Advancing with Purpose: The Canadian Army Modernization Strategy

Effective armies are dynamic in nature, constantly evolving and adapting to meet the demands posed by their adversaries and their operating context. History is replete with myriad examples of both successes and failures in this regard. We ignore the need to modernize at our peril.

The purpose of The Canadian Army Modernization Strategy is to ensure the Army is positioned to address the numerous challenges in our turbulent security environment. It builds on the strategic guidance provided in Advancing with Purpose:

The Army Strategy 3rd Edition, placing a pronounced emphasis on the multi-horizon modernization effort that we must undertake.1 Moreover, it is fully nested under our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE). Fundamentally, this strategy serves as a critical statement of philosophy and principle, serving to achieve alignment across all elements of the Canadian Army by defining a common vision and end-state, and in so doing it better enables the Canadian Army to fulfill its role as a central component of our joint force. Concurrently, it will help achieve similar alignment with our allies.

The contents comprise four distinct elements:

Orientation - a clear articulation of the future operating environment with its strategic context to justify the imperative to modernize

Affirmation - who the Canadian Army is and how it contributes

Confirmation - of design principles, priorities and the operating framework to affect change

Implementation - a coherent set of actionable efforts with which to position the Army for the future

Modernizing the Army will not be simple and will require much thought and analysis based on threats, the character of future conflict and operations, and an unwavering dedication to ensuring our soldiers are trained and equipped to meet the challenges ahead.

This modernization strategy is an important first step towards the Canadian Army we need for the future.

General Jonathan Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff

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The world is facing significant change, with far-reaching and cascading implications for Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Canadian Army. Drivers of this change are a confluence of stressors, many made acutely clear during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and include: global power re-ordering where national goals are achieved through conflict below the threshold of mass violence; the continued rise of extremism in novel and unpredictable ways; accelerating technological change, especially in the space and cyber domains; a rapidly changing global climate; evolving societal demographics, norms, and expectations; and the clear centrality of the information environment in all endeavours.

With this change, the nature of war endures. It is still very much a human endeavour. The security environment continues to be fraught with unpredictability, fog, friction, chance, irrationality, fear, and bloodshed. Despite technological marvels, it remains a contest of human will.

In the face of this change and continuity, land power retains its relevance and criticality to achieve decisive outcomes, whether at home or abroad. That said, the manner in which it is employed is advancing and its integration with, and indeed subordination to, the larger joint, pan-domain effort is more important than ever. To succeed in this milieu, the Army we have is not the Army we need.

Advancing with Purpose: The Canadian Army Modernization Strategy is our change agenda for the next half decade. Although titled a strategy, it encompasses elements of an action plan as well, directing tangible initiatives to evolve force structure, readiness, sustainment, training, and personnel. It is informed by and fully aligned with extant and emerging policy and strategic direction.

In it, we stress the importance of One Army, with Regular, Reserve, Ranger, and civilian components operating as part of an integrated whole. We reaffirm that for the Canadian Army, proficiency at brigade level is essential for the conduct of combat operations, our most dangerous employment, and recognize its central force generation role in tailoring and scaling subordinate capabilities for the wide range of other land operations, our most likely employment. In all operations, expertise at integrating various capabilities in a dynamic system of systems approach at all levels (also known as combined arms) underpins success. This in turn is predicated on the Army’s source of strength – our mid-level leaders.

Our future operating concept, Close Engagement: Land Power in an Age of Uncertainty, published in 2019, remains our long-term aiming point. However there is a symbiotic relationship with these two documents. This strategy will be a waypoint on the path to our future operating concept, while it simultaneously informs future iterations of this long-term vision.

Two central initiatives in this document will improve the way we build and consume readiness (Managed Readiness Plan) and alter our force structure (Force 2025) which will have far-reaching impacts on our Army. Hard decisions will be made. What we have held as immutable for decades may have to change as we take an honest look at what the future needs. It will set us on a path that postures us for continual change and emerging threats. It is scalable, to a degree, and significant changes in resource allocations, government policy, or the capabilities and actions of pacing threats will demand a refresh. We will remain proud of our history and be mindful of its hard lessons earned in blood, but wisely balance these with the very real imperative to adapt.

No strategy is perfect, and neither is this one, but it is “right enough” to give us the vision, guidance, and focus we need for the uncertainty of the future and to get on with the business of preparing our Army for what lays ahead. We must be ready. Our country and our soldiers deserve nothing less.

Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre
Commander, Canadian Army

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“Therefore I say: ‘Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.’”

- Sun Tzu, The Art of War2

The strategic environment is increasingly complex, dynamic, volatile, highly uncertain, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The Canadian Army will continue to face challenges at home and abroad as it balances generating readiness and conducting operations across an increasingly broad spectrum of operations. Trends indicate that some known security factors will endure while developing threats will become more pronounced. New threats will also arise. Interstate competition, hybrid or pan-domain operations, violent extremism, resource scarcity, migration, inequalities, changing demographics, climate change, and pandemics all present operational problem sets to which the Canadian Army must continually adapt.

While the fundamental nature of war remains constant, greater uncertainty arises regarding its precise character and how warfare will evolve and be conducted. An additional layer of ambiguity surrounds the use of militaries in ways that were once considered non-traditional. Exercising an inherent versatility of employment is now common, standard practice and indeed expected. As the Canadian Army evolves and prepares the future force, it must continually assess the security environment to ensure that it has the right capabilities, structures, processes, and readiness to operate effectively in any scenario. The multitude of threats faced by Canada, the Department of National Defence (DND), the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and the Canadian Army will require agile responses coordinated with domestic and international partners.

Although recent decades have been unipolar in terms of global balance of power, multi-polarity is the norm. Accordingly, great power competition has returned as a prevalent factor of the international environment and balances of power are shifting. China is more capable and willing than ever to project influence and power beyond its borders, and broader regional tensions in Asia are concerning. Russia has previously invaded Georgia and annexed Crimea in Ukraine. The conflict in Eastern Ukraine is disrupting a partner that is important to the promotion of democracy and stability, and the ongoing belligerence threatens North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners. The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea and Iran continue to pose regional and global challenges. Instability in the Middle East remains constant and is fueling current and potential flashpoints. The European Union is at an important inflection point regarding its unity. In Latin America, a number of significant regional actors are affected by weak governance and insecurity. Fragile institutions render the African continent vulnerable to external influence and internal violence. Democracies around the world are threatened by illiberal populist and nationalist regimes.

Technological developments are occurring at a higher rate than ever before. This phenomenon makes technological anticipation and integration more difficult. Historically, Western militaries have relied on technological superiority to maintain military overmatch but the rapid development and replication of readily-accessible technologies narrows that advantage.3 Moreover, the advent of capabilities in space, cyberspace, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and others is changing militaries and their conduct of warfare. These capabilities also give adversaries, including less conventionally strong or advanced ones, further means to produce disruptive effects across great distances. The Canadian Army must consider how to use these same technologies to best adapt and optimize concepts, operational efficiency, and organizational digitalization.

The future operating environment will be characterized by intense competition that will occur on the cognitive, moral, and physical planes, which may be prosecuted in ways that are both direct and indirect.4 Canada’s competitors seek to reshape regional and international institutions and dynamics to realize their national interests in ways that defy Western interests, traditional values, and strengths. Cyberspace, space, and the information environment are increasingly critical operational domains, and adversaries are conducting activities within them in asymmetrical and non-kinetic ways that do not reach the threshold of violent conflict. These opponents do this deliberately to obscure attribution, compensate for conventional disadvantages or offset technological advantages, or to undermine friendly public support. This phenomenon is coupled with an increase in the speed, range, and lethality of peer adversary capabilities that can be cued through pervasive observation across all domains. The Canadian Army must learn to mitigate these threats in a systematic and deliberate way. For instance, Operation REASSURANCE5 presents a laboratory for multinational interoperability at increasingly lower levels and, along with Operation UNIFIER,6 a training ground for countering disinformation and hybrid activities.

Interstate competition and sub-threshold activities complicate decision-making and responses, bring deterrence back to the forefront, and augment the risk of miscalculation and escalation between rivals. The operational level of war is becoming increasingly compressed by the strategic and tactical levels, meaning that tactical decisions and actions have a quicker and greater strategic impact. Moreover, the COVID-19 virus has exacerbated these phenomena by emboldening aggressive nations and creating space for subversive activity. The US-China rivalry is an example: the pandemic amplified antagonisms and accelerated an ongoing shift in the international balance of power. The world is increasingly multipolar with a higher number of actors able to exert regional and international influence.

While trends demonstrate a shift towards increased interstate competition, non-state actors will continue to play an important role in current and future conflicts. Violent extremism and international crime will continue to threaten populations and erode stability.7 State and non-state actors can also work in unison to gain plausible deniability, augment or diversify power projection, or garner greater resources.8

The probability of conflict is enlarged by increasingly adverse national conditions.

Climate change remains a pervasive threat, one that modifies the operational environment for the Canadian Army. Internationally, it moves and intensifies the factors noted earlier, affecting existing flashpoints or creating new ones. It also generates demand for humanitarian and disaster relief interventions abroad. Domestically, the frequency of Operation LENTUS deployments to assist civilian authorities has significantly risen in past years, putting pressure on the Canadian Army’s readiness and resources. Climate change is directly affecting how the Canadian Army trains for and executes its missions. It can expect continued impacts on readiness, sustainment, and force employment activities.

The effects of climate change are perhaps most pronounced in the Arctic. Rising activity levels in Canada’s Arctic by state and commercial actors raise the potential for safety and security-related challenges. These include search and rescue operations, response to natural or man-made disasters, and response to actions by states with interests in the Arctic. The Canadian Army must be ready to assist in addressing those challenges through exercises, cooperation with domestic partners, and by providing a physical presence when needed. The Canadian Arctic is an unforgiving environment, and deploying and sustaining troops there may require adjustments in the Canadian Army’s structure.9

Other challenges and threats to national and continental defence are surfacing. New missile and long-range capabilities—to include cyber—imply that Canada can no longer assume geographically-assured safety. The current defence policy, SSE, makes the defence of Canada and North America a core mission for the CAF but leaves considerable policy development space to adapt to the changing context. The Canadian Army will look to play a primary role in any continental defence approach that the Government of Canada (GC) might adopt in the future.

While other domains of warfare provide advantages, land power remains the most decisive component in winning conflicts in the land domain. Populations reside in the land domain, and thus land forces are key to engaging with and protecting them through physical presence. Moreover, the employment of land forces is a tangible expression of national commitment for international partners—it indicates that a country has “skin in the game.” In all deployments, our land forces, through physical presence, contribute significantly to the grass roots perception of our nation around the world, adding to its ‘soft power.’ The perception of our professionalism, proficiency, and adherence to values is one of the nation’s strongest ambassadors.

The information domain is now central to modern conflict, and land forces can increasingly expect to be called upon to create an effect in it. Operation REASSURANCE, for example, is in part an information operation executed in the land domain through its creation of deterrence and reassurance effects. Indeed, while a persistent physical presence is arguably the most effective deterrent against predatory adversaries, even the demonstration of expeditionary warfighting capabilities achieves a deterrent effect causing potential adversaries to change their decision calculus.

The Canadian Army will increasingly operate across a variety of mission sets, once considered non-traditional, to achieve GC objectives. Security force capacity building in Operations UNIFIER, IMPACT,10 NABERIUS11 and others is increasingly common and underpinned by Canadian Army soldiers’ proficiency and reputation. The Canadian Army also supports GC objectives through army-to-army relationships that produce operational and tactical benefits and support strategic priorities. States that fail to adapt their use of land forces to the contemporary operating environment will come second place to more innovative and creative competitors.12

Domestically, positive social changes on numerous fronts are driving the CAF to reflect deeply, and to embrace and promote diversity within its ranks. The importance of adopting appropriate recruitment, retention, integration, inclusion, personnel management, and welfare policies is vital to the Canadian Army. It will continue to contribute to CAF diversity targets and eliminate unacceptable behaviours related to harassment or hateful conduct. The expectations of Canadians for members in uniform have always been higher than for most, if not all, other Canadian institutions. This is necessary as the CAF is the only one that legally applies disciplined violence on behalf of the state. While the Canadian Army will continue to promote diversity for moral and ethical reasons, it recognizes that diversity is also a force multiplier for organizations as it varies patterns of thinking and creates operational opportunities in theatres of various demographic profiles.

In addition to societal expectations related to social priorities, there is an ever-greater requirement and appreciation for CAF and Canadian Army assistance during domestic crises. The rising frequency of Operation LENTUS deployments has already been noted above.

The Canadian Army’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of Operation LASER,13 is a reminder that armies have to be ready to provide expertise not only to address pandemics—which are likely to remain an extant challenge—but also other crises.

Other GC priorities will continue to involve the Canadian Army, and therefore should factor into its activities and planning. These include the integration and operationalization of the Army Reserve (ARes) and engagement with Indigenous peoples of Canada. Moreover, a central aspect of Canada’s defence policy is the requirement for concurrent operations around the world, each of a different nature and scale. The Canadian Army must work to force generate and operate effectively in support of this requirement.

Lastly, the Canadian Army, alongside other DND and CAF partners, must clearly articulate and demonstrate its value, relevance, and results to decision-makers and to the Canadian public.

The Canadian Army has a responsibility to provide a wide range of credible land power options to best enable policy formulation and execution.

In the context of authoritarian states who disregard the rules-based international order, Canada has an advantage of its own: as a middle-power, it is part of a network of like-minded allies and partners. Most adversaries covet these types of relationships and will seek to drive wedges between allies. The Canadian Army must be ever-vigilant to reinforce its key relationships.

