Plans at a glance - 2017-18 Departmental Plan

The 2017-18 Departmental Plan is our annual spending plan that describes our priorities, planned results and associated resource requirements. Throughout this report, we have aimed to clearly articulate the results we seek to achieve and the resources required to do so. The report further reflects our commitment to fulfilling the Minister’s mandate letter commitments and to providing the highest standards of operational and administrative excellence.

Defence Policy Review

Over the course of 2016, we undertook a robust and comprehensive Defence Policy Review. The Defence Policy Review has been a worthwhile exercise. For the first time since the early 1990s, we opened the process to views from the Canadian public, defence experts, parliamentarians, and our closest allies. We also undertook extensive internal analysis.

The Defence Policy Review is expected to be released in 2017. In the year ahead, the transition to a new defence policy will figure prominently in our work. We will carefully manage its implementation and will reorient our priorities to meet articulated direction. As a result, the Departmental Plan will evolve over the course of fiscal year 2017-18 to ensure we are positioned to deliver results for Canadians.

Organizational Priorities

Our organizational priorities provide emphasis for senior management and CAF leaders to direct resources to key initiatives required to address gaps in achieving our expected results, to mitigate key risks and to respond to specific Government direction.

Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence and CAF Posture and Readiness

The Defence Team will stand ready to undertake a wide range of operations as directed by the Government. We will actively maintain our capacity to support our current commitments and to provide strategic response options to the Government to meet future security challenges.

  • We will maintain a continuous watch over Canada’s land mass, air and maritime approaches, and space and cyber domains. We will remain prepared to take action against threats before they reach Canadian shores, and respond appropriately to contingencies and requests for assistance, anywhere in the country.
  • During times of crisis, we will continue to offer our defence capabilities to improve security for Canadians. We will focus on the CAF’s primary Search and Rescue (SAR) responsibility to provide aeronautical SAR and coordinate the aeronautical and maritime SAR system. We will deploy search and rescue response capabilities that are able to reach those in distress anywhere in Canada on a 24 hours a day, seven days a week basis. We will remain ready to assist provincial and territorial authorities to ensure the safety of Canadians in the event of a domestic natural disaster when assistance is requested. Through Operation LENTUS 2, the CAF will undertake activities to respond quickly and effectively to crises such as floods, forest fires and hurricanes.
  • We will actively demonstrate a visible Canadian presence in the Arctic while improving relationships with our northern partners. This will be achieved through the conducting of annual northern operations that include the participation of our Canadian Rangers.
  • We will fulfill our NORAD treaty obligations to detect, deter and defeat threats to both Canada and North America. We will continue to work closely with the United States to modernize NORAD to ensure that together, we are capable of meeting emerging challenges.
  • We will continue to focus our efforts on training, intelligence and humanitarian support in Iraq and Syria and will respond to coalition needs on the ground to dismantle and defeat Daesh.
  • We will deploy our forces and capabilities in support of NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures with the aim of promoting security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe. We will also deploy to Latvia and will form and lead a robust multinational battlegroup for NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.
  • We will continue to provide military training and capacity building to Ukraine forces’ personnel to support Ukraine in its efforts to maintain sovereignty, security, and stability.
  • We are committed to deploying up to 600 troops in support of UN peace operations and will ensure that Canada’s specialized CAF personnel and capabilities are available to quickly respond when directed by the Government of Canada. We will fully integrate gender perspectives into CAF planning and operations to address the differential impacts of armed conflict on men, women, girls and boys.

Strengthening the Defence Team


The Defence Team is the backbone of our defence capability and our greatest asset. The success of any mission is dependent on having healthy, well-trained, and motivated personnel. This year, we will deliver on key initiatives underway to further cultivate inclusivity and respect within our organization.

