Letter to the Editor: Ottawa Citizen - December 21, 2010

Re: 'Taj Mahal' being built for DND spy agency, Dec. 18.
Ottawa Citizen December 21, 2010.

There is an undisputed requirement for a new Communications Security Establishment (CSE) facility: the organization doubled in size after 9-11. Its current facilities and severe lack of power are no longer adequate to fulfil our operational requirements and mandate of protecting the safety of Canadians. The basis of the technical requirements for a new facility is the protection of CSE's information and the safety and well-being of its employees. The new facility is required to house a staff complement of almost 2,000 employees, highly sophisticated equipment, and classified information in a secure facility.

Security is the core of CSE's business. I have mandated that the integrity of the Top Secret facility be maintained. As such, security levels will remain the same as CSE standards. Similarly the data centre, conference rooms, and library are essential requirements because CSE cannot rely on non-secure, outside services. Consistent with the government's sustainable approach, the facility encourages CSE employees to adopt other means of transportation. The sustainable approach also calls for less concrete and more green spaces.

The renderings that were provided to news outlets were only a conceptual proposal by Plenary Properties. None of these proposals have yet been agreed to. There will be no hobby garden or hockey rink at the new facility. There is also no plan to include special events as part of the contract. A bank and daycare are not inside the CSE secure perimeter. They are community facilities and will help CSE to reduce its costs.

What went unreported in the article was that the consortium, led by Plenary and PCL, will create 4,000 to 5,000 jobs in the Ottawa area and it is estimated that 99 per cent of the jobs created will be Canadian. I am committed to obtaining a facility to protect the safety of Canadians and ensuring the highest value for taxpayer dollars.

John Adams,
Orleans, Chief, CSE