From the Minister

The Honourable Bill Blair, PC, MP

As Minister of National Defence, I am pleased to present to Parliament and Canadians the 2024-25 Departmental Plan. This report is a detailed view of the priorities and related initiatives that the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will work to advance in the year ahead.

In the constantly changing global security landscape, the military and civilian members of the Defence Team are the strength of the organization. Providing our people with a work environment that is inclusive, respectful, and supportive must underpin everything we do. Our ability to retain and recruit the best and brightest to defend Canada's security and interests — at home and abroad — depends on it. Our people serve Canada best when they have a sense of belonging in the Defence Team and feel empowered to contribute fully to our mandate.

In the lead up to this year, the Defence Team did the rigorous work to complete our part of the government-wide spending review exercise announced in Budget 2023. That exercise — to bring the growth of government spending back to a pre-pandemic path — will ensure Canadians' tax dollars are being used efficiently. For DND and the CAF, the secondary goal of the spending review was to continue to ensure our budget is directed toward top defence and government priorities, which includes increasing military capabilities and supporting our people and their families.

With that in mind, CAF reconstitution is ongoing to build a more modern, combat-ready force and ensure its long-term viability. In 2024-25, reconstitution measures will remain focused on rebuilding personnel strength, attracting diverse talent, improving efforts to retain CAF members, and modernizing the military personnel management system to make it more effective. Culture change is foundational to these efforts and will remain an enduring priority. Our vital work continues to implement recommendations from the Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review and other internal and external review reports.

Since the 2017 release of Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE): Canada's Defence Policy, the Defence Team has made considerable progress to deliver on its commitments. Over that time, the threat environment has also changed and continues to evolve rapidly. As a result, while the vision outlined in SSE for our military's future remains sound, SSE is being updated to address these new challenges and meet Canada's needs across a variety of domains.

The defence policy update underway is building on the critical work that has already begun to strengthen continental defence in close collaboration with our North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) partner, the United States. We are moving forward on the most substantial investment in Canada's NORAD capabilities in a generation. A long-term effort, NORAD modernization includes specific investments over the next two decades that will bolster its ability to protect our shared continent against emerging threats. In turn, Canada's contribution to NORAD will maintain our ability to engage globally and support NATO allies during a crisis or conflict. While enhancing the defence of Canada, NORAD modernization will also allow us to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples by creating economic benefits for Indigenous and Northern communities where possible.

War in Europe, the Middle East, and challenges to stability in the Indo-Pacific are a powerful reminder that we are at an inflection point in global peace and security. In a world that is increasingly dangerous and unpredictable, this Departmental Plan underscores the importance we place on continuously enhancing multilateral cooperation with allies and partners to protect the rules-based international order. It reflects our active and unwavering support for Ukraine as it continues to defend its sovereignty and citizens against Russia's illegal invasion. Our engagement in the world is also evident through the capabilities Canada provides to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and our increased presence in the Indo-Pacific as part of Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy.

In this report, Canadians will learn more about how we will serve Canada in the coming year. The know-how and determination of the entire Defence Team will be required to successfully implement our priorities. I am confident in their ability to deliver results for Canadians.

The Honourable Bill Blair, PC, MP

Minister of National Defence

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