The US will remain Canada’s closest ally. The two countries are inextricably linked through geography, history, economy, and culture. That said, the Canadian Army must be prepared for American policies that focus more centrally on their own national interests and a more selective approach to the use of the US military. The Canadian Army, as part of a larger CAF effort, must therefore be ready to exert greater effort in continental defence and its contribution to international security. The Canadian Army will continue to partner with the US on training exercises and exchanges as these opportunities provide its leaders experience that would be otherwise unavailable. These opportunities also make Canada more interoperable with its allies, thus better enabling it to fight and win.

Building on shared values and a long history of operational cooperation, the Australia, Britain, Canada, America, and New Zealand (ABCANZ) organization remains vital for Canada. The interoperability gains made under this organization have wide implications, highlighting the importance of this enduring relationship. The Canadian Army will continue to place a high priority on engagements and training opportunities with ABCANZ partners and will seek to implement lessons learned in interactions with other partners.

The NATO alliance is the bedrock of transatlantic security and remains Canada’s primary multilateral political-military alliance. The Canadian Army will continue to seek participation in NATO exercises to advance interoperability efforts and contribute to regional and global stability. The situation in Eastern Europe has illuminated NATO’s continued relevance, and the Canadian Army stands ready to support its endeavours to increase regional and global stability. As the lead for the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group (BG) in Latvia under Operation REASSURANCE, and after having led the NATO mission in Iraq (NMI) for two years, the Canadian Army is well-postured to assume increased leadership.

The Canadian Army will leverage opportunities to partner with and build the capacity of stable, like-minded countries of strategic relevance located in less stable regions or in the vicinity of fragile states. This will enable the Canadian Army to develop a network of international partners and possible operational hubs in regions where Canada has significant interests.

Finally, contributing to United Nations (UN) operations is a GC priority for which the Canadian Army will continue to be prepared to generate high quality land power force packages as directed.

The Canadian Army seeks the best ways to meet the needs of defence policy. Therefore, it must effectively communicate how it contributes to Canada’s defence objectives and clearly articulate the resources required to provide the government with a broad range of options, in all domains, at home and abroad.

Armed conflict will continue to require the presence of ground troops to successfully consolidate the gains of military objectives. Adversaries have demonstrated in Ukraine and Syria that there is no substitute for controlling the domain in which people live. Effective conduct in the land domain will demand soldiers that are skilled at operating amongst populations.

Success in the pan-domain environment will also favor the force that is best able to deliver an array of effects, often simultaneously. The demands of operating in a pan-domain environment increasingly require the Canadian Army to nest within a joint force.

The Canadian Army currently houses the Joint Counter Explosive Threat, the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, and Nuclear Defence, and the Peace Support Training Centre on behalf of the CAF. The Canadian Army may need to develop and generate additional joint capabilities in the future.

To function as an able member of a joint team, the Canadian Army must be aligned with CAF efforts to ensure interoperability across various systems such as intelligence mission data, joint communications, fires, information operations, and sustainment. Interoperability in these focus areas will ensure seamless command and control and the successful delivery of effects. Furthermore, the creation of land effects will be increasingly predicated on an ability to work in the cyber domain.

An important element of the future joint force are the Special Operations Forces (SOF). Like the Canadian Army, SOF are focused on delivering pan-domain strategic military solutions in defence of the nation. SOF possess unique strategic capabilities whose effects, when combined with those of conventional forces in a joint context, yield exponential results. The Canadian Army must strive to strengthen the relationship and interoperability between Canada’s conventional forces and SOF to better achieve the synergy that the future operating environment will demand for success.

This modernization strategy takes account of ongoing investments and priorities, but primarily depicts how the Canadian Army will adapt and innovate with its thinking, structures, and capabilities in the future context. Above all, the key requirements driving this strategy are the need to retain readiness for longer periods and the necessity to structure the force in a way that optimizes the Canadian Army for pan-domain operations. The Canadian Army will address these change drivers by adapting the Managed Readiness Plan (MRP) and through the wide-ranging reorganization project entitled Force 2025 (F2025). To be discussed in Chapter 3, F2025 will enable scaled readiness and force generation, deliberately integrate all components of the Canadian Army into One Army, decrease pressure on stressed ranks within the field force, and appropriately scale training and supporting institutions of the field force.

The following chapters outline the mission and vision of the Canadian Army and elaborate how the organization must progress demographically, technologically, structurally, and doctrinally.

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The successful application of land power results in the ability to exert enduring control within the land environment. The rise in importance of other domains of warfare is unquestionable, and the information domain has become central to modern conflict.

Notwithstanding this reality, war, conflict, and even competition are still contests of human will. The ability to control ground, to have a physical and psychological presence amongst the population, will continue to be a strong signal of national commitment.

Through SSE, the GC directs the Canadian Army to:

  • Grow and sustain personnel, maintain equipment, and provide training to ensure readiness and force generate at levels necessary for concurrent domestic and international land operations;
  • Grow, recapitalize, and operationalize the ARes;
  • Implement effective recruitment and retention approaches in support of the above;
  • Recapitalize land combat capabilities, vehicle fleets, C2 and ISR systems, weapons, and soldier night vision systems;
  • Invest in ground-based air defence, bridge and gap crossing equipment, and anti-tank guided missile systems;
  • Modernize weapons effects simulation and improvised explosive device (IED) detection and defeat capabilities;
  • Improve and expand light forces capability; and
  • Improve the ability to operate in the Arctic and other remote regions.14

Although policy evolves, the key missions of the CAF and Canadian Army will not fundamentally change. These investments, which mostly relate to core capabilities, will remain relevant. Depending on threat evolution and changes in the strategic environment, new and unexpected investments and adjustments may result.

Agile, disciplined, and innovative, the Canadian Army will comprise well-led, well-trained, well-equipped, well-sustained people and units, postured to succeed across the full spectrum of operations. Exploiting networked communications and pervasive data environments, the Canadian Army will excel at integrating effects with joint, interagency, multi-national, and public partners at the brigade level and below. The Canadian Army will employ adaptive dispersion—the ability to operate widely dispersed yet retain the ability to aggregate rapidly to concentrate combat power—to attain its tactical and operational goals. Using the One Army model and philosophy, the diverse elements of the Canadian Army’s organization will converge behind common goals in support of its mission.

The Canadian Army generates combat effective, multi-purpose land forces for employment on multiple concurrent operations to achieve Canada’s defence objectives.

The Canadian Army achieves GC objectives and priorities by conducting operations. Its traditions, education and training system, equipment, and other elements found within the force all have a role to play in preparing, enabling, and sustaining forces for operations.

Professional soldiers are central to Canadian Army success on operations. Its operating concepts demand high degrees of mental agility, creativity, and resilience coupled with the ability to thrive in a mission-command environment where junior leaders make decisions in support of operational and strategic intent. The Canadian Army requires strong professional foundations—resilient, ethical soldiers and leaders who are well-trained, led, and equipped. It also requires the ability to innovate continuously, anticipate problems, and maintain support systems that ensure the welfare of Canadian Army members and their families.

The contemporary and future operating environments are complex and highly uncertain. They force the Canadian Army to examine the entirety of its enterprise, and make adjustments to meet requirements that are now exposed. The Canadian Army cannot accept that what was done before will be suitable or appropriate for the future. Using the operational environment as a lens, the Canadian Army must assess where it can afford to maintain the extant, or where it must modernize to meet needs.

In order for the Canadian Army to succeed in the future, it must think of itself and operate as a unified One Army that consists of Regular, ARes, Canadian Rangers (CR), and civilians working together seamlessly to deliver on the Canadian Army’s mission.

Better operationalizing the ARes is a key mandate for future progress. By reforming integration, the Canadian Army will bring together mass and expertise to successfully support the concurrency of operations. Integration occurs through regional divisions, each containing Regular and Reserve brigades and Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups (CRPG).

Carrying forward the successes of Strengthening the Army Reserve, the Canadian Army will optimize its complementary capabilities. It will have to address numerous legacy systems, policies, and administrative procedures which must be modernized to enable it to increase capability from the part-time force. While integration will help the Canadian Army to generate a more robust and skilled force, the ARes will deliver many of the new and developing capabilities. Capitalizing on the strengths of these capabilities will require full integration of the One Army.

The CR are the eyes, ears, and guides of the Canadian Army in the remote, coastal, and northern areas in which they serve, and they allow the Canadian Army to maintain contact with those communities. A critical and enduring presence on the ground, they are vital to routine surveillance as guides, local cultural advisors and interpreters. They form the core of local liaison capacity in many locations while remaining immediately available to support local government or other agencies. Just as critical, both the CR and the ARes play an increasingly important role in national resilience and continental defence. The locality of the CR and ARes often postures them as the best situated military first responders. Further, these components will lead the Canadian Army’s effort to become more involved in continental defence as their employment is key to securing Canada’s extremities and deterring competitor opportunists.

The civilian members of the Canadian Army team are vital. They bring unique skills, perspectives, and continuity that uniformed members often lack due to military-focused training and personnel turnover. Civilian force institutional resilience will allow improved support, administrative services, and analytics functions.

As articulated in Close Engagement, the Canadian Army has two core competencies—close combat and close engagement—both essential for tactical success. Close combat comprises those operations conducted within range of direct fire weapon systems; it is essential for success in the operating environment and underpins all other activities. Close engagement is the ability to conduct both lethal and non-lethal activities at the tactical level to create effects across the physical, moral, and cognitive planes within the operating environment. It is necessary for success in a campaign.15 These core competencies are the foundation of the Canadian Army’s raison d’etre: to engage, fight, and win across the full spectrum of operations, generally in a multinational context.

While the Canadian Army’s core competencies necessitate preparation for high-intensity conflict, the vast majority of operations it conducts are below this threshold. Although failure to succeed in operations short of war rarely results in outcomes that are as immediate, the lasting impacts of such failure can be significant. The Canadian Army, therefore, must succeed in all operations.

The key Canadian Army characteristics remain largely unchanged:

  • The Canadian Army retains the ability to integrate capabilities to create a combined arms effect;
  • The Canadian Army’s heart is its professional soldiers, organized within a brigade group structure, and capable of conducting operations within a joint and pan-domain context;
  • The Canadian Army remains adaptive. Canadian Army institutions, in particular the school-houses, work to retain this characteristic. The Canadian Army finds opportunities in ambiguity; and
  • The Canadian Army is an increasingly network-enabled, medium land force augmented by light and heavy forces. Its composition optimizes versatility across the spectrum of missions and unique environments. The medium force allows the Canadian Army to provide task-tailored forces ready to respond broadly to many conflict types. The light forces offer strategic and operational agility, especially in rapidly evolving situations and in complex terrain. The heavy capabilities remain essential to enabling combat-effective medium weight forces and sustaining close combat manoeuvre expertise.

Combined arms are the means through which the Canadian Army delivers tactical effects. The need to integrate effects drives how the Canadian Army learns, informs how it trains, dictates how it plans, and enables it to innovate. Through force design planning, the Canadian Army continually assesses how and when to combine specialized capabilities into force packages.

The brigade group is the lowest level of headquarters that can integrate and synchronize joint effects. As such, and acknowledging the size of the Canadian Army, the brigade group will be the level at which the Canadian Army trains to fight in order to execute pan-domain operations. The brigade group also functions as a force generation tool for the integration of capabilities. In this way, the brigade group provides a construct in which to train the various enablers and capabilities that will support units on operations. The brigade group is a “system of systems” that provides an essential framework for integrating a wide variety of capabilities necessary to create the combined arms effect, and for creating the proficiency necessary to succeed in the majority of military tasks across the spectrum of conflict. In this way, the Canadian Army is also a part of a larger joint “system of systems.”

The brigade group consists of approximately 5,000 soldiers, organized in up to eight major units generally including artillery, armour, infantry, engineer, signal, and combat service support organizations. Combinations of these units operate together in task-tailored “battle groups” to provide the firepower, mobility, protection, sustainment, and command and control capability systems needed to achieve success. The battle group is augmented as required by specialist capability from the Canadian Combat Support Brigade (CCSB), the joint force, other government departments, and with individuals and elements from the ARes. While inherently scalable, each “system” is trained and employed in a larger system of systems (see Figure 2.1).

The ARes brigade group also functions as an integrator for domestic operations (DOMOPS) and force generation. When necessary, it can be employed as a local component command for DOMOPS. The ARes provides trained and experienced formed elements and individual soldiers to integrate into this system of systems. Each ARes unit will be given a Mission Task to generate formed capabilities that the Canadian Army requires for operations. Unit readiness will be dictated by the Managed Readiness Cycle and the force design for operations.

The image is a graphic illustrating the five systems of military land power from smallest (Soldier System) to largest (Brigade group).
Figure 2.1 Long Description

The image is a graphic illustrating the five systems of military land power from smallest (Soldier System) to largest (Brigade group).

The systems are presented as ovals within an inverted pyramid at the centre of the graphic.

In the bottom oval, the text reads, First System = Soldier system. There is an image of a soldier carrying a rifle and an image of the rucksack soldiers carry on their backs.

In the next oval, the text reads, Second System = Aggregation of Platforms. Three circles each with images of soldiers, military wheeled vehicles, and weapons are in the oval. This illustrates separate platoon formations.

In the next oval, the text reads, Third System = Combined Arms Team. At the centre is a symbol of a company team which is illustrated by a square with a much smaller square centered on top of it with a vertical line in its centre indicating a company-sized unit. To the left of this symbol are images of soldiers, rifles, and a military wheeled vehicle. To the right of this symbol are images of soldiers, rifles, a military wheeled vehicle, and a drone.

In the next oval, the text reads, Fourth System = Battle group. At the centre is a symbol of a Battle group which is illustrated by a square with a much smaller square centered on top of it with two vertical lines in its centre indicating a Battle group. To the left, text spells out the roles of the Battle group. These are:

  • Command and Control
  • Counter mobility
  • Sustainment, and provision of Territorial Battalion Groups

To the right, there are images of a drone and a radar system. There is also text indicating medium-capability fight systems.

