UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Canada Military Policy

The 2008 Canada First Defence Strategy provides a detailed road map for the modernization of the Canadian Forces, building on the Government's investments in the military since taking office in 2006. It will produce a first-class, modern military that is well trained, well equipped and ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century. This Strategy is based on the Government's vision for defence as well as an extensive and rigorous analysis of the risks and threats facing Canada and Canadians in the years to come. Starting from the Government's clearly defined roles and level of ambition for the Canadian Forces, the Strategy identifies the military capabilities required to meet these objectives, which in turn determine where investments are most needed. This Strategy also takes into account valuable lessons drawn from recent experience at home and around the globe.

Through stable and predictable defence funding, the Canada First Defence Strategy provides the planning certainty required to allow the Government to continue rebuilding the Canadian Forces into the state-of-the-art military that Canada needs and deserves. It also presents unprecedented opportunities for Canadian industry in its reach for global excellence.

The Government has established a level of ambition for the Canadian Forces that will enable them to meet the country's defence needs, enhance the safety and security of Canadians and support the Government's foreign policy and national security objectives. To fulfill these commitments, the Canadian Forces must be able to deliver excellence at home, be a strong and reliable partner in the defence of North America, and project leadership abroad by making meaningful contributions to international security.

The Canada First Defence Strategy, announced in May 2008, articulated the Harper Government’s defence policy and direction to the Canadian Armed Forces. It provides a detailed road map for the creation of a first-class, modern military that is well trained, well equipped and ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century. The Strategy also outlines the roles and missions that the Canadian military must fulfil in order to respond effectively to Canada’s current and future security challenges. The Strategy therefore represents the policy foundation for the roles and missions expected of a replacement fighter fleet.

The Canadian Armed Forces had three primary roles in dealing with security challenges:

  1. Defending Canada: According to the Canada First Defence Strategy, ensuring the security of Canadians and helping to exercise Canadian sovereignty are the primary tasks of the Canadian Armed Forces. The document points out that the Canadian Armed Forces must be able to help Canadians in times of domestic crises. They must also monitor the country’s territory and its air and maritime approaches, including the Arctic. They must be able to address quickly and effectively any identified threats. The military must also assist other government departments in dealing with such security concerns as overfishing, organized crime, the smuggling of drugs and people, and environmental degradation;
  2. Defending North America: The Strategy describes defence of Canada as integral to the effective defence of North America, alongside the United States. In this sense, the Strategy affirms a close defence partnership with the United States as a key element of Canada’s own strategic interest. This partnership is exercised mainly through the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). In addition, Canada’s Joint Operations Command shares objectives and works closely with the United States Northern Command. Joint training and personnel exchange, as well as ensuring compatibility in equipment and doctrine, are among the measures through which the forces of the two countries remain interoperable (i.e. able to work together coherently, effectively and efficiently in pursuit of shared objectives); and
  3. Contributing to international peace and security: As a member of the international community, and especially as a trading nation in a highly globalized world, Canada is affected by instability abroad. Among other things, the Strategy calls for these threats to be addressed at their source to prevent them from reaching Canadian shores. The Canada First Defence Strategy emphasizes that, in the pursuit of international peace and security, Canada cannot lead by words alone. Canada must be prepared to deploy military assets in support of national interests and international objectives.

The military will deliver on this level of ambition by maintaining its ability to conduct six core missions within Canada, in North America and globally, at times simultaneously. Specifically, the Forces will have the capacity to:

  • Conduct daily domestic and continental operations, including in the Arctic and through NORAD;
  • Support a major international event in Canada, such as the 2010 Olympics;
  • Respond to a major terrorist attack;
  • Support civilian authorities during a crisis in Canada such as a natural disaster;
  • Lead and/or conduct a major international operation for an extended period; and
  • Deploy forces in response to crises elsewhere in the world for shorter periods.

To carry out these missions, the Canadian Forces will need to be a fully integrated, flexible, multi-role and combat-capable military, working in partnership with the knowledgeable and responsive civilian personnel of the Department of National Defence. This integrated Defence team will constitute a core element of a whole-of-government approach to meeting security requirements, both domestically and internationally.

The Canada First Defence Strategy is supported by a strategic investment plan based on a commitment to provide predictable funding increases over a 20-year period. Building on Budget 2006, which increased defence baseline funding by $5.3 billion over 5 years, the Government has committed through Budget 2008 to raise the annual increase in defence funding to 2 percent from the current 1.5 percent starting in fiscal year 2011-12. Over the next 20 years, these increases will expand National Defence's annual budget from approximately $18 billion in 2008-09, to over $30 billion in 2027-28. In total, the Government plans to invest close to $490 billion in defence over this period. Most importantly, the infusion of reliable funding will provide the certainty required to conduct longterm planning and meet future requirements.

Significant progress towards these objectives has been achieved through a number of key initiatives, including funded increases in the Regular Forces and the procurement of urgently needed equipment. In addition to the acquisition of four C-17 Globemaster strategic lift aircraft already in service, the Government is procuring 17 new C-130J Hercules tactical lift aircraft and has announced plans to acquire 16 CH-47F Chinook helicopters, three replenishment ships, 2,300 trucks, up to 100 Leopard 2 tanks and 6-8 Arctic/offshore patrol ships.

The Government will continue to enhance the capacity of the Forces through balanced investments across the four pillars that form the foundation of military capabilities - personnel, equipment, readiness and infrastructure. Specifically, National Defence will:

  • Increase the number of military personnel to 70,000 Regular Forces and 30,000 Reserve Forces;
  • Replace the Forces' core equipment fleets, including:
  • 15 ships to replace existing destroyers and frigates;
  • 10 to 12 maritime patrol aircraft;
  • 17 fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft;
  • 65 next-generation fighter aircraft; and
  • a fleet of land combat vehicles and systems.
  • Strengthen the overall state of the Forces' readiness to deploy, and their ability to sustain operations once deployed; and
  • Improve and modernize defence infrastructure.

The Canada First Defence Strategy will also have significant benefits for Canadian industry. The infusion of long-term stable funding it provides will enable industry to reach for global excellence and to be better positioned to compete for defence contracts at home and abroad, thus enabling a pro-active investment in research and development and opportunities for domestic and international spin-offs as well as potential commercial applications.

With 40% of Canada's landmass in the territories, 162,000 kilometres of Arctic coastline and 25% of the global Arctic - Canada is undeniably an Arctic nation. The Government is firmly exercising our sovereignty over Canada's Arctic lands and waters - sovereignty that is long-standing, well-established and based on historic title, international law and the presence of Inuit and other Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years.

At the same time, international interest in the Arctic region is growing, in part as a result of possibilities for resource development, climate change and new or longer access to transportation routes. Canada is demonstrating effective stewardship and leadership internationally, to promote a stable, rules-based Arctic region where the rights of sovereign states are respected in accordance with international law and diplomacy.

Canada has long been working with its international Arctic neighbours in areas such as search and rescue, icebreaker operations, fish and wildlife conservation, transportation, research, energy and environment. The Government will continue to strengthen this cooperation, while advancing Canada's priorities for the Arctic region.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 29-02-2016 18:19:37 ZULU