectrum provider of strategic and enterprise services in accordance with the Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) Defence Renewal initiative.”. On the establishment of 7 Comm Gp, Colonel Wood said that this recent formation transformation “will streamline IT and CIS service operations within the IM Group, and will provide the stable, flexible, and operations-focused organizational platform to meet future needs.”
Subsequently, Lieutenant-Colonel Chris McGuffin, the former Commander of 76 Comm Gp and now Commanding Officer of 76 Comm Regt, reinforced that this was a significant change for his proud organization. Nevertheless, he offered that:
“Our Branch heritage is shaped by the technology that enhances decision-making, passage of orders and the safeguarding of our nation’s secrets. The character and talent of the men and women in 76 Comm Regt and the value of the services they deliver remain soundly intact. We can all be proud of our contributions to this new segment in our Branch history. Our adaptability, skills and professionalism assure our strategic relevance and operational necessity to the success of the Canadian Armed Forces.”
As the presiding officer of the ceremony and keynote speaker, Major-General Greg Loos, Chief of Staff (IM) and the CAF J6, reflected on the desired evolution of IT/CIS service provision within DND/CAF with structures that better align with strategic Defence objectives.
“There are many people in DND and the CAF who are enabled, who are made successful, who are made more efficient or effective or both, by way of the services, capabilities, and effects that you bring to the table”, Major-General Loos added. “From incident and problem management, to building situation awareness of our network space, to wiring bases, wings, stations, garrisons, and new infrastructure from coast to coast to coast, to ensuring that mission critical networks – and our C2 (command and control) weapons systems – are planned, built, sustained, assured, protected, and extended to deployed forces, what you do is important to both the business of Defence and to mission success in CAF operations. Let me simply say, thank you.”
Subsequent to the ceremony, Ministerial Organizational Orders were approved on 31 May to officially create a new unit called 77 Line Regiment (Regt), also assigned under command of 7 Comm Gp. 77 Line Regt will amalgamate CAF infrastructure line capabilities across the country, incorporating base line detachments under regional line squadrons which derive from the legacy shared services units. A formal inauguration ceremony for 77 Line Regt will be held in conjunction with the upcoming 7 Comm Gp Change of Command Ceremony on 20 July at Cartier Square Drill Hall, in Ottawa.