Planned results: Program 1.0: Defence Combat and Support Operations

Program 1.0: Defence Combat and Support Operations


The Defence Combat and Support Operations Program delivers military power in combat, security, stability and surveillance operations in response to armed threats, or potential armed aggression, for the purpose of protecting Canadian sovereignty, upholding the values of Canadians, and defending the interests of the Government of Canada. Results are achieved through this Program by the application of Defence capabilities in domestic, continental and international domains, either independently or in combination with allies, where the primary focus is to inflict military effects against threats.

The term Defence capability is a collective term that refers to the ability of a military force to achieve a desired effect against a threat during the execution of a Defence operation (or the delivery of a Defence service) by executing tasks according to understood concepts, doctrine and standards. The military forces delivered by Defence are composed of force elements which are organizational entities that are in-turn composed of members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and in some cases personnel from the Department of National Defence (DND).

Force elements integrate people, with specialized information and expertise, materiel (e.g., equipment, platforms, and weapon systems) and in some cases real property, so that capabilities can be applied against threats. Force elements have different sizes and compositions according to the capabilities they must apply during an operation.

This Program is underpinned by the National Defence Act, defence policy, international treaties and agreements, membership in international organizations, and direction received by the Government of Canada. The sub-programs beneath this Program target a range of threats across a variety of operational contexts via different delivery mechanisms in different geographic regions.

Planning highlights

The Defence Team plays an important role in the whole-of-government approach to the defence, safety and security of Canada. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen, supported by our civilian members, protect and support Canada in times of need, secure our approaches through NORAD, and make the world safer by contributing to operations in the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere.

To ensure Canada remains strong at home, secure in North America and engaged in the world, we will remain in constant communication with our federal partners and allies on issues regarding the safety and security of Canada and Canadians, and will work alongside our allies to make relevant contributions to international security.

Dramatic advances in technology and changes to the nature of warfare have created an array of challenges. We will provide predictive, actionable intelligence to the Government of Canada for decision making. We will leverage technological advances, including the development and integration of robust cyber and space capabilities, into our military and its operations.

Our space program will continue to deliver space effects of vital importance to the conduct of military operations both at home and abroad. Particular areas of application include satellite communications, earth and space observation and navigation warfare‎. Key to achieving success is cooperation with Canada's closest allies in the area of combined space operations, as well as through partnership with the defence research and development community, the Canadian Space Agency, other government departments and Canada's commercial space sector.

Conduct surveillance and control Canadian territory and approaches

The provision of surveillance and control is an integral part of the CAF’s activities in Canada. One of the largest countries in the world, Canada’s territory spans nearly 10 million square kilometres. The country is bordered by three oceans – the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the Pacific – which touch upon over 240,000 kilometres of coastline.

Our six regional joint task forces of Canadian Joint Operations Command will continue to maintain a continuous watch over Canada’s land mass, air and maritime approaches and space and cyber domains. This vigilance permits the CAF to take action against threats before they reach Canadian shores, and allows the CAF to respond appropriately to contingencies and requests for assistance, anywhere in the country.

Year-round shipping, exploitation of Arctic resources and non-traditional security threats at sea or on land are making for a more complex security challenge. We will work with our government partners to renew our focus on surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches, particularly our Arctic region.

The CAF will demonstrate a visible Canadian presence in the Arctic while improving relationships with our northern partners. Activities will be carried out as outlined in the Northern Employment and Support Plan and the Plan for the North.

We will conduct annual northern operations to enhance our engagement with international military and security partners, to improve coordination and cooperation with whole-of-government operations, to maintain interoperability with mission partners, and to demonstrate and enhance our capability to respond to any situation in Canada’s North. We will continue to count on the important contribution of our Canadian Rangers as our eyes and ears in the sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada. Integral to northern surveillance, the Rangers participate in northern training exercises and operations.

Protect Canadians and Canadian interests against threats to North America

Maintain Canada’s strong commitment to NORAD

National Defence is a key element of the Canada-U.S. partnership as our two countries work together to defend North America. We will maintain Canada’s strong commitment to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and fulfill our treaty obligations including the Royal Canadian Air Force’s ground, air and space contributions and capabilities to detect, deter and defeat threats to both Canada and North America. We will continue to work closely with the United States to ensure NORAD is able to meet emerging challenges and to determine the way forward on a multi-year process to modernize NORAD. We will work together to ensure we invest in the right technologies, and have the right command relationship and the necessary tools to be able to predict threats and protect our shared interests.

