For the past 70 years, Canada and the United States have worked closely together on defense matters. This collaboration began because both countries faced a common threat from communist nations, which led to strong military cooperation, including working together on defense-related industries.
From the Hyde Park Declaration (English only) to agreements like the Defence Development Sharing Agreement and Defence Production Sharing Agreement and the 1985 Quebec Summit Declaration, the two nations recognized the importance of planning their military efforts together, sharing resources, and integrating their defense and industrial bases into a unified North American system.
Since the 1940s, Canada and the United States have signed more than 2500 agreements covering various aspects of North American security, such as research, air defense, communication, logistics, maritime operations, and more. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) represents the highest level of operational cooperation between the two countries’ military forces.
Some crucial historical documents supporting this cooperation include:
Ogdensburg Declaration (August 18, 1940): This declaration formed the basis for defense cooperation between the United States and Canada. The Permanent Joint Board on Defense was founded to conduct studies relating to sea, land, and air problems, covering personnel and material, and to consider the defense of the northern half of the Western Hemisphere.
Hyde Park Declaration (April 20, 1941): A joint statement between the U.S. president and Canada’s prime minister agreeing that each country should provide the other with the defense articles it is best able to produce during war mobilization and that each country should coordinate its production programs.
U.S./Canada Joint Statement on Defense Cooperation (February 12, 1947): A joint statement by both countries’ leadership reiterating that the wartime cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries should continue to the extent authorized by law through the postwar period in the interest of efficiency and economy for joint security.
Exchange of Notes on the Joint Industrial Mobilization (April 12, 1949): The notes established the Joint Industrial Mobilization Committee to coordinate each country’s Industrial Mobilization Plans that would effectively use the production facilities of both countries.
Statement of Principles for Economic Cooperation (September 20, 1950): This statement outlined the coordination of economic efforts for common defense, including production and resources, technical knowledge exchange, and removing barriers to the flow of goods essential for defense.
Defence Production Sharing Agreement (October 1, 1956): The agreement was established to achieve greater integration of both countries’ military development and production capabilities while maintaining greater standardization of military equipment, wider dispersal of production facilities, and establishing a supply of supplemental sources. Also, this agreement established that U.S. purchases would be made through the Canadian Commercial Corporation and Canadian defense vendors would receive equal and immediate consideration on Department of Defense procurements, just like U.S. vendors, with certain exceptions.
North American Aerospace Defense Command Agreement (May 12, 1958): This agreement established an integrated command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that centralized operational control of shared air defenses, integrated operational exercises, and maintained individual and collective capacity to resist air attack.
Defence Development Sharing Agreement (September 14, 1960): The agreement complements the Defense Production Sharing Program and, among other things, allows Canadian firms to perform research and development work to meet requirements of the U.S. military services and permits the standardization and interchangeability of additional equipment needed for the defense of both countries.
MOU between the President of the Canadian Commercial Corporation and the Assistant Secretary of Defense I&L (October 21, 1970): This memorandum of understanding establishes Canadian government and industrial participation in the U.S. Industrial Mobilization Production Planning Program.
MOU on Coordination of Cooperative Research and Development (February 1, 1979): This memorandum of understanding identified the means and opportunities to use the scientific and technical resources to achieve common naval defense interests and made possible the standardization and interoperability of systems and equipment used for the naval defense of the two countries.
MOU between the Canadian Department of Supply and Services and the United States Defense Logistics Agency (July 1, 1981): This memorandum of understanding clarifies U.S. Government Property Management Functions and the role of the Canadian Commercial Corporation in respect to defence prime and sub-contracts placed with Canadian industry.
The Quebec Summit Declaration (March 18, 1985): A declaration between the prime minister of Canada and the president of the United States regarding international security. Both countries pledged to reduce barriers in defense trade and to establish a freer exchange of technical knowledge and skill in defense production. As a result of this agreement, the North American Defense Industrial Base Organization was created March 23, 1987.
National Technology and Industrial Base (1983) English only: Canada’s inclusion in the NTIB, as defined by the 1993 National Defense Authorization Act, provided certain advantages in defense trade.
Joint Certification Program (1985): This program ensures controlled military data and technology flow securely to certified Canadian and U.S. companies for business purposes.
North American Technology and Industrial Base Organization (1987): This organization focused on enhancing the capacity and capability of defense industries in both countries.
Canadian Exemption to the ITAR (Section 126.5): This exemption allowed certain U.S. defense articles to be exported to Canada without licenses, benefitting Controlled Goods Program registrants.
Industrial Security Agreement: This agreement enabled mutual recognition of security clearances and information exchange between the two countries.
In conclusion, the defense relationship between Canada and the United States has evolved over seven decades to create an effective and mutually beneficial partnership in defense industrial cooperation. This partnership emerged from shared security concerns and has helped integrate economic and defense interests between the two countries.