All the roles are color-coded to indicate which Canadian Army organization is responsible for the various roles. Command and Control, Combat Mobility, Sustainment, and Medium Fight Systems are coloured blue to indicate they are the responsibility of Regular Force Mechanized Brigade Groups. Territorial Battle Groups are coloured green to indicate they will come from Army Reserve Augmentation.

On the final level, the text reads, Fifth System = Brigade Group. At the centre is a symbol of a Brigade group which is illustrated by a square with a much smaller square centered on top of it with an “x” in its centre indicating a Brigade group. To the left, text indicates that a Territorial Battle Group and various Joint Capabilities are part of the Brigade group.

Text to the right indicates Joint Capabilities, the Canadian Combat Support Brigade, and Light Fight Systems are also part of the Brigade group.

Colour-coding indicates which Canadian Army organization is responsible for the various capabilities. Territorial Battle Groups are coloured green to indicate they will come from Army Reserve Augmentation. Canadian Combat Support Brigade (coloured in red) will provide augmentation and Light Flight Systems (coloured in blue) will be provided by Regular Force Brigades. Joint Capabilities are coloured in purple.

To the right and left of the inverted pyramid, arrows point from bottom to top with text running along them. On the left hand arrow the text reads, Scalable and tailorable but always nested in higher systems.

On the right hand arrow the text reads, Must be able to fight and win against a pacing threat.

To the right of this arrow, two other horizontal arrows point to a block of horizontal text. It reads, shoot, move, communicate, survive, sustain.

Below that text is a legend explaining the colour-coding system used within the inverted pyramid.

On the far left of the image are three horizontal blocks of text.

The top text block is titled Policy Driver. It quotes a section of Canada’s Defence Policy as a rationale for the System of Systems approach. The quote reads, the Army trains to fight at the brigade group level…this is the minimum level at which it is possible to execute joint campaigns.

The middle text block includes four horizontal graphics. From top to bottom they are: a soldier crouching, a tank, an artillery weapon, a missile, and a radar dish. The text is to the right of the graphics and reads, Land power is built by amalgamating capability systems owning specific effects that permit land power to shoot, move communicate, survive and sustain itself in the battlespace.

The bottom text block reads, each system integrates tailored capabilities at scale to achieve desired outcomes.

A “centre of gravity” is an abstract concept initially proposed by Carl von Clausewitz that explains the sources of strength or will for a nation, military force, or alliance. From an introspective standpoint, knowing a centre of gravity enables its protection or sustainment. The Canadian Army’s centre of gravity, its source of strength, is the junior and mid-level leadership of all components. The retention and development of junior and mid-level leaders is vital to meet the imperatives of concurrent operations. As part of the Canadian Army’s modernization effort, it will seek to better manage this vital strength through numerous initiatives.

The Canadian Army often employs the term “vital ground” to describe an internal resource or asset that is imperative for success. “Vital ground” also alludes to a doctrinal concept that designates certain physical terrain that must be controlled or retained for the success of the mission.

Force generating soldiers and teams for the contemporary and future operating environment demands realistic, challenging training that builds trust among teammates while fostering cohesion and confidence in skills. While the Canadian Army is advancing the use of simulated force-on-force training, live fire training with the actual equipment and munitions that soldiers will use on operations remains a high priority. The Canadian Army’s success in delivering its core competencies is in the ability at the sub-unit level to live, train, and fight as part of a combined arms team. A combined arms team is a sub-unit headquarters that commands two or more platoon-sized manoeuver and effects elements for training. On operations, the sub-unit will be task organized and may include up to eight subordinate elements.16 The ultimate expression of the combined arms team is the combat team, which includes a mix of mechanized infantry and tanks at the company or squadron level. Combined arms team live fire training is necessary to develop combat proficiency in the most demanding of training environments. It is the vital ground for training.

Armies have always had to anticipate changes and adapt their modes of operation. Prior to the Second World War, for example, Western formations recognized the need to replace the horse cavalry with motorized and mechanized forces. The current world order, however, is evolving at an unprecedented rate. Canada’s adversaries have demonstrated creative applications of the use of land power, and the Canadian Army must shed traditional thinking if it is to obtain a position of advantage.

While this chapter has discussed Canadian Army priorities in terms of centre of gravity, vital ground, and key characteristics, its leaders must not be wed to previous assessments. The future operating environment will demand a revisit of these deductions and the Canadian Army must prize intellectual integrity and innovation as it seeks to understand the world.

The Canadian Army will have to decide how to change structure, capabilities, concepts, and doctrine to better overcome future challenges. This will largely be achieved through the F2025 project, although peripheral supporting activities must occur to support this venture. While the Canadian Army is undoubtedly a premier fighting organization, its units must develop and nurture a variety of other critical skill sets to compete on the modern battlefield and contribute to Canada’s defence objectives.

The following chapter will explain in general terms how the Canadian Army will set the conditions for the specific changes needed to retain this fighting edge. By nesting with strategic guidance, adhering to important principles, and assuming prudent risk, the Canadian Army will start on a course of important future developments.

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“The army we need for the future is not necessarily the army we have today. Difficult decisions will be made on divestment of capability in order to privilege new investment in the future.”

- LGen W.D. Eyre, Commander Canadian Army

The modernization strategy seeks to align initiatives across the breadth of the Canadian Army, setting the conditions for success on operations. It comes at a time when greater emphasis must be placed on the continuous search for internal efficiencies and external synergies in order to privilege investment for the future. These realities are not new, and the Canadian Army must continue to develop a force that is both effective and efficient. As a part of this process, the Canadian Army will invest in key capabilities while allowing others to become dormant or be divested.

The Canadian Army capability development process is aligned with three separate time horizons. The Army of Today has an outlook of five years and ensures the Army is available for current operations. The Army of Tomorrow spans a timeframe of five to 15 years. This strategy will carry the Canadian Army from the Army of Today to the Army of Tomorrow. Close Engagement details the conduct of operations in this horizon. The Future Army, a series of waypoints for the path towards meeting future demands, looks ahead 15 to 30 years.17

The Canadian Army is currently optimized to counter single-domain threats that are violent, physical, and attributable. Adversaries are using this limitation to their advantage as they mount a concerted and sustained challenge to the international rules-based order.

The Canadian Army requires a new perspective and a broader set of military capabilities that can be applied holistically with other instruments of national power. It must have these capabilities and the ability to seamlessly operate in a joint environment. Like many of Canada’s principal allies, the Canadian Army has realized that meeting this challenge will demand a broader set of military capabilities, integrated across domains, and employed in concert with other government partners. A superior ability to integrate disparate elements and capabilities at all levels, up to and including all elements of national power, will underpin future success.

Mastery of joint force operations across the pan-domain will be an iterative undertaking using research, logic, deep thinking, design, and experimentation to adapt the CAF. Importantly, people are the key to operating successfully in a pan-domain environment. The Canadian Army must do its part to ensure its soldiers possess the right mindset and training to fulfill its role.

Close Engagement: Land Power in the Age of Uncertainty is a conceptual guide for how the Canadian Army should be configured, equipped, and trained over the next 10-15 years.18 The main evolutionary enhancements are planned to occur in the following key areas: connectivity, agility, adaptability, integration, and robustness. The Close Engagement concept requires the Canadian Army to be adaptive, interoperable, dispersed in time, space and purpose, and able to concentrate at the right moment to meet pacing threats. While the horizon for Close Engagement is beyond the five-year projection of this strategy, the two documents are interdependent. This strategy seeks to put the Canadian Army on a path that will best enable it to conduct pan-domain operations as described in Close Engagement and will influence future iterations of Close Engagement.

The future force will have enhanced precision, lethality, and protection. The requirement for a sufficiency of mass, whether to engage local populations or to defeat an adversary, remains extant. The primary factor which distinguishes the Close Engagement-capable Future Army from the Army of Today is that the former will be characterized by a robust persistent information network linking soldiers, sensors, combat platforms and commanders.

  • There will be no fundamental changes to policy or resource allocation, and the Canadian Army’s modernization goals will remain relevant to the achievement of Canada’s defence objectives;
  • Subsequent planning horizons will be impacted by moderate policy and resource adjustments. This will necessitate a constant multi-horizon development perspective, meaning this document will require periodic updating;
  • Modernization efforts must be undertaken concurrent to force generation and force employment on operations. There will be no pause. Efforts must be managed and prioritized, with the tempo of change being a key lever of control; and,
  • Significant growth in structure is unlikely. All modernization efforts will be conducted with the perspective that every change in capability, structure, or organization must be done within the Canadian Army’s existing personnel envelope.

This strategy draws from the vision outlined in SSE.19 It aligns with the policy approach of Anticipate, Adapt, and Act: Anticipating emerging threats and challenges, Adapting to the rapid pace of change in today’s fluid security environment, and Acting decisively with effective military capability.20 It also aligns with land investments directed by SSE.

Central to this guidance are the eight core missions of the CAF. The CAF will:

  • Detect, deter, and defend against threats to or attacks on Canada;
  • Detect, deter, and defend against threats to or attacks on North America in partnership with the United States, and through NORAD;
  • Lead and/or contribute forces to NATO and coalition efforts to deter and defeat adversaries, including terrorists, to support global stability;
  • Lead and/or contribute to international peace operations and stabilization missions within the UN, NATO, and other multilateral partners;
  • Engage in capacity building to support the security of other nations and their ability to contribute to security abroad;
  • Provide assistance to civil authorities and law enforcement, including counter-terrorism, in support of national security and the security of Canadians abroad;
  • Provide assistance to civil authorities and non-governmental partners in responding to international and domestic disasters or major emergencies; and,
  • Conduct search and rescue operations.21

Many of the strategic initiatives in this document directly inform and guide Canadian Army modernization; thus the Canadian Army will remain closely aligned and supportive of them.

Armed with an understanding of the strategic context the Canadian Army will operate in, and bolstered with an understanding of who we are and how we contribute, the path forward is still challenging and dynamic. This strategy will principally focus modernization efforts within this five-year horizon but it will also serve to orient efforts that go beyond. This includes conceptual, design, and research priorities with which to set the conditions for successive horizons. Canadian Army modernization must be balanced with ongoing force generation and force management imperatives and be synchronized with departmental processes, capacity, and governance. To manage the spectrum of investment, integration, reorganization, and divestment activity, a “Build” framework has been established around conventional horizons:

  • Build 1 – F2025. The primary driving force behind this strategy, this in-horizon (2020-2025) effort will re-balance Canadian Army organizational structure across the field force and the institution. Build 1 focus will be on three lines of effort detailed in Chapter 4: Posture for Concurrency, Human Dimension, and One-Army Integration. It will also begin early investment in the Digital Army, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR), and key sustainment platforms. Concept testing, research, modeling, and experimentation to inform successive builds will also be integral. During this build, the Canadian Army will make difficult decisions regarding which capabilities to divest to make room for more relevant ones. It will also continue to assess the strategic environment and the changing character of war to ensure these decisions are relevant to the situation.
  • Build 2 – Force 2030. This horizon (2025-2030) will see a digital Army realized through the operationalization of data analytics and the fielding of modern C4ISR, soldier, protection, and combat enabling capabilities. Build 2 will continue to make investment, re-organization, and divestment decisions but continue to emphasize horizon scanning, research and experimentation with which to inform future modernization efforts.

This strategy is built upon six foundational principles, reflected throughout the intent, lines of effort, and operational initiatives. These are:

  • Digitization and enhanced networking. Future networks must be designed and implemented to enhance shared understanding, the speed of decision-making, and the effectiveness of command and control. This has the cumulative potential for transformational change. Failure to exploit these networks or, conversely, become entirely dependent on them, has potential risks that may negate an advantage or even leave the Canadian Army at a significant disadvantage.22 Further, emerging advances in artificial intelligence, such as its use within predictive planning tools, has the potential to greatly shorten the decision-action cycle. The Canadian Army’s embrace of digital excellence is foundational to modernization. Society is on the edge of burgeoning artificial intelligence and other digitally-driven technologies. As an increasing proportion of soldiers and defence civilians are digitally-inclined, the Canadian Army must harness data and embrace digital culture to benefit from their potential and act as a shield from the negative aspects of new technologies. Particularly, leaders must stay attuned to soldier skill sets to ensure operators possess the requisite capabilities. In many cases, this will require consistent retraining on current and new systems.
  • One Army. Only One Army will be able to manage the array of concurrent operational demands. The Regular Force, ARes, CR, and the civilian work-force will be a single operating entity. The full integration of the Regular and Reserve components, and capability in particular, will be achieved where the optimum capacity of each component will enable meeting the readiness and operational output demands of the future.
  • Interoperable. Interoperability with multiple organizations is vital for the way Canada prepares, trains, and fights. It is required across the full spectrum of joint, interagency, multinational, and public interactions. In the pan-domain fight, joint interoperability is indispensable. The Canadian Army will also achieve interoperability with key ABCANZ and NATO allies. Further, the Canadian Army will be able to work alongside UN or coalition partners when required.
  • Simplicity. Technology must absolutely be leveraged to assure military superiority, but the Canadian Army’s approach, systems applications, and methodology must preserve simplicity. In all, we will embrace “usability or ease of use” where the perspective and needs of the user are prioritized. Simplicity is the key to effective maintenance and equipment use.
  • Adaptive Dispersed Operations (ADO) Ready. As detailed in Close Engagement, the Canadian Army will prepare for ADO as a baseline and way of operating.23 The principles and deductions contained in Close Engagement are to be understood and incorporated by all Canadian Army members.
  • Versatility. The Canadian Army will seek to develop and acquire capabilities that achieve the widest utility across both domestic and expeditionary environments, thus achieving the most efficient use of funds. This approach will also guarantee equipment familiarity across a diverse set of mission tasks.

