We want to hear from you
In the context of the changed global security environment, Budget 2022 announced a defence policy review to allow Canada to update its existing defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE). Since then, the Defence Team has been reviewing the Canadian Armed Forces’ size, capabilities, roles and responsibilities, to ensure that our defence policy fully reflects the accelerating and intensifying threats that have come to the fore.
The geopolitical landscape since the launch of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged has changed. While the emerging and existing threats in the global security environment that were identified in SSE largely remain the same, they have intensified and accelerated over the last few years at an unprecedented rate. The fundamentals of SSE remain sound and the goals of strong at home, secure in North America and engaged abroad are more relevant than ever. The core missions of the CAF remain, and our ongoing investments to prioritize people and renew core platforms continue to be applicable and essential. However, our approach to the objectives outlined in SSE needs to be revised to account for the accelerating and intensifying threats that were identified in SSE – rapidly accelerating climate change, more sophisticated cyber threats, Russia and China’s increasing military modernization, and Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, to name a few. This changed security environment has brought about a series of challenges that must be addressed in Canada’s Defence Policy Update.
- To ensure Canada remains secure in an increasingly dangerous world, our defence capabilities must address the changes that we are seeing, to be in line with those of our adversaries and Allies.
- The nature of warfare is rapidly evolving, including a broader spectrum of threats to Canada, involving the use of new, advanced technologies such as AI and cyber.
- Economic and institutional challenges are presenting challenges to the CAF’s readiness, including its ability to recruit.
- The CAF is increasingly being called upon to respond to natural disasters, accelerated by climate change, just as international demands are increasing.
- Key programs – procurement, sustainment, infrastructure, and information technology – are under strain.
- Allies are responding by investing in new capabilities and are eager to see greater Canadian contributions to international peace and stability.
Cognizant of these challenges, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) and the Minister of National Defence have been moving forward on a number of key defence and security initiatives over the past year to lay the foundation for the Defence Policy Update, and to ensure that Canada remains prepared to meet any threat. These initiatives include: a robust plan to modernize NORAD and bolster our continental defence, over $8 billion in new defence spending in Budget 2022 to increase the capacity of the Canadian Armed Forces, support our members, and promote culture change, the extension of Operation UNIFIER, over $1 billion in military aid for Ukraine and an Indo-Pacific strategy containing four new defence and security initiatives backed by $500 million. At the core of this work are the people who make up our Canadian Armed Forces. That is why DND/CAF have also been moving forward on the Independent External Comprehensive Review’s 48 recommendations for reform to change the culture in DND/CAF, as well as on its new retention strategy, reconstitution directive and a series of other new initiatives to improve recruitment.
To fully address the challenges presented by the changed global security environment, however, the update to Strong, Secure, Engaged needs to achieve:
- Increased CAF readiness by ensuring there are enough trained and supported Armed Forces personnel, with the right equipment and with safe and effective infrastructure;
- Increased CAF resilience by ensuring that the Canadian Armed Forces are better sustained, can operate across several domains of conflict, and are digitalized and networked for the information age;
- Increased CAF relevance globally and domestically to ensure that our Canadian Armed Forces are making the highest impact to the missions that matter most to Canada, and in which Canada can contribute most effectively.
Building on the extensive, multi-year consultations that DND/CAF undertook to inform Strong, Secure, Engaged, as well as its consultations with a wide range of partners in the lead-up to the release of Canada’s NORAD modernization plan, DND/CAF have been engaging with stakeholders through a variety of fora to help inform its Defence Policy Update. This includes through the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) network, the Defence Industry Advisory Group and the Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre (SMSRC). Conversations from these engagements have confirmed our understanding of some key policy and security challenges, and provided invaluable insight into our path forward on the DPU. Similar conversations have also been occurring on a multilateral basis with our closest Allies abroad. Based on these existing engagements, DND/CAF has identified the strategic outcomes that an updated defence policy can pursue, and the supporting pillars that could help us achieve them. We also identified some key questions related to each pillar that need to be addressed.
Over the coming months, DND/CAF will hold a series of in-person and virtual engagements on these strategic outcomes, supporting pillars and the path forward of the DPU with a broad range of partners and stakeholders. These include industry, academia, Parliamentarians, other government departments, Indigenous partners, other levels of government, and international Allies and partners. International fora - such as the NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting – provide excellent opportunities for such discussions to occur. DND/CAF will also discuss opportunities relating to an integrated North American collaborative defence supply chain and the Munitions Supply Program in the coming weeks.
Submissions will be accepted from March 9 to April 30, 2023 through the form below. Submissions will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Should there be additional questions or areas of discussions required from our analysts, they will contact you directly. Due to the volume of submissions, we will not be able to respond to each one directly. However, we will be publishing a summary of the themes and concepts that were heard after the policy update is completed.
We are looking for your input on the following objectives and questions:
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