  • In close collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada, we will work to ensure a seamless transition for CAF members to Veterans Affairs’ programs and services. Our focus will be on reducing complexity, improving information sharing, overhauling service delivery, and streamlining and simplifying wherever feasible. Working together, we aim to better anticipate and meet the current and future needs of our members and to ensure they receive timely access to benefits, certainty about care, and access to programs and services.
  • We will continue to implement Operation HONOUR to eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian military and will advance initiatives focused on taking care of victims with responsive, individualized support across the organization. We will continue to monitor and measure the effects of Operation HONOUR and will make adjustments as we go. This will ensure that the positive and permanent cultural changes in the attitudes and behaviours in the CAF that Operation HONOUR is designed to deliver actually happen on the ground.
  • Recognizing the importance of mental health care, we are developing a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy for CAF personnel and veterans in partnership with Veterans Affairs. The strategy will aim to leverage existing government-wide initiatives and increase CAF leadership involvement in existing programs in order to reduce suicides, suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts.
  • We will focus on health and wellness to address identified health and wellness needs, strive to close gaps by leveraging existing programs and developing new initiatives as required, and coordinate civilian and military initiatives wherever possible.
  • We will plan research on attitudes towards Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, 2- Spirited (LGBTQ2S) issues, diversity climate, ethnic tolerance/intolerance and cross-cultural competence to support the CAF Diversity Strategy and action plan.

Defence Team capacity is a persistent issue that has the potential to affect our capability to fulfill current or future expectations. Our success is dependent on having the right number of personnel with the right competency, at the right place, and at the right time. Taking into account recommendations made by the Auditor General’s report and the Ombudsman’s report, this year, we will focus on advancing our recruiting, training and retention activities.

  • We will advance our extensive review of the entire recruiting process to ensure it is more timely and efficient while better serving the needs of potential recruits.
  • We will adopt recruiting advertising and marketing campaigns to raise awareness and support key recruitment priorities.
  • We will transform our Individual Training and Education to address the personnel generation demands of the future security environment.
  • We will develop and implement a CAF Retention Strategy to ensure our members remain qualified, competent and motivated. We will focus on issues where our forces have demanded improvement, such as career management, family support, mental health and wellness support and diversity, while considering areas of compensation and benefits.
  • We will give careful consideration to increasing the size of the Canadian Rangers and other capability enhancements. Following consultations held in 2016 and the development of specific options, we will refine possible courses of action.


A modern, well-equipped CAF is needed to support missions at home and abroad. Our focus will remain on the process of renewing our major equipment. Canada’s existing fleets of CF-18 fighter aircraft and maritime warships will be among our primary considerations.

  • This year, our focus will be the continued construction of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels; the design and production engineering of the Joint Support Ships; and advancing definition phase activities of the Canadian Surface Combatant Project. The National Shipbuilding Strategy will remain a cornerstone in our acquisition program to ensure Canada’s naval capability. The strategy will deliver additional benefits driving investment, jobs, growth and innovation across the wider economy.
  • We will continue to work closely with Public Services and Procurement Canada to launch an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft, focusing on options that match Canada’s defence needs. To meet Canada’s needs until the permanent CF-18 fighter jets replacement arrives, we will advance discussions to acquire an interim fleet.

Several new and replacement capabilities will be integrated into our maritime, land and aerospace environments this year.

  • In fall 2017, an interim Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment at-sea service will provide the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) with a provisional capability to replenish ships at sea with fuel and other critical supplies in non-threat environments until the future Joint Support Ships join the RCN fleet. This will allow the Navy to operate for extended periods away from home port without relying on foreign ships or ports of call.
  • We will begin to deliver a new standard military pattern truck that will replace the 35-year-old Medium Logistic Vehicle Wheeled fleet. These new vehicles will renew the capability to transport troops, cargo, and equipment by land both in Canada and in theatre.
  • We will begin to deliver new, more powerful and durable rifles to the Ranger Patrol Groups replacing the 70-year-old Lee-Enfield rifles.
  • Blue force tracking capabilities will be delivered to our infantry platoons and companies through the Integrated Soldier System Project. This technology will give commanders and troops in the field a real-time picture of the battlefield not possible with conventional maps, improving situational awareness on the ground.
  • We will continue to integrate the CH-148 Cyclone, a world-class maritime helicopter capable of a full range of missions, replacing the CH-124 Sea King as Canada’s main ship-borne maritime helicopter.