The context within which the Canadian Army operates implies that it will manage risk on an enduring basis. Over time, the nature of the individual risks can evolve or be mitigated. However, the aggregate residual risk inevitably amounts to some operational risk. This is the result of a number of resourcing, optimization, and prioritization realities where deliberate consideration of consequence, likelihood, and mitigation was conducted. Importantly, the Canadian Army and the CAF remain uncompromising in their collective efforts to ensure the right training, aggregation of capabilities, and essential equipment for effective employment on operations. In contrast, deliberate consideration is given to how the Canadian Army generates capability and where efficiencies must be found to sustain the programme. It is in how the Canadian Army generates capability, how it leverages whole fleet management, and how it rotates levels of readiness that it assumes the greatest risk to operational readiness.

This strategy aims to reduce operational risk to the force, particularly during employment on operations. It also aims to reduce the reputational risk which erodes the foundations of the Canadian Army’s profession. The implementation of the strategy will force difficult but necessary choices to ensure sufficient funding for priority investments. Indeed, financial risk, including defence inflation and the corresponding impacts to acquisition and operations, represents an enduring challenge to successful implementation of this strategy. While this strategy will mitigate some risks, it introduces others which commanders must continue to monitor.

  • Readiness. Modernization efforts will focus on improving operational output and continue to find efficiencies in force generation. Management of readiness on a rotational basis, the just-in-time availability of some suites of low-quantity equipment, and the adaptation of training itself, will all continue to be risk areas where commanders will be required to be innovative. Any overproduction of readiness will increase risks to other programme areas and must be avoided.
  • Capability Risk. The Canadian Army comprises a spectrum of equipment and systems, all of which require recapitalization on a recurring basis if it is to maintain military and technical advantage. There is insufficient funding to satisfy every need; prioritization is therefore essential. The Canadian Army’s approach to its capital equipment programme remains: disciplined execution, driving to schedule, and, in particular, ruthless adherence to living within means. As new equipment is generally more costly, the Canadian Army will continue to find efficiencies but also make difficult trade-off decisions around volume, the number of systems, and level of technology. The Canadian Army will not compromise the combat capability essential for the conduct and sustainment of concurrent operations. It will, however, necessarily continue to accept smart capability risk in terms of training and fleet volume to maximize equipment utilization and efficiency. The implications for the Canadian Army will be increased utilization, wear and tear on smaller fleets, the continued use of whole fleet management practices, fitted “for,” not “with” acquisitions strategies, and required innovation for new maintenance, training, and simulation methodologies. This risk area will continue to challenge commanders at all levels to innovate new approaches to growing and sustaining combat-capable excellence.
  • Sustainment. The Canadian Army is investing in a broad suite of new, higher technology equipment in a relatively short period of time. The implementation and transition to these new systems will stress the entire supply chain. While this strategy includes a focus on data analytics, decision support, and training innovation, the supply chain will continue to be a risk area. Anticipation, early planning, and good communication will continue to be the basis for mitigation.
  • Infrastructure. Infrastructure remains an enduring risk area for the DND and Canadian Army due to previous risk acceptance decisions. Failure to properly resource infrastructure maintenance and development will directly affect morale, motivation, and retention. Further, the Range Training Areas, which support the Canadian Army’s ability to train and equip, will be at risk of deterioration if proper checks and priority are not afforded to them. To ensure the Canadian Army retains the necessary infrastructure to meet its core mandates in support of Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment), it will reassess current maintenance standards and continue to advocate for the resources required for long-term sustainment.
  • Resistance to Change. Change is challenging for all organizations, and there is always some inherent resistance to it. In order to see Canadian Army modernization through, and realize the complete potential of the Army to meet existing and future challenges, leaders at all levels must be dedicated to moving modernization initiatives forward. All soldiers must work to ensure that individual perspectives, opinions and decisions, and overall resistance to change, do not delay or derail these efforts that are vital to the future of the Canadian Army.

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Armed with the understanding of where the Canadian Army needs to go, the path to getting there must be described in terms of concrete actions, responsibilities, and tangible outcomes. These will be the priority change efforts for the Canadian Army over the next five years. Figure 4.1 illustrates the four lines of effort and 20 nested initiatives of the strategy.

LOE 1 Posture for Concurrency

Concepts and Doctrine
Training Approach
1.4 Operational Output 1.5 Sustainment 1.6
Cyber Mission Assurance
LOE 2 Human Dimension 2.1 Mission Ready 2.2 Professional Military Conduct 2.3
2.4 Personnel Management 2.5 Professional Development
LOE 3 One-Army Integration 3.1
Army Reserve Policy Initiatives
Community Engagement
3.3 Canadian Rangers
LOE 4 Priority Investments 4.1
Force 2025
Digital Transformation
4.3 International Engagement 4.4 Performance Management & Governance 4.5 Research and Development 4.6 Capital Investment

The Posture for Concurrency line of effort is focused on evolving what and how we generate to assure the anticipation, preparation, and conduct of the right mission sets, capability cohesion, unity of purpose, and increased ability to retain readiness longer.

  1. Adapt the Managed Readiness Plan (MRP). (COS A Ops Lead) The current MRP was implemented in the 2005/2006 timeframe to ensure assigned forces were always ready and prepared for any deployment. In this regard it performed well but it is unsuited for the current context as units consume readiness upon attainment with immediate deployments, leaving very little for international contingencies. Furthermore, the tempo for personnel was intense, with road to high readiness and theatre mission specific training (TMST) immediately followed in many cases with deployment. The Canadian Army has not realized the potential of adequately integrating light forces or the ARes into the MRP. The adapted MRP will become the centrepiece of Canadian Army modernization—the cycle with which it produces combat capability—and will incorporate the following:
  • A rotational cycle with three phases: build, contingency, and committed. This plan will be centred on a Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (CMBG) which builds combat readiness and then holds that force at a ready posture for one year, retaining forces available to react to contingencies as necessary. At the end of this period in high readiness, contingency elements conduct TMST and deploy on predicted international operations as they transition to the committed phase;
  • ARes mission task elements that provide capabilities to the CMBG on a longer directed readiness level due to the nature of Reserve service. This “Roto 0.5” concept is based on a predictable model allowing designated units time to prepare and train;
  • A global response task force, based on a light force construct, that provides highly deployable and scalable forces offering a wide range of options to the GC for emerging crises around the world and the far reaches at home;
  • A One Army team approach for domestic readiness leveraging a combination of Regular Force, ARes, CR, and the currently established Immediate Reaction Unit (IRU) and Territorial Battalion Group (TBG) constructs;
  • Improved coordination with Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, as appropriate, to better align force generation with force employment and to ensure proper force design within the land domain. This will be enabled by the establishment of a Canadian Army Land Liaison and Coordination Element (LLCE) within CJOC HQ; and,
  • CCSB integration throughout the MRP cycle to provide a fused “sense” function through the synchronization and integration of the brigade-level sensors. Further, the CCSB will become the lead for the delivery of non-lethal effects for the Canadian Army as the Influence Activities Task Force Master Implementation Directive (MID) is realized and additional capabilities, such as electronic attack, are delivered.
  1. Concepts and Doctrine. (CALWC Lead, ADC Supporting) Concept development and the implementation of lessons drive doctrinal evolution. Conceptual understanding begins with foresight activities - an understanding and assessment of major trends and drivers which affect the future land operating environment. This is not a static effort and ongoing work is required to understand technological and environmental change, assess potential threats, and learn from ongoing operations around the world. Close Engagement: Land Power in the Age of Uncertainty has replaced the Land Operations 2021 series as the capstone concept for land operations which will inform other conceptual and design work. When taken collectively, these concept and design considerations will inform the development of capabilities, including research and development, across multiple horizons (15 years) while concurrently encouraging challenge, debate, and the requirement for formal validation.
  • The Canadian Army will update the land operations capstone operating concept Close Engagement and subordinate concepts to ensure alignment with future CAF publications and concepts of other key allies. The Canadian Army must closely collaborate with fellow services and be aligned with joint concept and doctrine development. These conceptual changes will, in turn, prioritize doctrinal development, including the capstone institutional doctrine Canada’s Army;
  • The Canadian Army must determine how it can better contribute to continental defence and national resiliency. Specifically, it will identify how best to posture to rapidly deploy to the extremities of Canada’s geography. As part of this effort, the Canadian Army will publish Northern Reaches, an integrating concept for land operations in the Canadian Arctic. It will also explore other areas that merit academic examination, such as the CAF’s evolving approach to ballistic missile defence;
  • The Canadian Army will mature command support concepts for computer information systems and accelerate the means through which concepts, tactics, techniques, and procedures, and lessons are published, shared and applied. In conjunction with initiative 4.1 Digital Transformation, the transformation of command and staff processes will be pursued aggressively;
  • The intelligence enterprise is adapting, and so will Canadian Army intelligence concepts and doctrine. In seamless cooperation with Canadian Forces Intelligence Command and the Defence Intelligence Enterprise Review, Canadian Army concept evolution will centre on harvesting the potential in the ARes, the optimal use of allied and Canadian intelligence enterprises, and the exploitation of technology in all phases of the intelligence cycle;
  • Related to the above, the Canadian Army will continue to advance the potential of the capabilities generated by the CCSB;
  • The Canadian Army will publish a formal environmental operationalization concept that will enable commanders in the conduct of training to strengthen sustainable land use practices and establish RTA monitoring programs that will enhance compliance obligations and solidify capability development integration; and,
  • A pervasive and constantly evolving information environment surrounds the Canadian Army wherever it operates. It will refine, and for some aspects, define the land information operations concepts to fully realize the capability.
  1. Training Approach. (CADTC Lead) The credibility of an army as a fighting force can only be demonstrated and maintained on operations. However, it must be underpinned by a modern and robust training system. Competence in field craft and manoeuvre must be regularly demonstrated in a field environment, recognizing that field training exercises are costly and time intensive. It is imperative that allocated field time be used to maximize the perfection of complex skill sets and not merely the learning of basic skills, although the importance of mastering fundamentals is crucial. Training modernization will be explored to ensure that the Canadian Army takes advantage of promising new educational technologies and methodologies.
  • The Canadian Army will rationalize and increase its use of virtual and constructive simulation for both collective training and individual training (IT), as well as distributed learning in order to ensure that basic skills have been learned before engaging in live simulation events like field exercises. Whenever it makes sense, the synthetic training environment should be used as a confirmation gateway before transitioning to live simulation events;
  • All training time will allow for multiple iterations of complex, challenging tactical scenarios which will be mastered, rather than merely providing experiences with lessons inferred but not practiced and confirmed;
  • Live, virtual, and constructive synthetic training environments will be integrated where appropriate to maximize both individual and collective training effects;
  • The advent of the Land Vehicle Crew Training System—in approximately 2026—will mark a decided advance in the Canadian Army’s use of data analytics to enable learning management and measure when tactical competence is ready to be confirmed and validated during live simulation events;
  • The Canadian Army will improve its TMST programme by more rapidly and systematically incorporating lessons learned from soldiers returning from operational deployments;
  • The Canadian Army will trial the repatriation of recruit training to better develop soldier proficiencies and group cohesion while increasing efficiency. This process will see the Canadian Army assume increased responsibility for training that has previously fallen under the CAF purview;
  • To ensure realistic and achievable training goals and progression, the Canadian Army will balance the depth and breadth of ARes training against soldier availability;
  • To further optimize training deliverables and improve effectiveness, Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre (CADTC) will revitalize the process of integrating lessons learned. This will include an examination of the processes the Canadian Army employs to collect, disseminate, and inculcate feedback from the various agencies involved in conducting and providing training;
  • Leveraging new technologies and evolving pedagogical methodologies, IT will be reviewed to ensure that the Canadian Army employs the most effective instructional methods to accommodate multiple learning styles, maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of learning while balancing the tempo experienced by all students and instructors; and,
  • The use of training analytics will improve demand forecasting, increase throughput efficiency (such as aligning recruiting with the path to Operational Functional Point), and allow for evidence-based costing to make best use of scarce resources.
  1. Operational Output. (COS A Ops Lead, DG ARes Supporting) The Canadian Army will continue to modernize and strengthen the ARes by focusing efforts to ensure clear, timely delivery of an operationally-capable and fully-integrated component of the Canadian Army.
  • For established expeditionary missions, during the committed phase of the MRP, force design decisions will be made deliberately at Canadian Army level in order to ensure the appropriate capabilities are sourced from the right components and right units with adequate lead time. This will ensure the Canadian Army is effectively managing personnel tempo and optimizing its entire force generation base. It will also increase force generation, sustainment, and management by creating a LLCE in CJOC HQ;
  • While the ARes can realistically generate ready troops with a part-time force, the Canadian Army will develop options for increasing full-time ARes employment to support higher readiness; and,
  • In conjunction with CJOC, the Canadian Army will re-examine the force employment concept for ARes employment in domestic emergencies and sovereignty operations through the TBGs, Arctic Response Company Groups, and IRUs. The intent is to provide operational reach across the country, expertise in Arctic operations, and access to local infrastructure, knowledge, and relationships when providing assistance to civil authorities. This refined understanding will drive necessary changes in ARes MRP integration.
  1. Sustainment. (COS A Ops Lead, COS A Strat Supporting) Recent operations and exercises have exposed significant Combat Service Support (CSS) challenges at all levels, and especially for concurrent or large-scale operations. To optimize performance and meet its mandate, the Canadian Army will have to carefully prioritize CSS investment and employment while improving internal systems and processes. The pursuit of strategic sustainment initiatives coupled with operational and tactical CSS considerations will ensure the optimization of sustainment.
  • The Canadian Army will explore solutions to improve integral ARes sustainment for DOMOPS, increasing their operational reach and persistence;
  • To ensure aligned development of health service support in the land domain as both organizations modernize, the Canadian Army will partner with Canadian Forces Health Services Group and identify areas to analyze and concentrate effort in. One such area is the revision of combat casualty care procedures, especially in environments where Canada and its allies do not possess air superiority;
  • Leaders will fully support the Canadian Army Equipment Readiness Programme. The Canadian Army faces sustainment challenges in introducing new equipment while simultaneously maintaining the current fleet. Resource limitations in National Procurement and Operation and Maintenance funding, and other sources such as trade health, limited equipment, and poor infrastructure reinforce this requirement;
  • The Defence Procurement Strategy, one of SSE’s stated initiatives, will augment the autonomy of all the military services and their departmental equivalents to have greater flexibility in the procurement of goods and services in the future.24 The Canadian Army will further delegate this autonomy to the unit and formation levels where it will have the most impact. Contractual capacity, scrupulousness, and discipline will be essential to ensure units are able to meet those additional responsibilities;
  • Reducing demand across the defence supply chain by decreasing over-redundancy, inefficiencies, and wastage will be a key priority. While redundancy is a tenet of logistics, over-redundancy can become very resource intensive and inefficient and should be reduced to an optimal level in an ADO construct;
  • Focused sustainment may require assuming risk by reducing pre-positioning and stockpiling of scarce resources and instead increasing “time on target” by enhancing their velocity and precision. Inherent is the idea that sustainment assets, depending on their nature, may be moved in accordance with planned and predicted operations or, when necessary, may move quickly through the sustainment system, skipping whole echelons; and,
  • Finally, the Canadian Army will ensure its sustainment programme nests with CAF initiatives. While the Canadian Army will look to solve sustainment problems internally, it must also assist in bridging the competitive gaps within the CAF. This activity will strengthen sustainment for both the Canadian Army and its fellow military services.
  1. Cyber Mission Assurance (CMA). (COS A Strat Lead) The cyber environment is critical to the conduct of modern military operations. Cyber infrastructure, whether network or vehicle platforms, presents potential single points of failure on operations and in the day-to-day business of the institution. CMA, or simply mission assurance, is therefore a critical operational consideration that can only be realized through concerted effort. The overall aim of CMA is to safeguard system availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and mission assurance of networks, systems and platforms unique to the Canadian Army.
  • The Canadian Army will continue to actively support Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) and Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management) CMA efforts. The Canadian Army will also assure that CMA requirements are considered in all procurement undertakings (capital equipment, information management/information technology, and infrastructure);
  • An examination of cyber defence in force structure will be conducted as part of the F2025 analysis;
  • The Canadian Army will publish an operating concept that will describe the ways and means with which the Canadian Army will protect, detect, respond, and recover from a cyber-attack against platforms or operating networks, effectively linking Offensive Cyber Operations, Defensive Cyber Operations and CMA. This will link CMA and the requisite skills and structures to the conduct of operations;
  • The Canadian Army will establish a CMA strategy and programme that will incorporate cyber security requirements for unique Canadian Army systems and applications that will assure resourcing for the training and education of the One Army team. It will also identify a CMA Functional Authority for the Canadian Army; and,
  • The Canadian Army will complete a risk-based assessment of function and systems to identify mission critical functions and define prioritization for CMA protection levels.

