Minister's Message - DPR - 2014-15

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP - Minister of National Defence

As Minister of National Defence, I am honoured to present to Parliament the Departmental Performance Report for 2014-15.

This report, for obvious reasons, reflects the work of the Defence Team prior to my appointment as Minister of National Defence.

The new government’s commitment to support and invest in the Defence Team is steadfast. My overarching goal as Minister of National Defence is to ensure Canada’s military is stronger and more agile, with modern and effective capabilities. To meet our obligation to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), I will work to strengthen partnerships between Defence and Veterans Affairs.

Canadians have tremendous pride in the service of the CAF. In October 2014, we were reminded of the risks faced by CAF members following the attacks on Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Corporal Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa. In March 2015, we mourned the loss of Sergeant Andrew Doiron, who was killed in Iraq.

The CAF has a long history of exemplary service, from combat missions, to peace operations, to disaster relief. During the 2014-15 reporting period, Canada marked the centennial of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War, commemorating the sacrifices of generations of Canadians. Canadians can be confident that the CAF will continue to carry out its mandate to defend Canada and North America, and to make meaningful contributions to international security with pride and dedication.

The rapidly changing geopolitical environment in Europe and the Middle East reinforces the importance of cooperation in maintaining international security and stability. In response to Russian aggression against Ukraine, the CAF supported North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe by contributing to training and exercise activities in the region as part of Operation REASSURANCE. Canada also donated non-lethal military equipment and supplies and increased capacity-building assistance to Ukrainian military personnel.

In August 2014, the CAF undertook Operation IMPACT as Canada’s contribution to the Middle East Stabilization Force - the multinational coalition to degrade the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) capabilities in the Republic of Iraq and in Syria. Canada’s Joint Task Force-Iraq provided special operations forces training and strategic advice and assistance to the Iraqi security forces, provided logistics support to the coalition, and deployed an air task force. In 2015-16 and 2016-17, the Government of Canada will continue as part of the coalition against ISIS and will collaborate with partners and allies to refocus Canada’s efforts in the region toward the training of local forces and humanitarian support. We are also committed to helping the United Nations respond more quickly to emerging and escalating conflicts.

In 2014-15, the CAF continued to participate in multinational efforts to enhance global security, including Operation ARTEMIS to address terrorism in the Arabian Sea and Operation CARIBBE to counter illicit trafficking in the Caribbean Sea and the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Operation CARIBBE, in particular, resulted in the disruption and seizure of close to 10,000 kg of cocaine and over 500 kg of marijuana that might otherwise have been used to fund criminal and terrorist activities. In the global fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, CAF healthcare personnel deployed to Sierra Leone as part of Operation SIRONA, and provided treatment to local and international healthcare workers who were exposed to the deadly virus.

At home, the CAF coordinated and responded to over 8,000 search and rescue incidents across the country and, as part of Operation LENTUS, supported the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba by assisting communities affected by major floods. Through Operation NANOOK, the CAF demonstrated its ability to operate in Canada’s northern regions by successfully carrying out a number of search and rescue and crisis response activities for two simulated maritime emergencies off the coast of Baffin Island. We will renew Canada’s focus on surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches, and ensure that the CAF has the capabilities to fulfill domestic missions.

In 2014-15, the CAF also worked closely with the United States in the defence of North America through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The Canadian and US militaries engaged in a wide range of joint operations and training exercises to enhance interoperability and to monitor and respond to changes in the security environment. We will maintain Canada’s strong commitment to NORAD and NATO.

Looking ahead to the end of 2015-16 and to 2016-17, we will conduct an open and transparent review to create a new defence strategy for Canada in order to replace the now outdated Canada First Defence Strategy. Spending levels will be maintained, including current planned increases. Our goal will be to ensure that Canada’s military is equipped and prepared, if called upon, to protect Canadian sovereignty, defend North America, provide disaster relief, conduct search and rescue, support United Nations peace operations, and contribute to the security of our allies and to allied and coalition operations abroad. I am proud to be working with the military and civilian members of the Defence Team. It is their initiative, professionalism, and dedication that enable Canada to stand tall as a nation.

Original signed by:

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP
Minister of National Defence

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