The Government is committed to ensuring that CAF personnel and their families have the support they need, including safe and modern facilities in which to live, work and train. In Budget 2016, the Government provided $200.5 million over two years to undertake infrastructure projects at CAF Bases and other defence properties across Canada. As part of this funding allocation, $50 million will be invested in the military housing portfolio. In response to the Auditor General’s 2015 Fall Report, we will implement the recommended changes to improve delivery of the military housing program.

We will bring forward a proposal to rationalize defence infrastructure in Canada. Our plan includes lowering energy costs through the use of performance contracts, reducing the total cost of ownership through the use of public/private partnership arrangements, and realizing a right-size infrastructure portfolio by producing a comprehensive and integrated national real property plan.

Indigenous Peoples

In support of the Government’s commitment to renew nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous Peoples, we will coordinate with the Indigenous Affairs Secretariat to ensure treaty implementation obligations relating to military operations, contracting, and land-use planning are met. We will further meet our obligations to Indigenous Peoples by effectively implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our aim is to achieve a relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

Future Force

The new defence policy will position the Defence Team to meet current and emerging challenges. Against this backdrop, in 2017 we will develop a new Investment Plan, refresh the Defence Acquisition Guide and update Force Posture and Readiness direction. Together, these documents will help to further articulate a sustainable way forward to deliver defence capabilities and provide our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen with the resources to ensure Canada’s national security now and into the future.

In accordance with the Minister’s mandate letter, we will continue to work closely with Public Safety to inform and advance a new Cyber Security Strategy. Together, in collaboration with other government departments, we will continue to develop and refine a security framework for cyber threats.

Through our science and technology projects, we will invest in projects that work to address the most pressing public safety and security issues facing Canada. We will focus on cyber and space operations and will continue to develop capabilities in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting processes. We will provide advice that informs and assists senior Government and military planners in their work to prepare the CAF and ensure we have the right capabilities in place to address future threats to Canada and Canada’s interests.

We have a long history of experimenting with new approaches to improve the safety and security of Canadians and protect Canada’s interests at home and abroad. Throughout the year, we will identify and test expected outcomes on experimentation approaches that directly impact Canadians. We will work to ensure that a fixed percentage of program funds are devoted to experimenting with new approaches to existing problems, measuring the impact of programs and reporting on our efforts.

Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability

Stable and sustainable defence funding will help drive the successful delivery of our plans and the achievement of results. Consistent with the Minister’s mandate letter commitment to work with the Minister of Finance to maintain current National Defence spending levels, including current planned increases, we will continue our work towards improving the management of multi-year budgeting and with central agencies to develop a more effective funding strategy for Defence.

Canadians expect us to fulfill our commitments and demand that we provide value for tax dollars. Through our Defence Renewal initiatives, we remain committed to building a lean and efficient organization and to generating savings to be reinvested in military capabilities and readiness. We will instill a strengthened culture of measurement, evaluation and innovation in program and policy design and delivery. We expect to make better decisions that ensure we obtain good value for tax dollars.


Clearly the success of our Departmental Plan depends upon the strength of the Defence Team and our resources, as well as our relationships with other government departments, industry and partners to deliver the capabilities necessary to deliver a strong and secure Canada.

Throughout 2017-18, we will continually monitor the implementation of the Departmental Plan and our progress towards achieving our goals. We will assess the effectiveness of our work, and we are committed to making necessary adjustments to ensure our priorities remain aligned with resources and Government policy and direction. In doing so, we will work closely with our partners to ensure defence decisions are made in the public interest. We are committed to delivering results for Canadians and look forward to sharing our achievements and lessons learned in future reports.

For more information on the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Planned results” section of this report.

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