The Human Dimension line of effort is about developing and empowering people to ultimately succeed in war. People are the Canadian Army’s key source of strength. The nature of Canadian Army operations demands healthy, motivated soldiers and civilians who are physically, emotionally, and mentally resilient. The Canadian Army will invest in human capital by providing resources, policies, and a work environment to allow and encourage our people to adapt to the changing character of war while promoting the care of our members—military and civilian—and their families.

This line of effort will be nested under, and indeed governed by the pace of Military Personnel Command (MILPERSCOM) initiatives; namely the CAF Human Resource Strategy. Other strategic level initiatives that will continue to necessitate close Canadian Army alignment with MILPERSCOM include the Total Health and Wellness Strategy and Adaptive Career Path initiative. These will continue to require the development of internal Canadian Army programs supporting our soldiers and civilian members. As such, the Canadian Army will focus modernization efforts on enhancing operational readiness by increasing investment in our people to ensure health, resilience, motivation, and strength are optimized through a respectful and diverse environment reflective of Canadian values.

  1. Mission Ready. (CADTC Lead, COS A Ops Supporting) The resilience and overall level of preparedness of Canadian Army soldiers to operate and win in modern combat will remain vital. The Canadian Army has made significant progress in considering and addressing holistic health at the unit level. It will continue to reinforce and improve its products and delivery across the established domains of fitness. Mission: Ready will continue to be aligned with the CAF BALANCE strategy and, over the next five years, Mission: Ready will be fully integrated with CAF’s Total Health and Wellness Strategy. To achieve this, the Canadian Army will embrace challenging, evidence-based activities and initiatives. It will also seek to improve synchronization with other Level 1 organizations (L1s) and international partners with similar programmes while striving for continual improvement in all domains of wellness.
  • The Canadian Army will continue to reinforce and improve products and delivery across the established domains of wellness. It will empower local initiatives, capture and share those that work as best practices, and incorporate them into direction and guidance as appropriate. The Mission: Ready website will be redeveloped to be more interactive in providing relevant and timely information to soldiers and the chain of command;
  • Mission: Ready will be aligned with the overarching CAF Total Health and Wellness Strategy. An increased emphasis will be placed on optimizing soldiers’ financial fitness;
  • The Canadian Army will leverage established CAF Total Health and Wellness Strategy performance measures with a view to demonstrating our soldiers’ levels of readiness and fitness;
  • To ensure that part-time soldiers are better positioned to benefit from the strategy, the Canadian Army will develop a comprehensive plan on the implementation of Mission: Ready in the ARes;
  • In collaboration with Personnel Support Programs and other relevant stakeholders, the Canadian Army will continue to conduct research into the optimization of physical performance at the entry-level and implement practices that help achieve the aims of Mission: Ready;
  • The Canadian Army will continue to develop methods aimed at encouraging the internalization of healthy activities by leveraging behavioural insight practices, such as Nudge theory, where appropriate.25 This includes continuing to develop and implement a meaningful reward system recognizing outstanding individual and group fitness levels; and,
  • The Canadian Army will leverage technology to share information and discuss initiatives aimed at promoting Mission: Ready.
  1. Professional Military Conduct. (COS A Ops Lead) The Canadian Army will continue to commit to the establishment of a workplace where all members can perform their duties in an environment that fosters mutual trust, respect, honour, and dignity. By doing so it will enhance its culture of professional military conduct over the next five years. Nothing will erode Canadian Army capability more than sustaining a workplace that lacks mutual respect.
  • Professional conduct training is essential to ensuring a common understanding of expected standards, support, and reporting mechanisms. It will foster inclusion, respect for the dignity of all persons, and honour. Ultimately, leadership is the most decisive factor in achieving a respectful culture. Leaders are expected to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner, manage preventative programmes, react decisively but in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness, and provide support to the affected persons;
  • Preventing and addressing sexual misconduct in a CAF -led initiative, the Canadian Army will continue to employ and support the tools developed by Director Professional Military Conduct, including Operation HONOUR and The Path to Dignity and Respect: The Canadian Armed Forces Strategy to Address Sexual Misconduct. These will be complemented by Canadian Army orders and resources as required. The Canadian Army will also continue to support Operation HONOUR awareness training and programmes, support to victims, and the continued implementation of Operation HONOUR Tracking and Analysis System; and,
  • Hateful conduct must also garner Canadian Army attention and focus. Leaders at all levels must quickly and proactively address misconduct incidents and ensure that members are held accountable for their actions. The Canadian Army will ensure continued leadership engagement as it implements the various aspects related to the development of hateful conduct policy. Published at the time of this strategy, Canadian Army Order 11-82 is derived from CAF policy (Defence Administrative Orders and Directives, CAF Military Personnel Instruction, and Canadian Forces General message), and highlights key aspects related to internal Canadian Army practices ensuring that members continue to recognize their responsibilities. It also provides guidance on the employment of the Hateful Conduct Incident Tracking System while providing information on mandated training and education programs.
  1. Diversity and Inclusion. (COS A Ops Lead) The Canadian Army will endeavour to properly reflect Canadian society and improve its administrative policies to promote inclusion. This includes the requirement to continue to develop a bilingual Army. The outcome of these efforts will be a capable, agile CAF that reflects Canada’s rich diversity in a way that improves resilience and relevance.
  • The Canadian Army will focus on ensuring equality of opportunity and greater connectivity to a diverse Canadian society. The Canadian Army will support MILPERSCOM and Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources-Civilian) initiatives that promote diversity, inclusion, and employment equity. As the Canadian Army rebalances its workforce, diversity and inclusion will be key drivers to position it as a leader in equitable practices. The Canadian Army must work to ensure that its diversity policies permeate all components and trades, including the combat arms. The Canadian Army will also continue to strengthen its relationship with Indigenous communities through established programmes such as the Indigenous Summer Programme, Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group, and the Aboriginal Awareness Course;
  • As Gender-based analysis plus analysis will become increasingly important for the Canadian Army in coming years, it will partner with appropriate organizations to ensure that it has the resources to support an increasingly diverse force.
  • Training and recruiting practices will adjust to foster an organizational climate that is welcoming of diversity. This will also include the introduction of training to refine the Canadian Army’s culture;
  • Leaders in the Canadian Army must continue to foster an environment that is welcoming to a diverse force through a rigorous cycle of assessment, training, and screening. The Canadian Army will create tools to assist leaders in gauging perceptions among soldiers regarding command climates and their levels of inclusion. It will also implement policies that will empower leaders to correct obstacles impairing this environment;
  • The Canadian Army Ethics Programme will be closely aligned with the Defence Ethics Programme, ensuring that it meets key institutional objectives while promoting diversity and employment equity principles; and,
  • The Canadian Army will implement the Defence Ethics Programme to ensure the DND and CAF Code of Values and Ethics principles continue to guide its operations. These principles will continue to influence the manner in which the Canadian Army implements hiring, promotion, and force management systems that provide equal opportunities that are driven by merit.
  1. Personnel Management. (COS A Ops Lead) The Canadian Army will update and modernize regulatory processes to ensure they are aligned with wider CAF and MILPERSCOM efforts.
  • The Canadian Army will adopt a more personalized approach to career management to better cater to the needs of the individual and family while still producing operational output. This philosophical approach is rooted in leadership accepting and valuing unique career paths and experiences;
  • The Canadian Army’s current retention approach must be re-evaluated and nested under the CAF’s forthcoming retention strategy with a view to determining the correct policies, regulations, and benefits that will incentivize retention;
  • The Canadian Army will adopt additional tools to improve the Army Succession Plan by tailoring professional development, facilitating placement of the right leaders, and empowering the Canadian Army to optimize career assignments;
  • Streamlining and encouraging the component transfer process will allow the Canadian Army to continue to leverage the experiences of our ARes members while expediting their ability to join the Regular Force, and likewise facilitate Regular Force members continuing their service as part-time members. This will be key as the Adaptive Career Path initiative must allow for the effective and timely transition of our members from one component to the other;
  • The Canadian Army will work with MILPERSCOM to update Land Duty Allowance in a manner that incentivizes and rewards actual field time and school employment; and,
  • The Canadian Army must continue to champion increased delegations of authority to the lowest levels to improve efficiency. This will necessitate continued chain of command focus ensuring that we limit administrative demands while maximizing efficiencies. The employment of electronic forms and the use of electronic means to transfer administration across the Canadian Army will prove beneficial.
  1. Professional Development. (CADTC Lead) The Canadian Army will refocus its professional development efforts on Professional Development (PD) (Informal Professional Military Education (IPME) and the Structured and Guided Self-Development (SGSD) of its junior officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) in particular. The goal of the programme will be to instill a sense of professional curiosity and lifelong learning within the leadership cadre. This initiative will serve to buttress formal PME, training, and experience within the Canadian Army and better prepare new leaders for greater responsibilities.
  • CADTC will develop a modernized Canadian Army PD plan by engaging its members in a conversation, enabled by technology, about their chosen profession. It will complement formal training and education, filling the gap between these episodic sessions. This is increasingly important given changes in the security environment. The professional development plan will formalize IPME/SGSD as a proven means to educate, energize, motivate, and develop officers and NCOs at each stage of their careers;
  • Units across the Canadian Army will meet their responsibilities in developing their people, beyond formal courses, with the support and assistance of CADTC. CADTC units will play central roles in the orchestration and support of these activities;
  • Army Lessons Learned Center will oversee an operational writing programme that seeks to create the habit of formal reflection and inquiry;
  • Canadian Army Command and Staff College will serve as a centre for excellence for PD (IPME/SGSD) and create internet-based resources, centered on FOXHOLE U—a web-based platform for junior leaders that enables self-study via a variety of platforms—that will empower units to conduct PD as part of their ongoing activities; and,
  • Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre will revitalize the Canadian Army Journal, increasing its frequency of publication and breadth of authorship.

Lines of effort 1 and 2 address the operational, training, and overarching administration requirements of the One Army. The objective of the One Army Integration line of effort is to optimize the operational capability of the ARes in order to provide the basis for integrated components that are mutually supporting. This will be accomplished by addressing ARes and CR legacy policies and administrative challenges, thus removing existing barriers to the efficient and effective integration of the One Army. The Canadian Army will always be mindful not to impose a full-time administrative and planning burden on part-time leaders and soldiers.

