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Using science to protect the nation

Major Melissa Reyes of the Ottawa Research Centre of Defence Research and Development talks to River Hebert District School teachers Amy Lynch (left) and Laura Daborn following her presentation at the Joggins Fossil Institute on Thursday.
Major Melissa Reyes of the Ottawa Research Centre of Defence Research and Development talks to River Hebert District School teachers Amy Lynch (left) and Laura Daborn following her presentation at the Joggins Fossil Institute on Thursday.

AMHERST – Science has changed how we go to war and how we prevent it.

Speaking at the Joggins Fossil Institute during Science Literacy Week, Major Melissa Reyes of the Ottawa Research Centre of Defence Research and Development said much has changed since the Canadian army was first created a little over a century ago.
“The Canadian Forces have changed from then and we’ve done it through science,” Reyes said following her presentation. “We’ve been able adapt how we do operations through what’s being done by our scientists now.”
Besides the application of science, she said, the military has also changed in how it better reflects today’s Canadian society with more women than ever before and more visible minorities and members of different cultures.
Reyes said that just as the geology of Joggins is evidence of evolution and change, Canada’s military has had to change as well from the days of trench warfare during the First World War to advanced technologies of Second World War and the Cold War to today’s defence against cyberterrorism and other threats.
Speaking to high school science students from River Hebert District school and others, Reyes said scientists working within the Canadian Armed Forces are working for new ways to protect its soldiers on the battlefield – whether at war or protecting the peace – as well as preventing rogue nations and others from using computers to steal data or interrupt communications or other systems here.
“When the Canadian military was formed it was a much different world than today. Back then, if you saw the guy you shot at him. Today it’s much different and we have to change with how the world is changing,” she said.
Reyes, who has 28 years experience as a military officer, said the centre she works at specializes in radar, electronic warfare, cyber operations and space operations. She has worked on space-related systems through the Canadian Space Agency as well as with NORAD. She was also the deputy chief of communications operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
River Hebert’s Pam Harrison said she has always been fascinated with space and was interested to hear what Canada has done there.
“When you bring people together and stretch their knowledge and imagination it’s amazing what can happen. It’s something the students here today should think about. It would be wonderful them to take advantage of some of the opportunities that are out there today,” Harrison said.
darrell.cole@amherstnews.ca
Twitter: @ADNdarrell
 

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