Strong, Secure, Engaged

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Canada’s new Defence Policy – released on June 7 – is built on the vision of a Canada that is Strong at home, Secure in North America and Engaged in the world. While the policy provides for key investments in equipment, infrastructure, space, and cyber, it focuses on the most important capability of the Defence Team – its people.

“The new policy is also driven by a focus on you – it recognizes that you and your families are at the very heart of our operational success. Because you have chosen to proudly wear the uniform and serve our country, you and your family deserve the best care throughout your career and beyond,” said General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff. “A team is only as strong as the people within it. Personalizing our approach to how we care for and value you and your families will make the Canadian Armed Forces a more effective force; more flexible, more combat-ready, and able to respond quickly and decisively to any threat or situation, anywhere and at any time. This is the Canadian Armed Forces of the future.”

Strong, Secure, Engaged, which will see annual defence spending increase from $18.9 billion in 2016/2017 to $32.7 billion in 2026/2027, outlines significant commitments to deliver support to CAF members and their families. These commitments include the implementation of a comprehensive Diversity Strategy and Action Plan, the implementation of the Total Health and Wellness Strategy; and the development of a Comprehensive Military Family Plan to help stabilize family life for CAF members and their families who have to frequently relocate. It also introduces a plan to launch a joint Suicide Prevention Strategy with Veterans Affairs.

To modernize the recruitment, retention, and training of personnel, the policy will reinvent the process of transition for members to better support them and their families and ensure they are taken care of from the moment they join the military, throughout their careers, and as they transition out of the CAF.

Recognizing personnel are critical to the success of operations, there is also a commitment to grow the Defence Team. The CAF will increase its force by 5,000 members – 3,500 Regular Force members, and 1,500 Reserve Force members. In addition, DND will also hire 1,150 civilian employees to support the CAF in the areas of intelligence, procurement and maintenance, policy, legal, finance, and science.

There are also major investments in equipment. This includes the full complement of 15 Canadian Surface Combatants; 88 advanced fighter jets; land capabilities including ground based air defence, combat support vehicles, and training simulators; and airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms. It also commits to investing in Special Operations Forces and joint capabilities to ensure their long-term effectiveness.

Strong, Secure, Engaged will mark progress toward streamlining defence procurement, improving the timeliness of acquiring much needed military capabilities. It will also provide Defence Team professionals with the knowledge, tools and authority to drive low complexity projects that will accelerate approvals and delivery.

“The policy represents a remarkable achievement, culminating a year of analysis, hard work, and the most extensive 
consultation ever undertaken by Defence. It is a policy that will provide members of the Defence Team with the funding, support and tools we need to protect Canada and promote Canadian values in the world,” said Deputy Minister John Forster. “It has been no small feat to get where we are today. This announcement represents a major milestone for Defence and is the result of the impressive contributions and high-quality work of our Defence Team.”

To learn more about Strong. Secure. Engaged., visit forces.gc.ca.

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