  1. Army Reserve Policy Initiatives. (DG ARes Lead) The Canadian Army will address policy issues in order to modernize and optimize efficiency to enable the readiness of ARes personnel and their administration. Streamlining and improving the efficiency of ARes personnel administration and procedures, and the enabling of personnel support mechanisms, will reduce the administrative burden at unit level and optimize integration and readiness. The Canadian Army will implement policies that enable the operational capability of all of its personnel while ensuring that administration is streamlined in order to limit the strain on leaders at all levels, allowing ARes units to focus on training and operational output.
  • The Canadian Army will meet its mandate to establish the minimum annual training requirements for ARes soldiers to be prepared to support operations and directed outputs. These will form the basis of a new individual readiness policy which clearly outlines the Canadian Army’s expectations of its ARes soldiers. This policy will establish expectations and provide the chain of command the flexibility to allow ARes soldiers to balance the varying demands of their civilian, family, and military commitments at different points in their careers and lives. The Canadian Army will develop and publish this policy in line with MRP and training outputs;
  • Analysis of, and measures to optimize, the efficiency of ARes administrative practices will reduce the overall administrative burden of its leaders, soldiers, and units. This includes an in-depth workflow analysis to determine the required level of full-time support at unit and sub-unit levels to properly administer and effectively train the ARes;
  • Directly linked to 2.4 Personnel Management, the Canadian Army will implement a personnel management framework that develops ARes members, full- and part-time, to their full potential, reinforcing the Canadian Army succession process and ensuring appropriate support to the institutional Army while balancing the aspirations of the individual with the needs of the Canadian Army; and,
  • Working with the Chief of Reserves, the Canadian Army will support the readiness and life balance of reservists by establishing the direction and requirements of employer support initiatives, mechanisms, and resources.
  1. Community Engagement. (DG ARes / DAPA Lead) An armed force in a democracy needs the trust and support of its population in order to succeed. Recent statistics show that support exists but is in jeopardy as Canadians’ knowledge of what the Army does is limited.26 Increasing the public’s understanding of their military is a national security imperative. Given the Canadian Army footprint, it is the face of the CAF across most of the country, and the ARes and CR are often recognized as the face of the Canadian Army in society.
  • The Canadian Army will develop a focused community engagement plan to foster a deeper connection between it and the Canadian public. The plan will define and implement metrics to measure and adjust community engagement efforts. The engagement plan will leverage the benefits that a geographically dispersed force provides in connecting with diverse sections of the Canadian population, including as local infrastructure nodes for the conduct of domestic operations. This plan will also reinforce the relationship between communities and the ARes and CR and their understanding of local dynamics so the Canadian Army can better serve Canadians during domestic operations;
  • The Canadian Army will place particular emphasis on engagement with our Indigenous community neighbors in accordance with the GC Reconciliation principles and the Defence Team Indigenous Affairs strategic framework;
  • Local knowledge is critical to emergency response operations but is very difficult to build during the response. Based on their continuous presence in Canadian communities, ARes members and CR will continue to develop the local relationships, that are critical to ensuring the Canadian Army can protect Canadians at home during their time of need;
  • Honorary Colonels are a crucial component of the Canadian Army team, and a mainstay for connecting to communities. The Canadian Army will continue to build and foster this patriotic cadre. It will increase the efficiency of their nomination process and increase their diversity to allow for better community connection. Through the National Council of Honorary Colonels, and other engagements, the Canadian Army will fully embrace their extensive knowledge and commitment to further and support the vision of the Canadian Army into the future; and,
  • Building on an already strong base, the Canadian Army will continue to develop, manage, and sustain partnerships with academic institutions, including high school co-op programs, to address and improve the well-being and education of our personnel.
  1. Canadian Rangers. (DCR Lead, DLFD Supporting) The Canadian Army will continue to enhance the effectiveness of the CR and conclude the growth instructed in the 2019 MID – Canadian Ranger Patrol Group Growth. The CR, as a sub-component of the ARes, are unique not only in the skills and expertise they bring, but in the locations in which they operate and in their terms of service. This unique nature also presents challenges. By 2025, the CR will be maintained at a sustainable force strength and enabled to force generate to meet Canadian defence requirements.
  • The Canadian Army will enhance the national governance of the CR to ensure dedicated institutional oversight and staff effort for continual improvement;
  • The Canadian Army will review whether CR patrols are effectively distributed in appropriate locations to support continental defence and national resiliency;
  • The Canadian Army will review the role, tasks, staffing, recruiting practices, training requirements, and administrative frameworks necessary to maintain and enhance the effectiveness of the CR, now and into the future. The skills, knowledge, and dispersed presence of the CR will enable their contribution to continental defence. They will provide advance warning within the land domain to anticipate threats, including the rapidly changing conditions associated with climate change. They will also enable the Canadian Army to act in austere and remote environments that rely on their deep connection with the land and with the people who populate it;
  • The Canadian Army will review and update the processes which govern the provision and employment of the equipment necessary for the CR to execute their mission. It will continue to work with defence partners to ensure CR equipment and infrastructure are correctly postured to meet changes and future requirements; and,
  • The final stages of patrol group growth, to be completed in FY 20-21, will retain community consultation and collaboration as core principles for expansion. To enable this growth and enhancement, CRPG command and control structures and personnel employment practices will be reviewed to ensure adequate resourcing, especially for CR instructors and administrative support.
  1. There are six modernization priorities that form this line of effort. The objective is to assure the Canadian Army remains strategically relevant, operationally responsive, and tactically decisive:Force 2025. (DLFD Lead) The Canadian Army’s current force mix and structure is based upon the Force 2013 construct and has evolved with the series of capability integration MIDs that have been published over the past decade. The Canadian Army will use the F2025 project to adapt to changes in the operational environment, technological changes, and doctrinal adaptations. The realignment of Canadian Army force structure and missions will be necessary to invest in new capabilities and, where required, divest others of lesser relative benefit. This will require tough decisions. The Canadian Army requires a revised force structure to provide military options for the GC within the land domain, both above and below the threshold of conflict. The Canadian Army will remain a medium weight force with heavy and light capabilities. However, there are new mission sets for which the Canadian Army must be better organized: Security Force Capability Building, leadership-heavy missions and institutional tasks, operating in multiple theatres concurrently, and tasks requiring enhanced combat support, enablers, and combat service support. Symmetry in our CMBGs between these task sets is not a given.
  • The Canadian Army will validate its ability to generate sufficient forces to meet the mission concurrency requirements in SSE, Force Mix and Structure Design, and the Force Planning and Readiness frameworks;
  • The Canadian Army will make difficult divestment decisions about infrastructure, equipment, structure, and capabilities in order to privilege investment into new projects essential to future operational success. Input will be drawn from across the Canadian Army, including Corps and Branches, based on the direction provided in the F2025 Commander’s Planning Guidance;
  • The Canadian Army must be prepared to house additional joint capabilities as determined by ongoing CAF force development work;
  • To yield the best readiness posture from the One Army team while maintaining high readiness, the Canadian Army will continue to refine mission sets and tasks. Collaborative efforts to develop and integrate ARes Mission Tasks in line with the One Army approach that will add capacity and depth will continue. Every ARes unit will have a predictable Mission Task of specified size, based on their generation potential, and will be integrated with appropriate affiliated Regular Force field units for training and operations;
  • The Canadian Army will re-examine the structure and tasks of the TBGs, ARCGs, and IRUs to ensure compatibility with both the Canadian Army’s and CJOC’s force employment concepts;
  • The Canadian Army must make deliberate determination of capabilities beyond the scope of current investment that are deemed necessary for the future security environment;
  • The Canadian Army will validate the functions, organization, and distribution of land formations, including Canadian Army divisions, brigades, and combat support units, weighing the balance of heavy, medium, and light (including parachute) capabilities; and,
  • The Canadian Army will enable investment that enhances its ability to sustain, inform, and communicate across formations, units, and sub-units dispersed in the operating environment, and across multiple theatres.
  1. Digital Transformation. (COS A Strat Lead) It is imperative for the Canadian Army to keep pace with its allies and stay ahead of adversaries in a digital age. Digital transformation is also more than the digitization of information. Operational success in the pan-domain reality demands an adaptation of not just Canadian Army C4I systems and architecture—it will have structural, procedural, and governance implications related to data management, artificial intelligence, and even how the Canadian Army will field new capabilities, train, and make decisions. It will demand change to culture driven by leaders. The digital sphere implicates processes, practices, and technologies related to the production, storage, processing, dissemination, and exchange of electronic information and data. This process of enabling decision-making through the use of digitized information is digitalization. It implicates all aspects of the Canadian Army enterprise.
  • The Canadian Army will establish a digitalization roadmap, contributing to the development of a command-led digital culture, through education, partnering with industry and allies, the integration of new equipment and systems, and encouraging digital innovation;
  • Information advantage in military operations will be gained through the integration and aggregation of high-quality data from a wide variety of internal and external sources. This can only be achieved through a digital Canadian Army. The One Army team, leaders, and, in particular the soldier, will have access to the data they need to inform decision-making to identify opportunities and improve operational effectiveness at the speed of relevance;
  • The Command Support Integration initiative will develop an overarching strategy to achieve long-term Canadian Army C4ISR vision, nested within the CAF C4 and Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance frameworks. Furthermore, as the Canadian Army’s interoperability with its allies is a high priority, it will ensure close support interoperability is factored at the onset of the Canadian Army capital programme;
  • The Canadian Army will position the Signals Corps to overcome the challenges associated with maintaining a skilled workforce for a digital Canadian Army. This initiative will pursue technological innovations that evolve the delivery of command support capability and optimize the employment of highly-skilled specialists; and,
  • The Canadian Army must complete digitization—the conversion of analog information to digital information. It must embrace the use of digital technologies to transform the way it conducts business, task execution, and operations. This will be achieved by Canadian Army contribution to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff design of the CAF digitization programme and subsequent Canadian Army Digitalization Roadmap. This roadmap will be based on four pillars: Data Management, Data Literacy, Data Tools and Environment, and – most importantly – fostering a Canadian Army Digital Culture.
  1. International Engagement. (DAS Lead) The Canadian Army will contribute to defence engagement and defence diplomacy using a coordinated international engagement programme, taking governmental and departmental priorities into account, to enable the achievement of Canadian defence objectives. The Canadian Army will enhance or maintain army-to-army partnerships, improve interoperability with allies, build common understanding through doctrine or materiel development, and provide access to unique capability development opportunities and training environments.
  • The Canadian Army will achieve an integrated level of interoperability with its ABCANZ partners by 2027, focusing on a Canadian Army brigade in a multinational division and a multinational battle group in a Canadian Army brigade.27 In project design and concept, and doctrine development, the Canadian Army will embed interoperability as a key priority;
  • A guiding principle for all future international engagements will be that of “conscious action,” which indicates that every action or inaction sends a message to partners, allies, and competitors, whether that action was intended or not. The Canadian Army will align messaging related to international engagement with other L1s and higher headquarters to ensure those themes are deliberate, clear, and aligned with strategic narratives, and that there is coherence across all international activities in the Canadian Army. The Canadian Army International Programme and the Canadian Army Engagement Directive (CAED) are the mechanisms through which Commander Canadian Army will direct priorities and messages for all international engagement. The Canadian Army will refresh the CAED annually and publish this document with the operational plan. This initiative aims to improve the allocation of Canadian Army resources toward its international objectives, synchronizing activities across the lines of governance to optimize efficiency within the Canadian Army’s means;
  • The Canadian Army will deepen its relationship with key partners in the Indo-Asia Pacific region by pursuing opportunities for increased instructor exchanges, potential army-to-army staff talks, and training exercises;
  • The Canadian Army will continue to support cross border, low-level exchanges and habitual relationships. The Canadian Army will adjust the exchange, attachment, and liaison programme based on changing factors; and,
  • Through annual assessments, the Canadian Army will realign its exchange and liaison officers (EO and LO) to best achieve the four functional priorities of Canadian Army engagement: enhance Canadian Army influence, gain higher headquarters expertise, enhance tactical expertise, and improve materiel and doctrinal development. It will reenergize its EO/LO program by ensuring that placement and alignment optimize the return on investment for the Canadian Army, including follow-on employment selection. The Canadian Army will also revise its method of selecting EOs and LOs so that personalities, experience, and skill sets factor into posting decisions. Finally, the Canadian Army will improve succession planning such that EOs and LOs assume subsequent postings that capitalize on their newly acquired relationships and knowledge.
  1. Analytics, Performance Management, and Governance. (DAS Lead) Emerging technologies will enable the extraction and analysis of large amounts of diverse, real-time data to provide a common operating picture that has not thus far been possible. The Canadian Army will leverage this capability to both inform its analytical processes and enhance its short- and long-range decision making processes. Key to the success of this series of initiatives is proper data stewardship. Leaders must be selective regarding those that receive access to systems of record, and they must further ensure proper training on these systems.
  • The Canadian Army Digitalization Roadmap will identify and promote Canadian Army Analytics, or the ability to measure, classify, and enable decision-making. New digital tools will enable the Canadian Army to collect, process, analyze, and disseminate data faster and more accurately and will provide decision makers with real-time, transparent, and objective data. The outcome of Canadian Army Analytics will be fully operationalized Army Analytic Support Centres and the proliferation of intuitive data-capture tools to the lowest levels of Canadian Army leadership;
  • Digitalization of Canadian Army Analytics will improve performance management, refining the Canadian Army’s ability to demonstrate accountability for assigned resources and maximum return on investment for the defence dollar. The Canadian Army’s approach to performance management will be informed by analytical approaches to develop objective, evidence-based key performance indicators related to the Canadian Army’s primary components of the Defence Program: Ready Land Forces, Land Force Development, and Land Bases. Analytical tools will be employed to guide the development of a Canadian Army Performance Management Framework that informs decision making by defining key measures of performance and measures of effectiveness for all Canadian Army activities;
  • Analytics and the Performance Management Framework will enhance the Canadian Army Governance Cycle. Restructuring access to information and predictive analytics will provide the right decision support products to leaders at the right time, allowing the Canadian Army to streamline its governance processes and adapt its operating concept to changes driven by institutional and operational imperatives. The Canadian Army Governance Framework will be revitalized, ensuring strong connective links between Canadian Army Force Development, Force Support, Force Management, and Force Generation and promoting the most efficient and effective means for providing guidance for Canadian Army activities; and,
  • The Canadian Army will also focus on the establishment and data migration of specific areas of the Army programme such as environmental management and land use to strengthen compliance and the application of lessons.
  1. Research and Development. (COS A Strat Lead) The CA is responsible to provide, in close cooperation with ADM(DRDC), its priorities for science, technology, and innovation efforts in support of this modernization strategy. This effort will be applied across all horizons, ranging from the exploring to 25 years in the future to inform force development, to the exploitation of innovation programmes for concrete effect for current force generation, management, support and employment of land forces. From Close Engagement and current doctrine, the Canadian Army has derived seven themes to provide focus for the ongoing prioritization of this work:
  • Anticipate the Future Land Operating Environment (Anticipate). Force development efforts must be directed and shaped by understanding of the future environment within which land forces will operate. This includes not only an understanding of the human and physical environments, but also of the informational and broader technological potentialities that may disrupt operations and other activities. The Canadian Army will need to understand the technical and tactical developments taking place amongst its partners and, critically, within its potential adversaries;
  • Understand the Current Land Operating Environment (UNDERSTAND). While much has been made of the exponential increase in information and pervasive access thereto, there remains the challenge of making sense of it in order to allow the making of informed and timely decisions. Sensors and their feeds have proliferated and a concerted effort is required to connect, integrate, assess, and aggregate the resultant unprocessed information. Further, while our understanding will always be flawed, incomplete, and subject to enemy action, we must develop the tools to rapidly extrapolate and understand information reliability in order to take time-constrained tactical decisions;
  • Maximize Soldier and Group Performance (MAXIMIZE). The Canadian Army is a soldier-centric organization. Success on operations depends on the ability to out-perform adversaries at the individual, team, and unit level. Strengthening individual and team training and unit performance requires a human-centric design that considers equipment and development, including training, from a pragmatic and outcome-oriented perspective;
  • Enhance Weapons’ Effects (EFFECT). Land force effects depend upon factors which include: range, precision, lethality, and versatility, including the ability to deliver non-lethal or otherwise complimentary effects. Whether dispersed or concentrated, a land force may need to mass these effects in time and space to engage a distinct target with considerable accuracy. The ability to apply lethal and non-lethal force has both a local and broader deterrent effect;
  • Enhance Soldier Survivability (SURVIVE). Soldiers trust the Canadian Army to provide acceptable protection capability. Soldiers face a variety of hazards. Preventing and mitigating the range of physical and environmental threats requires a human-centric approach to how soldiers are prepared, supported, and equipped for future operations;
  • Enhance Sustainment of Land and Joint Forces (SUSTAIN). All environments depend, in some degree, upon land forces to sustain their operations. Not only must the Canadian Army consider sustainment from the outset, but it must consider how to reduce demand and the load upon its sustainment system. To be an agile and adaptable force, land forces cannot rely upon the lengthy build-up of sustainment in advance of operations. Rather they must be prepared to operate in a fully contested space with minimal preparation while mitigating risk through informed prediction and responsiveness; and,
  • Enhance Force Generation (GENERATE). Generation of Canadian Army forces starts with selection and initial institutionalization of soldiers to deepening talent and capabilities, to a final honing of tactical, physical and cognitive abilities. The Canadian Army has a distributed and diverse training capability to support this development. Ensuring the future generation requires preservation of this training capacity while integrating growing simulation capacity in order to meet the demands and requirements of the future operating environment.
  • Exploiting Potential Disruptive Technologies. To remain relevant, the Canadian Army will continue to “scan the horizon” for emerging and disruptive technologies and their potential effects upon land operations, and it will continue to look for points at which they may be integrated. Some areas for ongoing and even deeper investigation include:
    • Space. After having been using space for over 60 years, we have become increasingly reliant upon access to space resources for communications, sensing, and our own precision navigation and timing. Our understanding of both friendly and adversary use of space and the effects upon land operations must be embedded into many of our processes;
    • Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS). Autonomous systems can already perform many dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks but also have incredible potential to expand their utility, including their ability to operate collaboratively with humans creating a system in which the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. The requirement for a human in or on “the loop” will remain for any application of lethal force but their utility to assist with sensing and sustaining are already apparent;
    • Cyber. Information technology is being embedded and integrated into every aspect of both our personal and military lives forming an “internet of things.” This creates not only opportunities but also critical vulnerabilities that must be actively mitigated from the inception. Every soldier must be educated and trained to protect capabilities from adversaries who will constantly probe and exploit vulnerabilities;
    • Artificial Intelligence (AI). While COS A Strat will enable the institution through an increasingly deliberate approach to amassing data and exploiting it to make decisions, it is the Canadian Army’s responsibility to examine the potential of AI and machine data to transform some aspects of land operations, including exploiting data and information to produce intelligence and predictive modelling to support decision-making; and,
    • Pervasive Information Environment. Through increased access, connectivity and collaboration between humans, knowledge is increasing at an exponential rate. This connectivity has allowed communities across the globe to aggregate for both good and ill intentions – the Canadian Army must understand this environment, which can be used by organizations and global reach to affect not only our operational environment, but, for some adversaries, to attack Canadians and Canadian society, including our soldiers.
  1. Capital Investment. (COS A Strat Lead) The requirement to win in close combat precedes all other requirements, today and into the future. With specific light and heavy capabilities, the Canadian Army is predominantly a medium-weight force equipped with the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) 6 family of vehicles that will serve as its core manoeuvre platform beyond Build 2 - Force 2030. The preponderance of the LAV family of vehicles offers the Canadian Army’s motorized capability efficiency, flexibility, and operational effectiveness. However, key investments must continue to be made to ensure it remains both combat-capable and relevant. Light forces as previously described offer strategic and operational agility, along with the ability to build partner capacity. However this has not been fully realized and requires investment. The Canadian Army’s heavy capability is not only essential to meeting treaty obligations but, importantly, is the means to enabling combat-effective medium-weight forces and the preservation of close combat manoeuvre expertise. Continued capital investment is vital, and procurement must become much more agile. The Canadian Army will pursue procurement initiatives that will field more timely—and thus more relevant—capabilities, even if this results in asymmetry across the force. Five capital acquisition priorities and practical divestment will drive the Canadian Army modernization including:
  • The Network. The Network of a digital Army is the backbone of everything we do. It is how we communicate, how we inform decisions, how we share and how we mitigate risks to force and mission across the pan-domain reality of our operating environment. This priority demands the Canadian Army innovate and contribute to the adaptive development culture that will assure sustained military advantage over time. Signature capital investment within C4ISR systems include:
    • Joint Fires Modernization;
    • Tactical Command and Control Information Systems Modernization;
    • Land Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Modernization;
    • Tactical Communications Modernization;
    • Combined Joint Intelligence Modernization; and,
    • Joint Deployable Headquarters and Signals Regiment Modernization.
  • The Soldier. Signature capital investments to enable the Soldier include:
    • Soldier Operational Clothing and Equipment Modernization;
    • Night Vision Systems Modernization;
    • Cycle 3 of the Integrated Soldier System Programme;
    • Light Forces Enhancement;
    • Canadian Modular Assault Rifle; and,
    • Tactical Parachute System Modernization.
  • Protection. The mitigation of risk to force remains an essential tenet to assuring mission success. Signature capital investments to enable Protection include:
    • Ground Based Air Defence;
    • Canadian Forces Land Electronic Warfare Modernization;
    • Light Armoured Vehicle Specialist Variant Enhancement;
    • Counter-Unattended Aerial Systems (Micro and Mini);
    • Indirect Fire Modernization;
    • Anti-Tank Guided Missile;
    • Advanced IED Detect and Defeat; and,
    • Tank Life Extension.
  • The Integrated Training Environment. The Canadian Army will better exploit technology in the integrated training environment to train individuals and collective force elements and will evolve frameworks for training confirmation and validation. The ability to pursue these initiatives is highly dependent on the success of those ventures listed under the Network. Signature projects will include:
    • Weapons Effects Simulation Modernization;
    • Land Vehicle Crew Training Systems; and,
    • Unit Weapons Training Systems.
  • Combat Enablers. Signature capital investments for pan-domain combat enablers include the spectrum of capabilities that sustain, assure freedom of action, and provide combat resilience. Capital investments include:
    • Logistics Vehicle Modernization;
    • Light Utility Vehicle;
    • Domestic and Arctic Mobility;
    • Bridge and Gap Crossing Modernization;
    • Griffon Limited Life Extension (GLLE);
    • Long-Range Precision Fires;
    • Enhanced Recovery Capability; and,
    • Common Heavy Equipment Replacement.
  • Divestment. The Canadian Army has a long tradition of retaining capability even when divestment processes have been initiated. The Army of the Future must invest in new capability areas but can only do so by eliminating past capabilities. This will require disciplined execution of nationally-coordinated divestment to ensure unplanned risks to programmes—in particular, National Procurement funding—are not accrued. On occasion, divestment will occur before a capability replacement is in service. With the fielding of new platforms and equipment in Build 1: 2020-2025, the Canadian Army will assure disciplined divestment including:
    • Manoeuvre platforms: Light Armoured Vehicle LAV II platforms (Bison and Coyote), and remaining LAV III platforms not upgraded to LAV 6.0;
    • Logistics Support Vehicles: the remaining Medium Logistic Vehicle Wheeled; Logistic Support Vehicle Wheeled, Heavy Logistics Vehicle Wheeled, Armoured Heavy Support Vehicle System, Heavy Engineer Support Vehicle and miscellaneous engineer heavy equipment and load handling equipment;
    • BV-206, once the Domestic Arctic Mobility Enhancement project fields; and,
    • As new capability comes on line, the Canadian Army will be disciplined about divestment of older equipment that sustains a National Procurement burden. This includes obsolete night vision devices, a range of gas and diesel-powered generators, water trailers, and water purification systems.

