Ready forces

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Field combat-ready forces able to succeed in an unpredictable and complex security environment in the conduct of concurrent operations associated with all mandated missions.

Quality of life impacts

This core responsibility contributes to the "Good Governance" domain of the Quality of Life Framework for Canada and, more specifically, "Democracy and Institutions," through all of the activities mentioned in the core responsibility description.

For more information, please refer to the Quality of Life Hub and the Quality of Life Framework for Canada for additional information related to Quality of life.

Results and targets

The following tables show, for each departmental result related to Ready Forces, the indicators, the results from the three most recently reported fiscal years, the targets and target dates approved in 2024–25.

Table 2.1: Indicators, results and targets for departmental result Canadian Armed Forces are ready to conduct concurrent operations.


2020-21 result

2021-22 result

2022-23 result


Date to achieve

% of planned readiness achieved for core mission setFootnote 1




At least 90%

31 March 2025

% of force elements that are ready for operations in accordance with established targets




At least 90%

31 March 2025

Table 2.2: Indicators, results and targets for departmental result Military equipment is ready for training and operations.


2020-21 result

2021-22 result

2022-23 result


Date to achieve

% of maritime key fleets that are serviceable to meet training, readiness, and operational requirementsFootnote 2


54%Footnote 3


At least 60%

31 March 2025

% of key land fleets that are serviceable to meet training, readiness and operational requirementsFootnote 3




At least 70%

31 March 2025

% of aerospace key fleets that are serviceable to meet training, readiness, and operational requirementsFootnote 3




At least 85%

31 March 2028

The financial, human resources and performance information for DND/CAF program inventory is available on GC InfoBase.

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Plans to achieve results

Canadian Armed Forces are ready to conduct concurrent operations

Rim of the Pacific Exercise

Multinational navy ships and submarine steam in formation during a group sail off the coast of Hawaii during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 21 August 2020.

Photo: MS Dan Bard, Canadian Forces Combat Camera.

In an increasingly challenging international security environment, the CAF will continue to be called on to operate across the globe. Whether that is at home defending against forest fires, in North America through the commitment to NORAD, supporting NATO in Latvia, or increasing presence in the Indo-Pacific, the CAF will contribute to peace and stability internationally.

To increase all domain integration, interoperability, and engagement between Canada and other nations, the CAF will conduct and participate in training scenarios in domestic, continental, and international contexts with other government departments and agencies, allies and partner nations in support of force readiness. 

Planned exercises in FY 2024-25 include:

  • Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24: NATO’s premier major joint exercise, conducted on a triennial basis, demonstrating NATO’s ability to reinforce the Euro-Atlantic area via trans-Atlantic movement and the enablement and employment of forces. This exercise will be NATO’s largest military drill since the end of the Cold War and demonstrates Canada’s unwavering commitment to collective defence with allies and partners;
  • Exercise RIMPAC 24: The world's largest maritime military exercise is anticipated to take place between June and July 2024. Canada will contribute a significant naval presence during this exercise, which will promote the security of the Indo-Pacific region and strengthen partnerships and interoperability with allies;
  • BOLD QUEST: A collaborative joint and multinational exercise in which nations, services and programs pool resources, facilitating the interoperability of joint capabilities in their final stages of development, with an overarching objective to improve interoperability and information-sharing across a range of coalition war-fighting capabilities
  • Exercise READY RENAISSANCE: An annual readiness exercise conducted by 1st Canadian Division Headquarters that maintains the CAF short notice response to a Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief event, when tasked by GoC to respond to a RFA from another nation;
  • Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD: An annual exercise between NORAD, USNORTHCOM and the CAF, focused on the defence and security of North America;
  • Operation NANOOK: Is a strategic demonstration of ability and resolve, while tactically, it is a training opportunity for all involved. The focus will be deployment of forces to the High Arctic to rehearse and enhance CAF capability to deploy and operate in austere and remote environments, while allowing for the integration of relevant science and technology. This operation will foster participation through focused international and partner cooperation and explore avenues to exercise all-domain awareness. Activities are planned to progress until at least 2026 and will address CAF and its partners' priorities;
    • Operation NANOOK-NUNAKPUT: Integration and operations with allied maritime forces, other government departments, and support to research and development in the approaches to and inside the Northwest Passage, while conducting surveillance and presence;
    • Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT: Activities will be executed in the Northwest Territories. The focus will be deployment of a joint multinational force to the High Arctic to rehearse and enhance CAF capability to deploy and operate in austere and remote environments. This operation shall foster participation through international and partner cooperation and explore avenues to exercise all domain awareness;
    • Operation NANOOK-TATIGIIT: An exercise planned in collaboration with other government partners that is part of an inter-agency response to a major event/incident where the primary focus will be interoperability and readiness of the CAF, other government departments and agencies and the Arctic SAR community to respond effectively; and
    • Operation NANOOK-TUUGAALIK: Building capability in Canada's northern regions, ensuring CAF readiness to operate in the North within a comprehensive context, and improving interoperability with mission partners.
  • As Defence improves Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) readiness, areas of focus for the CAF will include:
    • Integrating CAF C4ISR within the NATO and Five Eyes environment to enhance communication and information exchange capabilities while directly supporting the warfighter and senior decision makers; and,
    • Sustained comand and control and cooperation with Arctic nations, including the United States through USNORTHCOM, in the conduct of Arctic missions, operations and exercises;
  • UNIFIED VISION 26: DND/CAF will continue planning for NATO's premier international event to practice and evaluate new and existing technical and operational concepts for conducting JISR in NATO operations. The relevance and significance of UNIFIED VISION for NATO and its member states derive from today's dynamic security environment and the information demands at all levels of command. This event will improve Canada and its NATO Allies' coordination and interoperability by exchanging and analyzing large amounts of intelligence data in an operational environment. This enables the alliance to evaluate and inform NATO bodies and nations of change recommendations to support further improvements towards the achievement of an enduring NATO JISR capability. JISR is essential for all military operations as it provides the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right format; on the ground, in the air, at sea, in space and in the cyber domain. UNIFIED VISION participation will support Canada and its NATO Allies in having a complete picture to an occurring crisis and will support well-informed, synchronized, timely and accurate decisions;