Support our partners in the fight against organized crime

In further collaboration with the United States, we will continue to participate in the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Caribbean Basin and the Eastern Pacific Ocean. As part of Operation CARIBBE 4, Canada will continue to contribute CAF ships, submarines and aircraft to Operation MARTILLO, a US-led Joint Interagency Task Force-South effort by the nations of the Western Hemisphere and Europe to prevent illicit trafficking in the Caribbean Basin, the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and the littoral waters of Central America.

In accordance with a memorandum of understanding with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the CAF will contribute aviation and personnel support to the RCMP in support of their national marijuana eradication program, Operation SABOT 5. Profits from marijuana sales are known to finance criminal enterprises such as the illicit importation of other drugs and weapons into Canada.

Contribute to peace and security on the international stage

Maintain Canada’s strong commitment to NATO

NATO is an active and leading contributor to peace and security on the international stage. It promotes democratic values and is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. The principle of collective defence, enshrined in Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty, is essential to Canada’s security.

Canada will maintain its strong commitment to transatlantic security, including through military deployments to Central and Eastern Europe and active engagement with our NATO allies and partners.

The Government of Canada extended the CAF mission Operation REASSURANCE,6 to 31 March 2019. We will deploy maritime, land and periodic (or intermittent) air forces in support of NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures with the aim of promoting security and stability in the region.

In keeping with this commitment, we will deploy troops and equipment to Latvia as Canada forms and leads a robust multinational battlegroup as one of the four Framework Nations (alongside Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States) of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence. In order to appropriately support this deployment and NATO’s reinforcement strategy, Canada will contribute CAF personnel to relevant NATO headquarters and structures across Europe.

CAF members will also continue to support NATO operations in Kosovo (Operation KOBOLD) 7 to maintain a safe and secure environment in Kosovo, and in Iceland (Operation IGNITION) 8 to provide air surveillance and interception capability.


The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has deployed personnel in Central and Eastern Europe as part of NATO assurance measures. The CAF response in support of NATO’s request for enhanced assurance measures promotes security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe, and demonstrates the readiness and professionalism of the CAF.

##MCECOPY##Captain Durand, Logistics Support Group (LSG) Platoon Commander gives a convoy operations brief to members of the LSG and Gamble Company

Photo: Cpl Jay Ekin, Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force Imagery Technician

Captain Durand, Logistics Support Group (LSG) Platoon Commander gives a convoy operations brief to members of the LSG and Gamble Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment during Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT V in Germany as part of Operation REASSURANCE on 8 October 2016.

Counter-terrorism in the maritime environment

Operation ARTEMIS 9 is the CAF’s participation in Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, conducting counter-terrorism and maritime security operations across the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean region. The CAF will continue to play a leadership role in Operation ARTEMIS, clearly demonstrating Canada’s solidarity with partners and allies that are working together for peace and security in the maritime environment of the greater Middle East region. Canada will contribute the commander and staff of CTF 150, consisting of 28 CAF personnel and two Department of Defence civilians, until 13 April 2017.

The CAF will also participate in North American Maritime Security Initiative Pacific Exercise 2017. The focus will be on command and control and inter-governmental procedures to improve maritime interoperability between Canadian, American, and Mexican forces in response to maritime threats along the Pacific Coast.

Build relationships and engage with other nations

Changes in the global security environment underscore the importance for Canada to cultivate its relationships not only with NATO, but also with Five Eyes nations (the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and New Zealand) and with developing regional powers.

To enhance global operations and our ability to rapidly and effectively respond to crises, we will maintain Operational Support Hubs in overseas locations. These hubs facilitate the movement of people, materiel, equipment and supplies to and from the various theatres of operations where our task forces are deployed.

We will continue to establish and maintain reciprocal relations through co-operative training and military professional development projects conducted under the Military Training and Cooperation Program.

We will work closely with Global Affairs Canada to ensure our priorities are incorporated into the Government of Canada’s foreign policy objectives and global engagement on key issues.

Planned results

Expected results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2013-14
The application of Canadian Defence and Security capabilities continuously protects the sovereignty of Canada, the values of Canadians and the interests of the Government of Canada against risks imposed by armed threats. Percentage of Defence Combat and Support Operations that have successfully achieved their operational objectives. 90-100% March 2018 N/A* 99.5% 97%

*Note: A new Program Alignment Architecture and Performance Measurement Framework were introduced in fiscal year 2014-15. Results for 2013-14 are not available. For more information on previous year results, see the applicable Departmental Performance Report available on our Reports and Publications 10 web page.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

Main Estimates
Planned spending
Planned spending
Planned spending
1,204,608,692 1,204,608,692 1,242,203,250 1,289,764,460

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Military – Regular Force 6,799 6,904 6,916
Civilian 964 964 964
TOTAL 7,763 7,868 7,880

More information

Forecasted costs for major Canadian Armed Forces operations 11 and information on current and past operations 12 are available on our website.

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