Strong at home, Secure in North America, Engaged in the world

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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 the Defence Team intranet at

People are at the core  of the new policy: The Canadian Armed Forces will increase by 3,500 Regular Force members, and 1,500 Reserve Force members.

The success of Canada’s Defence Policy depends on our people:

  • Recruit, train and retain.
  • Reflect diversity, respect, and inclusion.
  • Ensure members and their families have the care and support they need.
  • Improve support services for ill and injured members.
  • Help members transition to post-military life.

The Reserve Force in the CAF

  • Increase the size to 30,000 (an increase of 1,500)
  • Reduce the initial recruitment process to a matter of weeks
  • Enhance existing and assign new roles to units and formations to provide full-time capabilities.
  • Employ Reservists on select deployed missions in a primary role.
  • Create an agile service model that supports the transition between full and part-time service.
  • Align Primary Reserve Force remuneration and benefits with the Regular Force.
  • Revise annuitant employment regulations to make it easier to transfer between the Regular and Reserve Force.
  • Offer full-time summer employment to Reservists in their first four years with the Reserves commencing in 2018.
  • Work with provinces and territories to harmonize job protection for Reservists at the federal level.

Improve Defence Procurement

  • Engage with Canadian defence industry to improve understanding of future requirements.
  • Publish the next Defence Investment Plan in 2018 and refresh it every 3 years.
  • Reduce approval time within Defence by at least 50% for low-risk and low-complexity projects.
  • Work with partners to increase DND’s contracting authorities and expedite contracts for goods up to $5 million by 2018.
  • Use procurement to support Canadian R&D in important and emerging technological areas.
  • Grow and professionalize the procurement workforce.
  • Improve accountability by providing regular updates on major projects.

Investments in the Royal  Canadian Navy

  • Replace the existing surface fleet with:
    • 15 Canadian Surface Combatants
    • 2 Joint Support Ship
    • 5-6 Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels
  • Modernize Victoria-class submarines
  • Acquire new or enhanced naval intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.
  • Acquire upgraded armaments.
  • Upgrade light torpedoes carried by surface ships, maritime helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft.

Investments in the Canadian Army

  • Acquire ground-based air defence systems.
  • Modernize weapons effects simulation.
  • Replace armoured combat support vehicles.
  • Modernize improvised explosive device capabilities.
  • Acquire communications, sustainment, and survivability equipment for soldiers.
  • Upgrade light armoured vehicles.
  • Modernize logistic vehicles, heavy engineer equipment and light utility vehicles.
  • Invest in equipment and systems for operations in remote regions.
  • Modernize command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.
  • Acquire all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and larger tracked semi-amphibious vehicles for use in the Arctic environment.

Investments in the Royal Canadian Air Force

  • Replace the CF-18 fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft.
  • Acquire space capabilities to improve situational awareness and targeting.
  • Acquire new command and control and communications systems.
  • Replace the CC-150 Polaris with next generation strategic air-to-air tanker transport.
  • Replace the CC-138 Twin Otter with utility transport aircraft.
  • Replace the CP-140 Aurora with next generation multi-mission aircraft.
  • Invest in medium altitude remotely piloted systems.
  • Modernize fighter aircraft air-to-air missiles.
  • Upgrade air navigation, management, and control systems.
  • Acquire new aircrew training systems.
  • Recapitalize existing capabilities until the arrival of next generation platforms.
  • Sustain domestic search and rescue capability.
  • Operationalize the new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft fleet.

Investments in Special Operations Forces and Joint Capabilities

  • Add 605 special operations forces members.
  • Acquire airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms.
  • Recapitalize existing SUV-type armoured vehicles.
  • Modernize command and control and communications systems and computer defence networks.
  • Enhance integrated soldier system equipment.
  • Invest in joint command and control systems and equipment.
  • Enhance maritime and land mobility platforms.
  • Improve capabilities of the joint deployable headquarters and Signals Regiment.
  • Enhance fighting vehicle platforms.
  • Improve chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive detection and response capabilities.
  • Acquire joint signals intelligence capabilities.
  • Improve cryptographic, information operations, and cyber capabilities.

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