Minister's Message - RPP 2016-17

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

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

I am pleased to present the 2016-17 Report on Plans and Priorities for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.

This report provides information on how National Defence will support the Government on achieving its agenda in the coming year. I am fully confident that the Department is prepared to successfully support me and work with our partners inside and outside government to deliver for Canadians. However, given the Government’s commitment to more effective reporting, this year’s report will be the final submission using the existing reporting framework.

The Prime Minister and the President of the Treasury Board are working to develop new, simplified, and more effective reporting processes that will better allow Parliament and Canadians to monitor the Government’s progress on delivering real change to Canadians. In the future, National Defence’s reports to Parliament will focus more transparently on how resources are being used to fulfill commitments and achieve results for Canadians.

These new reporting mechanisms will allow Canadians to more easily follow the Department’s progress towards delivering on its priorities, which were outlined in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter 1 to me.

The Government is committed to standing up for the security and values of Canadians. As Minister of National Defence, my overarching goal will be to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces is equipped and prepared to protect Canadian sovereignty, defend North America, provide disaster relief, conduct search and rescue, participate in United Nations peace support operations, and contribute to the security of our allies and to allied and coalition operations abroad.

The Canadian Armed Forces must be flexible, agile, and ready to defend Canada’s interests. To that end, the Government of Canada will maintain predictable and consistent funding for our military. We will invest in the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure it has the capabilities it needs. We will work with the Defence Team to ensure the constant improvement of business practices, while aligning resources with priorities, and focusing on results. In addition, we will work with Public Services and Procurement Canada to improve the timeliness of equipment acquisitions.

The challenges posed by an evolving and complex global security environment require a sophisticated, multi-faceted, and multi-layered approach. In 2016-17, National Defence will conduct an open and transparent review to create a new defence policy document for Canada. Planning for the review is underway and will involve strong and credible engagement with Parliament, the public, academic experts, allies, and other stakeholders. The Government intends to foster a rich and informative national dialogue on defence issues. In doing so, we will ensure a close link between defence policy, foreign policy, and national security. At the end of this process, which we aim to conclude in December 2016, we will issue comprehensive direction to the Defence Team in support of an effective, agile, and well equipped military.

Protecting Canada’s sovereignty and the security of Canadians is the Canadian Armed Forces’ first responsibility. As such, there will be a renewed focus on surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches, particularly our Arctic regions. National Defence will also support Public Safety Canada and other government partners in a review of existing measures to protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

Canada is actively engaged in dealing with threats to international security and stability, and the fight against terrorism. Our military regularly works with allies and partners to provide meaningful and effective contributions to international engagements, based on the Canadian Armed Forces’ wide array of skills and expertise. This approach will be maintained for Canada’s refocussed role in the Global Coalition against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In the coming year, Canada will also renew its commitment to United Nations peace support operations. National Defence will assess how the Canadian Armed Forces can best contribute its efforts to respond quickly and effectively to crises and conflict abroad.

To maintain international security and stability, the Government will strengthen its relationships with allies, especially Canada’s closest neighbour and friend, the United States. The defence of North America through the North American Aerospace Defense Command is an example of the outstanding bi-national cooperation between our two countries. Moreover, the Government’s commitment to multi-national organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will remain strong.

Canadians have tremendous respect for the Canadian Armed Forces and expect us to ensure that members and their families receive appropriate support and care. National Defence will develop long-term strategies to care for ill and injured personnel and their families through improvements to the Joint Personnel Support Unit. National Defence will also prioritize their health and well-being by enhancing the mental health strategy, with a focus on suicide prevention for Canadian Armed Forces personnel and veterans. Our obligation to military personnel continues even after their service, and the Department will work with Veterans Affairs Canada to ensure the transition from active duty to veteran is seamless.

Canada has a highly skilled military and civilian Defence Team. It is my honour to work with them and with all parliamentarians to realize the main priorities and goals for this year.

Original signed by:

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

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