Canada’s CSEC SIGINT Agency Building New Facilities
The Canadian Communication Security Establishment (CSEC) plays the same role in Canada that the ultra-secretive NSA (National Security Agency) does in the USA, and cooperates closely with its American counterpart. Unlike counterparts like the Canadian CSIS, or American CIA, both agencies stay firmly out of the public spotlight. They specialize in the tripartite domains of electronic eavesdropping, robust encoding, and cyber-security. The ECHELON interception system, which also features cooperation from the UK and Australia, is the allied agencies’ best-known cooperative venture.
The problem is that the agency’s activities are growing, and its buildings can’t hold them all. Since one can’t just rent random office space for an agency of this type, that means new buildings. One emergency contract is already underway. A second, much larger contract, is readying itself for a public-private partnership deal as the government seeks interested firms.
May 20/09: Defence Construction Canada (DCC) announces an upcoming Request for Qualifications (RFQ) solicitation regarding the CSEC Phase 2 construction partnership. Development teams who pass this qualifications process may then be asked to respond to a detailed Request for Proposals (RFP) in fall 2009. The document includes contact information, and as one might imagine, there are also security requirements:
“In order to obtain documents to the RFQ, Proponents, or at least one member of the development team will be required to hold valid Facility Security Clearances (FSC) at the level of SECRET with approved Document Safeguarding Capability (DSC) at the level of SECRET, both issued by the Canadian Industrial Security Directorate (CISD), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), at the time of the RFQ. Personnel requiring access to CLASSIFIED information, assets or sensitive work site(s) to respond to the RFQ will be required to EACH hold a valid personnel security screening at the level of SECRET, granted or approved by CISD/PWGSC, or another approved organization. All firms interested in this opportunity are encouraged to obtain security clearances in advance of the RFQ and subsequent RFP.”
The winning team will design, build, finance, and maintain/ manage 72,000 rm2 of office, support and special purpose space, together with associated site development and infrastructure requirements. The latter will include physical security and IM/IT infrastructure services. Special purpose space will include a data centre, electronic labs, computer rooms, fabrication shops, and secure areas in the full meaning of that term. Building entries and security, a cafeteria, and other typical non-office feature of large buildings are also included in this category. The building will be built to the LEED Gold certification, an extremely high standard for environmentally friendly buildings.
Upon approval following the RFP and evaluation, the winner will enter into a project agreement to design, build, finance and maintain the building for a management term of 30 years, beginning in 2015. MERX document.
May 14/09: Minister of National Defence Peter Mackay announces a plan to implement the CSEC Phase 2 project through a public-private partnership (PPP), with an open and competitive bidding process scheduled for later in 2009.
This project will build a 72,000 “rentable metre squared (rm2)” building to become the new CSE HQ, and is estimated to represent a C$ 880 million ($757 million equivalent) investment over the 30-year span of the proposed public-private partnership. Construction is planned to begin in early 2011.
The RFP is still under development, which means the exact PPP structure remains rather hazy.
August 2008: EllisDon of Ottawa wins the Phase 1 contract, and will build a 6,000 “rentable metres squared (rm2)” building to be completed by 2011. Source.
May 22/08: Minister of National Defence Peter Mackay announces the planned construction of a new facility for the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC). CSEC, together with Defence Construction Canada (DCC), is planning the construction of a 4-storey, 6000 square meter building that can hold up to 250 people. The Phase 1 building will be located on 36 hectares / 89 acres of land acquired from the National Research Council, on Ogilvie Road in the nation’s capital of Ottawa, Ontario.
The estimated building costs are C$ 62 million ($62.7 million equivalent). A design and build RFP will be tendered late in spring 2008, with an anticipated contract to be awarded in early summer 2008. CSEC plans to occupy the building in the summer of 2011. The release adds that:
“Since the events of September 11, 2001, CSEC has hired hundreds of new employees and utility demands have significantly increased over the past few years. As a result, CSEC’s current campus, located in Ottawa’s Confederation Heights region – is no longer able to support the agency’s day-to-day operations.”
- CSE Canada – Official site
- Granite Island Solution Group – The Communications Security Establishment: Canada’s Signals Intelligence Agency”
- Wikipedia – ECHELON (signals intelligence)
- European Parliament: Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System (July 11/01) – On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system), (2001/2098(INI)) [PDF]. The EU server’s document worked when given a .pdf extension, but we’ve added a simpler, properly named copy to our own servers.