Defence must balance the requirement to generate ready soldiers, sailors, aviators and special forces operators with the need to apply public health measures. During FY 2024-25, Defence will continue to implement best practices at training events to ensure that CAF members follow all public health measures in the vicinity of training areas. CAF medical specialists will extend advise to exercise planners on how to best conduct training in a post-pandemic environment. In all cases the measures are based on local health conditions and adjusted in consultation with local authorities.

Throughout FY 2024-25, the RCN will generate, sustain and renew combat-effective, multi-purpose naval forces and capabilities ready for operations. The RCN will:

  • Provide support to the delivery of a blue-water navy capable of operating across the full spectrum of warfare within multiple warfare domains;
  • Continue to rely upon the existing fleet to deliver on CAF Force Posture and Readiness (FP&R) until the delivery of the future fleet. The degradation in materiel readiness of the aging platforms within the existing fleet will present a significant challenge to maintaining that operational readiness; and
  • Focus on maintaining combat effectiveness to ensure Defence can integrate with allies to be effective maritime partners; and
  • Carefully manage both the people and platforms available to ensure the RCN continues to meet FP&R requirements, within the context of significant shortages of personnel across multiple occupations, and the growing gap in the materiel readiness of an aging combatant fleet. The necessity to sufficiently crew HMC ships and submarines with qualified personnel will be balanced with the critical reconstitution effort to recruit and train sailors and officers with the skill sets required to transition to the future fleet.

The Canadian Army is a soldier-centric, professional, and inclusive force made up of Regular Force personnel, Primary Reserves (P Res), Canadian Rangers and Defence civilians. In FY 2024-25, the Canadian Army will:

  • Force generate a battalion-sized (500 personnel) Light Infantry Global Response Task Force to meet the GoC requirements to conduct domestic support operations, international operations, and non-combatant evacuation operations. This will be accomplished through validation exercises conducted at the United States Army Joint Readiness Training Centre (accessible only on the National Defence network) in Fort Johnson, Louisiana, and at the United States Army Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Centre in Alaska;
  • Generate combat-effective, multi-purpose land forces for deployment in multiple concurrent operations to achieve Canada's defence objectives. The number of persistently deployed personnel on existing expeditionary operations is anticipated to rise from 1,150 to nearly 2,000. This increase is attributed to Canada's heightened commitment to Operation REASSURANCE, which is set to escalate to a Brigade-level deployment starting in FY 2024-25. With an approximate total of 13,000 deployable soldiers in FY 2024-25, the Regular Force component of the Canadian Army is expected to sustainably generate 1,950 personnel for deployed operations. This calculation accounts for troops temporarily out of battle, troop rotations, and force generation requirements. Consequently, this sustained effort will extend the Canadian Army to its maximum sustainable capacity, necessitating continued reliance on contributions from the Army Reserve for both domestic and expeditionary operations;
  • Improve the Army Reserve through the implementation of the Soldier Readiness Policy-Reserve which aims to improve existing policies by clarifying training requirements and providing greater predictability to personnel; and
  • Provide joint capabilities support to operations: Joint Counter Explosive Threat Task Force, Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defence, and Joint Targeting Training functions. Highlights of major activities expected for FY 2024-25 include:
    • Counter explosive threat training with allies and partners to maintain operator and staff skill sets; and
    • CBRN Defence capability including engaging with partners to ensure that Canada is well-informed of and contributes to international standards.

The Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) program is a 25-year performance based and collaborative service contract that should be awarded in 2024 which will deliver to the CAF all of the assets (5 fleets with simulators) and infrastructure (training centers, hangars) as well as the IM/IT, asset and facility management services and site support services required to produce the required number of pilots, Air Combat Systems and Airborne Electronic Sensor Operators to Wing standard yearly. This single contract will meet all governmental policies (greening, indigenous, GBA Plus, accessibility, ITB/VP). The contractor will be financially incentivized to innovate to maintain the required level of performance. Periodic technological injects will be programmed to keep the training program relevant throughout the years.

The department will continue to grow the CAF Cyber Forces by recruiting and enabling new Cyber Operators, attracting motivated and skilled personnel from across military occupational specialties for employment in the cyber domain, and supporting the employment of reservists with specialized skill sets.

Renewed force generation in FY 2024-25 will expand the Cyber Field Force, including advanced technical capabilities and intelligence support to operations, to provide additional deployable force element options for the DND/CAF.

DND/CAF will participate in training activities to enhance cyber force readiness including opportunities presented by participating in cyber exercises to enhance binational cyber incident response and continental defence, such as NORAD's Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD (accessible only on the National Defence network), and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence-led Exercise CYBER WARRIOR. Also participating in multinational partner exercises to mature strategic cooperation. In support of coalition objectives focussed on global outcomes to global challenges, CAF Cyber Forces will join partners and allies for NATO's CYBER COALITION and in interoperability COALITION WARRIOR exercises. Canada will lead the Cyber Focus Area for the second year in a row, with the aim of integrating cyber into multi-domain operations.

STORM FORCE is the premier Defence Intelligence Enterprise demonstration series to promote joint interoperability and integration between the military services, Defence Intelligence agencies, Five Eyes alliance and select coalition partners. STORM FORCE is sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Intelligence and Security and it is managed by the United States National Geospatial Agency and the National Security Agency. STORM FORCE consists of an iterative approach to demonstrating and assessing intelligence capabilities that have the best potential to transition to real world operations in the near term. STORM FORCE is a series of classified demonstration and assessment events specifically tailored to help achieve the following two objectives:

  • Build a modern and resilient intelligence infrastructure and architecture; and
  • Leverage international partnerships as a combined and interdependent community.

For a detailed list of current, past and any future operations and exercises, please refer to the CAF operations and exercises website.

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Military equipment is ready for training and operations

Defence is responsible for several Defence Supply Chain digital projects which will ensure the CAF is ready to conduct concurrent operations from an equipment and materiel readiness perspective. Projects include Modernization and Integration of Sustainment and Logistics (MISL), Automatic Identification Technology, and Materiel Planning and Forecasting. These three initiatives will form a modernized Defence Supply Chain core, and Defence can expect improved materiel accountability, cost savings, resilience and improved materiel readiness which will directly impact its ability to conduct concurrent operations by maximizing the use of existing resources.

The Canadian Army Equipment Readiness Program aims to ensure that the serviceability of equipment is maintained to support readiness and operational outputs. In FY 2024-25, key actions will include improving the Canadian Army equipment ownership culture by using the official system of record to document and monitor operator inspections, working with the Materiel Group to critically evaluate equipment preventive maintenance requirements without compromising safety or fleet health, and better aligning the Army's equipment serviceability targets with operational outputs so that maintenance resources can be allocated where they are needed most.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Training Modernization initiative will consist of a single synthetic environment with multi-domain integration delivering personalized learning, robust learning analytics, and a total learning architecture that supports both individual as well as collective training programs. In addition, training modernization will support the development of a career-long learning continuum. The RCAF Training Modernization Campaign Plan (TMCP) has been drafted and is expected to be integrated into the larger RCAF Campaign Plan to operationalize the RCAF Strategy. The TMCP will be supported by several strategic-level documents including a training strategy, a training modernization strategy, a learning analytics strategy, and a technology-enabled learning strategy. The TCMP will consist of three phases spanning 12 years in duration.

