Minister’s message - 2017-18 Departmental Plan

The Honorable Harjit S. Sajjan

It is my pleasure to present the 2017-18 Departmental Plan for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The Departmental Plan provides parliamentarians and Canadians with information on what we do and the results we are trying to achieve during the upcoming year. To improve reporting to Canadians, this new, simplified report replaces the Report on Plans and Priorities.

The title of the report has been changed to reflect its purpose: to communicate our annual performance goals and the financial and human resources forecasted to deliver those results. The report has also been restructured to tell a clearer, more straightforward and balanced account of the actual results we are trying to achieve, while continuing to provide transparency on how tax dollars will be spent. We describe our programs and services for Canadians, our priorities for fiscal year 2017–18, and how our work will fulfill our departmental mandate commitments and the Government’s priorities.

In 2016, we undertook the most extensive public consultations on Canadian defence policy in 20 years. This comprehensive review included the views of the Canadian public, parliamentarians, allies and partners, defence experts, Indigenous groups and leaders, and experts in gender-based analysis. The work will reinforce the CAF’s enduring responsibilities to protect Canada, defend North America, and contribute to international peace and security, while providing an innovative approach to allow National Defence to address emerging security challenges. I look forward to releasing the new defence policy in 2017. We expect the Departmental Plan to evolve over the course of the fiscal year to reflect the priorities expressed in the policy.

The Government’s overarching goals 1 for National Defence are to ensure that the CAF is equipped and prepared to protect Canadian sovereignty, defend North America, provide disaster relief, conduct search and rescue, support United Nations (UN) peace operations, and contribute to the security of our allies and to allied and coalition operations abroad. Tangible contributions to international peace and security and strengthening defence capabilities will figure prominently in the work of the Defence Team in the year ahead. We will continue to work with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to ensure Defence innovation activities dovetail with Canada’s Innovation Agenda and help create jobs, and deliver the right equipment and services to our forces.

In August 2016, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I announced that Canada will renew its support to UN peace operations by deploying up to 600 military members and devoting $450 million to Global Affairs Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program. The increased contribution is centred on a whole-of-government approach, combining diplomacy, the deployment of troops, training, and capacity-building. This approach will be founded upon conflict prevention, mediation, peace operations, and peacebuilding efforts. The protection of civilians, and respect for the rights and role of women in preventing and resolving conflicts, will be areas of focus for Canada in this renewed effort.

In order to accomplish the important work that we ask of the CAF, the right tools are needed. A modern fighter jet fleet is essential for defending Canada and Canadian sovereignty – especially in our northern skies – and for protecting the continent with the United States. The Government will continue to carefully advance the project to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft fleet and will launch an open and transparent competition during our current mandate. To meet Canada’s needs until the permanent CF-18 fighter jet replacement arrives, we have begun discussions to purchase an interim fleet. The National Shipbuilding Strategy will remain a cornerstone in our acquisition program to ensure Canada’s naval capability. In addition, the delivery of blue force tracking technology will give commanders and troops in the field a picture of the battlefield not possible with conventional maps.

The Government has reinforced Canada’s commitment to transatlantic security, notably through military deployments to Ukraine and to NATO defence and deterrence measures in Europe. As one of four “Framework Nations” (along with the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany), Canada will lead a robust multinational battlegroup in Latvia as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence – a demonstration of Canada’s unwavering support to the Alliance and to the protection of Alliance territories.

Through Operation IMPACT in Iraq, Canada’s military contribution to the Global Coalition fighting Daeshi, the CAF is playing an important role with allies and partners to build the conditions on the ground for longer-term stability and a more secure world. The CAF is conducting air operations, training and assisting the Iraqi security forces, providing capacity-building capabilities to regional forces, and supports the coalition with highly-skilled personnel. It has become clear that a combination of security, diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, and development is required to counter the threat posed by Daesh.

Furthermore, a great deal of work is currently underway to take better care of CAF members and to gain the trust of our veterans. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and National Defence remain focused on the need to streamline the transition of members who release from the military and begin to receive services from VAC. The military healthcare system is actively addressing the physical and psychological illnesses and injuries that affect military personnel on a daily basis and during operations. Mental health issues, for example, are still accompanied by stigma and progress is being made through education, discussion, and early access to treatment. The Chief of the Defence Staff and I are also taking ambitious measures to establish and maintain a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination in all forms. Cultural change, as opposed to merely behavioural compliance, remains our over-riding goal.

Since my appointment, over the past 15 months, I have developed a deeper appreciation of the expertise resident in the military and civilian members of Defence Team. I am actively working with them to ensure the safety and security of Canadians at home, and that Canada remains a strong and reliable partner engaged in the world.

Original signed by:

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

* Daesh is also sometimes referred to as the ‘so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’.

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