Lt.-Gen. Alain Parent, who is deputy commander at the North American Aerospace Defence Command, testified before the Senate defence committee today, but was careful not to advocate for one position or another.
He was asked by senators what the practical effects would be if the Harper government reversed a nearly decade-old policy of not being involved in the program, which was a political lightning rod from 2003-2005.
Parent says he currently does not see the high-level intelligence on the potential threats from rogue states with missile capability, and that Canadian scientists are shut out of contributing ideas and solutions to the air defence network.
Both the Commons and Senate defence committees are studying whether it's time for Canada to join the program, which was ranked among the top priorities of the Bush administration.
Parent says if Canada chose to participate, the Harper government would have to negotiate access to various tiers of the program, which could range from intelligence and command and control all of the way up to stationing anti-missile batteries on Canadian soil.