The Canadian Army will coordinate, synchronize, and direct the implementation of modernization initiatives through the Canadian Army business planning (BP) cycle. The BP cycle allocates resources to subordinate headquarters to execute assigned activities and recurs annually, covering a 24-month period. Its main product, the Canadian Army operating plan (Op Plan), will include current updates of all implementation directives as annexes.

The activities, gateways, and milestones directed in those annexes will be detailed and synchronised within the Op Plan’s Integrated Task Matrix (ITM). The ITM builds upon traditional groupings and task matrices but allocates resources for each activity. It further details expected outcomes and indicators of performance. This matrix will provide situational awareness of milestone completion. The Canadian Army will amend resources and milestone dates in subsequent Op Plans, as necessary.

The BP cycle, using the ITM to manage task allocation and performance, is the means whereby the Canadian Army will achieve its modernization end-states.

Although no single line of effort outweighs another in terms of priority, the Canadian Army’s main effort will remain the training, equipping, and preparation for combat in the context of the evolving security environment. This focus on the most difficult manifestation of the Canadian Army’s role gives it the discipline, agility, robustness, and confidence to conduct the vast array of less demanding but more likely operations.

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The Canadian Army must evolve to meet the demands of a rapidly-changing operating environment. It must adapt its MRP to retain readiness for longer periods, and it must structure itself for pan-domain operations through the F2025 project.

This strategy is a necessary step to achieve the vision articulated in Close Engagement. At the conclusion of its expected lifespan in 2025, this strategy will have postured the Canadian Army with a more relevant force structure, making it better able to provide a range of land power options for multiple concurrent operations. Its soldiers and units will be better equipped, trained, and prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. Finally, it will be more adaptive and better able to pivot to new challenges in the uncertain future ahead.

The rapidity with which the geopolitical environment is now changing requires an immediate adjustment to course. Great power competition is a serious consideration for defence policy-makers. The mandate for the Canadian Army to conduct operations in a pan-domain environment in support of policy objectives has not changed, but the manner in which it delivers land power will require novel and creative solutions. Moving forward, the Canadian Army must nest its doctrine with joint concepts, explore the ways in which land power can shape and support pan-domain operations, and align with the foundational principles of modernization.

Interstate competition is now the primary concern of the operating environment. However, many current challenges, like violent extremism and climate change, will remain extant and may increase in severity. The Canadian Army must organize for pan-domain operations and learn how to apply land power across a variety of environments and operations while ensuring it retains the ability to defeat a pacing threat force in land combat. The Canadian Army must retain what it has learned and apply these lessons creatively. In this context, the Canadian Army will continue to work alongside its allies and partners to achieve objectives.

The key characteristics of the future force will be its corps of professional soldiers, agility, and medium-weight structure with light and heavy augmentation. The combined arms team is the Canadian Army’s vital ground with its junior- and mid-level leaders as its centre of gravity. Over the course of the next five years, the Canadian Army will become a more unified force with the Regular and Reserve forces proportionately contributing to operational tasks and the CR better able to help ensure Canada’s sovereignty at its extremities. Notably, land power will be a key factor in continental defence and national sovereignty.

The Canadian Army will nest its modernization plan within key joint and operational frameworks. Close Engagement will inform decisions on how the Canadian Army will train, fight, and equip in the future. Five foundational principles will serve to guide Canadian Army efforts: digitalization; One Army; interoperability; simplicity; and being adaptive and dispersed operations ready. Underpinning this modernization framework is the aim to reduce the operational risk to the force while managing the inherent financial risk. This foundation will enable the specific changes that the Canadian Army must make to remain competitive in the future.

The Canadian Army will orient its modernization efforts along four lines of effort: posture for concurrency; human dimension; One Army integration; and priority initiatives. These lines of effort will enable the Canadian Army to fulfill its mandate as specified in the DRF. Successive annual operation plans will designate yearly objectives along each of these lines of effort to ensure that the Canadian Army meets its five-year end state.

