Operationalizing Canada’s new Defence Policy - Defence Plan 2018-2023

Operationalizing Canada’s new Defence Policy


  1. This Defence Plan is issued following the publication of Canada’s Defence Policy - Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE). SSE is a long-term, fully costed defence policy that has Defence personnel and their families at its core. It spells out a new vision for defence – one where Canada is strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world. The policy also includes a framework for how Defence will implement that vision. “Anticipate, Adapt and Act” sets out a way of operating that addresses the challenges Defence faces today, and the ones that will emerge tomorrow.
  2. The Defence Plan outlines the resources and Horizon 1 (1-5 years) activities required to operationalize the Government of Canada’s Defence Policy. Significant work is underway to issue and update key foundational documents including but not limited to the Investment Plan and its associated Organizational Project Management Capability Assessment, the Defence Team Human Resource Strategy, the Canadian National Military Strategy, the Force Posture and Readiness Directive, the Integrated Risk Management Policy & Guidelines and the Departmental Results Framework. Focussed on the implementation of SSE, these documents must be synchronized and viewed together with the Defence Plan to inform a complete, strategic perspective of Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) moving forward. Over the next year the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) will undertake a complete review of Plans and Reports in order to better consolidate Departmental direction and this Defence Plan will be updated as required to reflect any changes or enhancements resulting from the review.
  3. Defence Plan 2018-2023 lays out the foundation for SSE implementation during Horizon 1 by setting priorities and synchronizing and resourcing Defence activities through the business planning process and performance management framework, and it sets the conditions for continued success in Horizon 2 (5-10 years) and Horizon 3 (10-20 years). From an integrated resource allocation perspective, the Defence Plan will include resource allocation for both financial and human resources. In concert with the Force Planning & Readiness (FP&R) directive, it will align human resource management, including the Regular Force, the Reserve Force and the Civilian Workforce as part of the Defence Team, within a single planning process, and support the specific direction in FP&R that prioritizes growth areas in order to meet concurrent SSE operational commitments. DND will continue to resource plan over a 3-year window. However, given the five year direction contained in this Defence Plan, Level 1 (L1) Business Plans submitted to the VCDS must include a 5 year view of their SSE implementation plans starting with the 2019-20 cycle in order to ensure coordination of activities and implementation of SSE initiatives.

Policy guidance

  1. SSE is the Government of Canada (GC) policy direction that articulates the strategic vision of the DND/CAF. It spells out in precise terms what Defence must accomplish to succeed in an unpredictable and complex security environment. It allocates the human, materiel and financial resources that will enable Defence to conduct that evolution and succeed. The articulation of CAF’s eight core missions is a critical element of the policy which will drive the evolution of the CAF. Evolving the CAF through the design of a Force Structure capable of meeting the directed concurrency of operations must be constantly at the forefront. DND/CAF needs to ensure that it has a Defence Team comprised of the right force mix, representative of the Canadian population and values, with the required skill sets and equipped with the right capabilities. It must be supported by updated and resourced personnel policies, tailored to reflect our relatively small size, that ensure that the Defence Team is thriving in an environment that promotes total health and wellness through their entire life, and which is inclusive of military families.
  2. Through SSE, the GC has indicated it will increase defence spending over ten years from $18.9 billion to $32.7 billion in 2026-27, with a total increase of $62.3 billion in new funding over twenty years. The new initiatives and activities listed in SSE support the new vision for Defence introduced by government, and their successful implementation is critical to the delivery of this policy. In delivering the Defence Services Program (DSP), DND/CAF cannot afford to initiate lower priority activities for which no resources have been allocated as this would hinder the successful implementation of SSE. To that effect, L1s will align internally their efforts and resources to the execution of SSE, and divest those activities which do not support it. The introduction of the Departmental Results Framework (DRF) on 1 April 2018 will clearly identify the results expected and the indicators that will be used to measure the complete delivery of the DSP. Significant work remains to be accomplished through winter 2017/18 to ensure that the DRF enables the measurement of progress.
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