In FY 2024-2025, the RCAF will continue to modernize its fleets and systems through the following projects:

  • The Air Force Master Information Integration System Expansion project which will improve the reliability and security of flight planning data nationwide;
  • The National Acoustic Library Project which will replace the legacy library with an automated, interoperable, and searchable database; and
  • The Air Rescue and Fire Fighting Vehicle Project which will provide the RCAF with the ability to maintain the safety of self-sustained flying operations at austere airfields.

Further development of northern zones directly affects predominantly Indigenous communities, and surrounding areas. This will ultimately provide those communities with the knowledge and resources to conduct their own SAR when required, further reducing response times and reliance on other provincial, federal or CAF assets.

The RCAF will continue to strive to deliver higher serviceability for the various fleets in order to ensure the RCAF can meet its prioritized training and operational requirements.

In FY 2024-25, DND/CAF will continue experimentation in the development of Joint Ready Forces through five key initiatives:

  • Joint Arctic Experiment 23: Conduct equipment trials and capability development initiatives, leveraging joint experience in support of overcoming operational challenges in the Arctic environment.
  • BOLD QUEST 24: Coalition Capability Demonstration and Assessment series, in which nations, services and programs pool their resources, facilitating the interoperability of joint capabilities in their final stages of development. BOLD QUEST 24 will take place in the October – November timeframe in the United States.
  • Responsive Limited eXperiments: Designed to address short-term problems and is intended to work across all domains, with experimentation in data sharing, cloud computing and decision support tools.
  • Agile Pan-Domain Command and Control Experimentation Endeavour: Will experiment with visualization, simulation, and decision support tools to create collaborative multi-domain situational awareness within the context of pan-domain operations; and
  • Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Data Fusion Experimentation: Will investigate problems to learn, adapt and exploit new capabilities for data fusion in support to the National Defence Operation Intelligence Centre and various CAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance projects.

In FY 2024-25, the RCN will see:

  • Four Harry DeWolf-class AOPV participating in operations, which may include activities aimed at further integrating the ships with the CH-148 Cyclone. The joint Arctic deployment of these ships under Operation NANOOK will contribute to CAF presence and surveillance activities in the Northern maritime approaches to Canada. In addition, it will provide opportunities to further nurture the growing relationship between the six Arctic regions of Inuit Nunangat communities affiliated with the ships of this class;
  • The RCN is also expecting to take delivery of the class's fifth ship, the future His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Frédérick Rolette, in late 2024. The operationalization of this ship is expected to mirror the fleet introduction activities of the first four ships of this class, commencing with a post-delivery work period followed by basic single ship readiness training prior to commencing the at-sea test and trials program; and
  • HMCS William Hall will sail for post-acceptance trials during spring and summer 2024, with the official commissioning ceremony taking place in spring 2024. HMCS Max Bernays will execute a coastal transfer to its assigned home port of Esquimalt, British Columbia. HMCS Max Bernays will be the first Harry DeWolf-class ship to be based on Canada's west-coast and will be commissioned into the RCN on 3 May 2024.

The requirement to maintain Halifax-class beyond its designed end-of-life continues to pressure current RCN resource capacity. Resource requests in FY 2024-25 and beyond will prioritize additional investments to grow fleet maintenance capacity to address the increasing maintenance demand.

Equipment is made available to support CAF training and operational requirements through the Equipment Support Program, which is significantly funded through the National Procurement (NP) corporate accounts. Several factors have led to increased pressure on the NP program in recent years including: the entry into service of newly delivered capabilities, ageing fleets, life extension required for fleets, for which replacement capabilities have yet to be delivered, technological advances, and the start of reconstituting of the Ammunition and Explosives inventory. The convergence of these drivers is expected to persist, generating significant pressures on the NP program for many years to come. This in turn will put pressure on serviceability and maintenance priorities for the CAF operational fleets.

The Department aims to further mature the Cyber Mission Assurance Program (CMAP) by continuing to build and integrate cyber resilience through threat-informed decision making in all aspects across the DND/CAF; including people, processes and technology, which are critical to the execution of the mission-essential functions in any operating environment. In FY 2024-25, the CMAP will:

  • Exercise governance by continuing to publish the annual Cyber Mission Assurance (CMA) Functional Planning Guidance (FPG);
  • Establish a reporting framework to measure the FPG and publish the initial CMA Departmental Administrative Order and Directives (DAODs); and
  • Develop a CMA stakeholder engagement strategy to evolve the Risk Management Framework and integrate this into key DND/CAF activities such as Force Posture and Readiness and Force Protection for the purpose of ensuring that cyber resilience is integrated into every aspect from procurement to operations across the DND/CAF.

Other priorities include strengthening DND/CAF's CMA international footprint by expanding relationships with the Five Eyes allies.