The specifics dictated in this strategy may need revision in the short-term as the strategic situation changes. The guidance here, however, will initiate movement in the right direction. The Canadian Army cannot afford to become complacent with the current force structure and doctrinal mindset. It must always be looking to the future, anticipating challenges and finding solutions to them in order to best serve Canada.

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  • ABCANZ Australia, Britain, Canada, America, New Zea land
  • ADC Army Doctrine Centre
  • ADM(IE) Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment)
  • ADM(POL) Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy)
  • ADM(DRDC) Assistant Deputy Minister (Defence Research and Development Canada)
  • ADO Adaptive Dispersed Operations
  • ARes Army Reserve
  • AST Army Staff Talk


  • BG Battle Group
  • BP Business planning


  • C2 Command and control
  • C4I Command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence
  • CADTC Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre
  • CAED Canadian Army Engagement Directive
  • CAF Canadian Armed Forces
  • CAIP Canadian Army International Programme
  • CALWC Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre
  • CBRN Chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear
  • CCSB Canadian Combat Support Brigade
  • CDS Chief of the Defence Staff
  • CF H Svcs Gp Canadian Forces Health Services Group
  • CIS Computer Information Systems
  • CJOC Canadian Joint Operations Centre
  • CMBG Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
  • CoG Centre of Gravity
  • COS A Ops Chief of Staff-Army, Operations
  • COS A Strat Chief of Staff-Army, Strategy
  • CPG Commander’s planning guidance
  • CR Canadian Rangers
  • CRPG Canadian Ranger Patrol Group


  • DAPA Directorate of Army Public Affairs
  • DAS Directorate of Army Staff
  • DCR Director, Canadian Rangers
  • DG Director General
  • DLCI Director Land Command and Information
  • DLFD Directorate of Land Force Development
  • DND Department of National Defence
  • DOMOPS Domestic Operations
  • DPRK Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea
  • DRF Departmental Results Framework


  • EO Exchange officer
  • EU European Union


  • F2025 Force 2025
  • FMSD Force Mix and Structure Design
  • FY Fiscal year


  • GAC Global Affairs Canada
  • GC Government of Canada


  • IAP Indo-Asia Pacific
  • IED Improvised explosive device
  • IO Information Operations
  • IPME Informal Professional Military Education
  • IRU Immediate Reaction Unit
  • ISR Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
  • ITM Integrated Task Matrix


  • JCBRND Joint Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, and Nuclear Defence
  • JCET Joint Counter Explosive Threat
  • JIMP Joint, Interagency, Multinational, and Public


  • LAV Light armored vehicle
  • LO Liaison officer


  • MID Master Implementation Directive
  • MILPERSCOM Military Personnel Command
  • MRC Managed Readiness Cycle
  • MRP Managed Readiness Plan


  • NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
  • NCO Non-commissioned officer
  • NMI NATO Mission in Iraq


  • PSTC Peace Support Training Centre


  • SGSD Structured and Guided Self-Development
  • SOF Special Operations Forces
  • SSE Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy
  • StAR Strengthening the Army Reserve


  • TBG Territorial Battalion Group
  • TTP Tactics, techniques, and procedures


  • UN United Nations
  • US United States of America


  • VG Vital Ground

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Adaptability – The ability to adjust to new conditions.

Agility – The ability to redirect swiftly.

Army of Today – The timeframe of the Army Capability Development model that sees the Canadian Army from years 0-5.

Army of Tomorrow – The timeframe of the Army Capability Development Model that sees the Canadian Army from years 5-15.


Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre – A concept development organization nested under the COS A Strat line of governance. CALWC defines the operating concepts and capability requirements for future land operations to inform and support the ongoing development of the Army. The organization is responsible to anticipate change, conceive the Army of the Future, design the Army of Tomorrow, inform capability integration, and conduct interoperability coordination.

Canadian Army Training and Doctrine Centre – The Canadian Army line of governance that contributes to land warfare intellectual development and leads land operations training for the Army and Canadian Armed Forces. CADTC is responsible for the supervision, integration resourcing and delivery of land operations training at the Combat Training Centre, Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre, Canadian Army Command and Staff College, and across the country in the Canadian Army Divisions.

Centre of Gravity – A source of strength or power. Centres of gravity may be considered characteristics, capabilities, or localities from which a nation, an alliance, a military force, or other grouping derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight.

Close Combat – One of the Canadian Army’s two core competencies, close combat comprises those combat operations conducted within range of direct fire weapon systems; it is essential for success in the operating environment and underpins all other activities.

Close Engagement – One of the Canadian Army’s two core competencies, close engagement is the ability to conduct both lethal and non-lethal activities at the tactical level to create effects that have influence across the physical, moral, and cognitive planes within the operating environment and is necessary for success in a campaign.

Combat Team – A sub-unit size force made up of mechanized infantry and tanks.

Combined Arms Team – A sub-unit size force made up of two or more elements or arms.

Connectivity – The product of networked communications and an integrated and pervasive data environment.

Core Competencies – The Canadian Army has two core competencies: Close combat and close engagement.

COS A Ops – The Canadian Army line of governance that is responsible for force generation oversight, personnel management, sustainment, and safety.

COS A Strat – The Canadian Army line of governance that is responsible for force development. COS A Strat enables the Canadian Army to build readiness by closing capability gaps and enabling modernization.

Cyberspace – The element of the operational environment that consists of interdependent networks of information technology structures—including the internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, embedded processors and controllers—as well as the software and data that reside within them.


Digitalization – The use of digital information and digital technologies to entirely transform operational and institutional processes by evaluating, reengineering and reimagining the way an organization does routine business. It entails the adaptation of digitized information to decision-making processes through collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination.

Digitization – The conversion of analog information to digital information.

Domain – A major division within the military environment where specific activities, influence, and knowledge are applied. Domains are delineated by both physical and non-physical characteristics.


Future Army – The timeframe of the Army Capability Development Model that sees the Canadian Army from years 15-30.


Hybrid Threat – A threat consisting of a combination of regular and irregular forces, or a single regular or irregular force using a combination of regular or irregular tactics, combined in pursuit of a common objective.


Integration of the Regular and Reserve Forces – Integration occurs when Regular and Reserve components are mutually supporting. Together they provide sustained land power in sufficient mass to successfully conduct concurrency of operations. Through development of F2025, the Canadian Army will define how and when the Regular and Reserve components will train and work together to produce integrated Army outputs.

Interoperability – The Canadian Army seeks interoperability with allies and partners to better secure success on operations. The Canadian Army recognizes three levels of interoperability: de-conflicted, compatible, and integrated. De-conflicted integration exists when forces can co-exist but do not interact together. Compatible integration denotes circumstances where forces are able to interact in the same geographic area in pursuit of a common goal. Integrated interoperability occurs when forces are able to merge seamlessly and are interchangeable.


Land Power – The capability to generate and employ combat power on land. Land power is an essential component of the legitimate application of force in support of a nation’s strategic aims.


MILPERSCOM – Military Personnel Command provides functional direction and guidance to the Canadian Armed Forces on all matters pertaining to the management of military personnel. Key tasks of MILPERSCOM include: recruit, train and educate, prepare, support, honour and recognize military personnel and their families for service to Canada; develop and implement strategies, policies and programs that foster and maintain the profession of arms as an honourable and desirable career; monitor compliance with CAF personnel management policies and be accountable for the CAF Personnel System; and eliminate harmful and inappropriate behaviour in the CAF.


Operation LASER – Operation LASER is the CAF’s response to a worldwide pandemic situation. During Operation LASER, the CAF implemented certain measures on their personnel and DND employees to reduce the impacts of a pandemic situation. These measures are implemented in order to maintain operational capabilities and readiness to support Government of Canada objectives and requests for assistance.

Operation IMPACT – Operation IMPACT is Canada’s military contribution to its whole-of-government strategy to address the instability caused by Da’esh in the Middle East. In April 2019, Canada renewed this strategy until 31 March 2021, investing an additional $1.39 billion in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanaon.

Operation NABERIUS – Operation NABERIUS is a military training mission in Niger. Under this mission, the CAF is training the Forces armées nigériennes. Global Affairs Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program funds this training. The CAF sends a training team of up to 50 members to Niger per year from the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

Operation REASSURANCE – Operation REASSURANCE is the CAF mission in Latvia. The CAF offered assistance to NATO on 17 April 2014. At any time, there can be up to 915 CAF members deployed on Op REASSURANCE, making it Canada’s largest current international military operation. It includes approximately 240 sailors onboard a frigate, 540 soldiers leading a NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group (eFP BG), and 135 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and approximately five CF-188 Hornet aircraft participating in NATO enhanced Air Policing.

Operation UNIFIER – Operation UNIFIER is the CAF mission to support the Security Forces of Ukraine (SFU). The operation’s focus is to assist with security force training. This will help them improve and build their capability and capacity. The CAF coordinates its efforts with the U.S. and other countries that support in the same way. Military training is one part of Canada’s overall support to Ukraine. Canada sends a group of about 200 CAF members to Ukraine. The CAF will remain in Ukraine until 2022. More than 17,310 SFU candidates have participated in the training provided via 403 course serials spanning all lines of effort since the start of the mission in September 2015. The CAF’s primary focus in Ukraine is to build the SFU’s capacities to enable enduring reforms.


Sub-Threshold Activities – Operations or activities that are competitive in nature and seek to achieve military or political objectives but that fall short of physical violence.


Vital Ground – Ground of such importance that it must be retained or controlled for the success of the mission.

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  1. Director of Army Staff, Advancing with Purpose: The Army Strategy (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2014), 19.
  2. Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Samuel B. Griffith (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 125.
  3. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Canada’s Future Army, Volume 2: Force Employment Implications (Kingston: Army Publishing Office, 2015), 38-39.
  4. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Close Engagement – Land Power in an Age of Uncertainty – Evolving Adaptive Dispersed Operations (Kingston: Army Publishing Office), 19.
  5. Operation REASSURANCE is the CAF mission in Latvia. The CAF offered assistance to NATO on 17 April 2014. At any time, there can be up to 915 CAF members deployed on Operation REASSURANCE, making it Canada’s largest current international military operation. It includes approximately 240 sailors onboard a frigate, 540 soldiers leading a NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group (eFP BG), and 135 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and approximately five CF-188 Hornet aircraft participating in NATO enhanced Air Policing.
  6. Operation UNIFIER is the CAF mission to support the Security Forces of Ukraine (SFU). The operation’s focus is to assist with security force training. This will help them improve and build their capability and capacity. The CAF coordinates its efforts with the U.S. and other countries that support in the same way. Military training is one part of Canada’s overall support to Ukraine. Canada sends a group of about 200 CAF members to Ukraine. The CAF will remain in Ukraine until 2022. More than 17,310 SFU candidates have participated in the training provided via 403 course serials spanning all lines of effort since the start of the mission in September 2015. The CAF’s primary focus in Ukraine is to build the SFU’s capacities to enable enduring reforms.
  7. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Canada’s Future Army, Volume 2: Force Employment Implications (Kingston: Army Publishing Office, 2015), 21.
  8. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Canada’s Future Army, Volume 2: Force Employment Implications (Kingston: Army Publishing Office, 2015), 35.
  9. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Northern Approaches: The Army Arctic Concept 2021 (Kingston: Army Publishing Office, 2013), 6.
  10. Operation IMPACT is Canada’s military contribution to its whole-of-government strategy to address the instability caused by Da’esh in the Middle East. In April 2019, Canada renewed this strategy until 31 March 2021, investing an additional $1.39 billion in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.
  11. Operation NABERIUS is a military training mission in Niger. Under this mission, the CAF is training the Forces armées nigériennes (FAN). Global Affairs Canada’s (GAC) Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program (CTCBP) funds this training. The CAF sends a training team of up to 50 members to Niger per year from the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.
  12. Steve Maguire, “Making the Case for Land Power,” Wavell Room: Contemporary British Military Thought (January 30, 2020),
  13. Operation LASER is the CAF’s response to a worldwide pandemic situation. During Operation LASER, the CAF implemented certain measures on their personnel and DND employees to reduce the impacts of a pandemic situation. These measures are implemented in order to maintain operational capabilities and readiness to support Government of Canada objectives and requests for assistance.
  14. Department of National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2017), 36.
  15. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Close Engagement – Land Power in an Age of Uncertainty – Evolving Adaptive Dispersed Operations (Kingston: Army Publishing Office), 23.
  16. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Close Engagement – Land Power in an Age of Uncertainty – Evolving Adaptive Dispersed Operations (Kingston: Army Publishing Office), 23.
  17. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Canada’s Future Army, Volume 1: Methodology, Perspectives and Approaches (Kingston: Army Publishing Office, 2015), 18.
  18. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Close Engagement – Land Power in an Age of Uncertainty – Evolving Adaptive Dispersed Operations (Kingston: Army Publishing Office), 59.
  19. Department of National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2017), 59.
  20. Department of National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2017), 63-82.
  21. Department of National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2017), 82.
  22. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Close Engagement – Land Power in an Age of Uncertainty – Evolving Adapted Dispersed Operations (Kingston: Army Publishing Office), 32-33.
  23. Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre, Close Engagement – Land Power in an Age of Uncertainty – Evolving Adapted Dispersed Operations (Kingston: Army Publishing Office), 16.
  24. Department of National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2017), 75.
  25. Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).
  26. “Views of the Canadian Armed Forces 2018 Tracking Study: Executive Summary,” (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2018), 2.
  27. The Canadian Army seeks interoperability with allies and partners to better secure success on operations. The Canadian Army recognizes three levels of interoperability: de-conflicted, compatible, and integrated. De-conflicted integration exists when forces can co-exist but do not interact together. Compatible integration denotes circumstances where forces are able to interact in the same geographic area in pursuit of a common goal. Integrated interoperability occurs when forces are able to merge seamlessly and are interchangeable.

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