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Key risks

There are many risks associated with the Ready Forces core responsibility. Three of the key risks are articulated below:

Military Strength – There is a risk that DND/CAF will not have the right military personnel, in the right numbers, at the right place, and at the right time.

Military Competencies – There is a risk that DND/CAF will not have the right military personnel, with the right competencies, in the right place and at the right time.

Materiel Maintenance – There is a risk that DND/CAF may have difficulty maintaining its materiel capabilities at the right level to support operations.

As the Defence Departmental Results Framework reflects a chain of delivery from conceiving of the required armed forces, to developing them and then executing operations, the activities to mitigate the risks to the Ready Forces core responsibility can also be found in other Core Responsibilities which deliver building blocks that enable the results of Ready Forces.

Snapshot of planned resources in 2024–25

Planned spending: $11,304,585,891

Planned full-time resources: 42,947

Related government priorites

Gender-based analysis plus

Defence will continue to work with partners to ensure that Gender Advisors and Gender Focal Points receive training to perform their roles while deployed. Providing enhanced training in addition to the Department for Women and Gender Equality Canada and the Canada School for Public Service's online GBA Plus courses will enhance the department's collective understanding of GBA Plus and WPS objectives. It will also encourage all members to apply GBA Plus findings in their daily work, making them better prepared to meet the demand of today's security challenges. DND/CAF will also review employment and training requirements and strive to adopt a more targeted approach during the nomination process for all deployed positions to enable the deployment and employment of a more diverse force.

For the Canadian Army, most deployed positions require the completion of the Integrating of a Gender Perspective NATO course. During reformatted Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE, scenarios will be included to integrate gender perspectives in training that challenge the soldiers to consider and use their GBA Plus training to come up with solutions.

The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) will continue to integrate intersectional gender perspectives to be more operationally effective. This will be done, in part, by encouraging the inclusive participation of women and other diverse groups in Ready Special Operations Forces initiatives, research projects and learning exchange forums and through monitoring the statistics of deployed personnel. By monitoring performance indicators under the Ready Special Operations Program, CANSOFCOM will contribute data for further GBA Plus, and in support of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, both of which will lead to improved operational effectiveness.

More information on GBA Plus can be found in the GBA Plus Supplementary Information Tables section of this report.

United Nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the UN sustainable development goals

The FAcT program team engaged with departmental subject matter experts to ensure all aspects of Greening Governmental Strategy were included in the Request for Proposal (RFP) documentation.

Support the completion of Strategic Environmental Assessments for new RCAF capabilities.

RCAF Training Modernization emphasizes the application of technology-enabled learning including virtual/augmented/extended reality, part-task trainers, and simulators which will reduce overall aircraft and aircraft maintenance equipment carbon emissions used unnecessarily for training. This is consistent with GOC demand for reduced environmental impact of the CAF.

More information on The Department of National Defence's contributions to Canada's Federal Implementation Plan on the 2030 Agenda and the FSDS can be found in the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy.

Indigenous relations

The Canadian Rangers are part of the Canadian Army Reserve drawing on Indigenous knowledge to operate in Northern and remote communities. In 2024, CAF will celebrate 25 years of the Junior Canadian Ranger program, which offers military exposure and Indigenous cultural teachings to youth. Canadian Rangers have received training to carry the Canadian Armed Forces Eagle Staff, which symbolizes the unity of Indigenous Peoples serving in the CAF and DND. They will bring the staff to related events throughout the year, continuing the tradition of honouring the service and sacrifice of Indigenous Peoples past and present.

The FAcT Program team and qualified suppliers have been continuously consulting and engaging with Metis communities and First Nations of Manitoba and Saskatchewan for more than five years with the intent to meet the 5% Indigenous Participation Plan contract value target.

SAR Ready Forces - Further development of northern zones directly affects the predominantly Indigenous communities (and surrounding areas). This initiative will ultimately provide those communities with the knowledge and resources to conduct their own SAR when required, further reducing response times and reliance on other provincial, federal or CAF assets.

Program inventory

Ready Forces is supported by the following programs:

  • Strategic Command and Control;
  • Ready Naval Forces;
  • Ready Land Forces;
  • Ready Air and Space Forces;
  • Ready Special Operations Forces;
  • Ready Cyber and Joint Communication Information Systems (CIS) Forces;
  • Ready Intelligence Forces;
  • Ready Joint and Combined Forces;
  • Ready Health, Military Police and Support Forces;
  • Equipment Support; and
  • Employer Support Programs.

Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to the DND/CAF program inventory is available on GC InfoBase.

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