Plans at a glance

In 2018-19, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will carry out their mandate to achieve results related to six Core Responsibilities:

  • Operations
  • Ready Forces
  • Defence Team
  • Future Force
  • Procurement of Capabilities
  • Sustainable Bases, Information Technology Systems and Infrastructure

National Defence will focus on the following priorities to anticipate emerging threats and challenges, adapt to changing circumstances, and act effectively in cooperation with our allies and partners:

Canada’s new vision for Defence – Strong at home, Secure in North America, Engaged in the world

Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s defence policy (SSE), articulates a new strategic vision for the Department of National Defence. This is a vision in which Canada is Strong at home, Secure in North America and Engaged in the world. SSE is ambitious but realistic, providing direction on Canadian defence priorities over a 20-year horizon. The policy puts people at its core and commits to a range of new investments for the CAF that will deliver the necessary resources and capabilities for a strong and agile military to meet Canada’s defence needs against the backdrop of a complex and constantly evolving global security environment.

Our activities are focused on building the capacity and capability for the CAF to execute all concurrent operations as outlined in SSE. This starts with updating the force structure to ensure we have the right balance of Regular, Reserve and civilian members in the right roles and missions. It also includes providing the necessary support and services to our military personnel to ensure that they and their families can thrive, as well as expanding upon existing and adding new capabilities. The activities and priorities outlined by SSE will enable the CAF to meet its objectives to the full extent desired.

Please visit the National Defence website for a comprehensive look at Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s defence policy iv.

Well supported, diverse, resilient people and families

Canada’s defence policy puts people at its core. The dedicated military personnel and civilians, who make up the fully integrated civilian-military Defence Team, are our greatest asset. Investing in our people is our most important commitment. The success of any mission is dependent on having healthy, well-trained, and motivated personnel. As we continue to implement the initiatives outlined within SSE, these principles will form the foundation from which we build.

To deliver on the commitments made in SSE, from supporting new priority areas such as space, cyber and intelligence, recapitalizing core fleets and investing in new capabilities, as well as providing the necessary care and support to our people, we need to grow the Defence Team. We are increasing the size of the CAF by 3,500 Regular Force and 1,500 Primary Reserve members and hiring an additional 1,150 civilian members. To succeed in a highly competitive labour market, this will mean reducing the time required to recruit new personnel, and better communicating the opportunities and varied career options resident within the CAF. It also means supporting key recruitment priorities, including hiring more women, increasing diversity, meeting Reserve Force requirements, and promoting priority occupations.

We embrace the strengths inherent in an organization that is committed to the ideals of diversity, respect and inclusion, including striving for gender equality and building a workforce that leverages the diversity of Canadian society. That is why we have committed to increasing the recruitment and retention of under-represented populations in the CAF, including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous peoples, and members of visible minorities. For example, we have committed to increase the representation of women in the CAF by 1% annually over 10 years until we reach 25%. Through our comprehensive Diversity Strategy and Action Plan, we will build a Defence Team comprised of people with new perspectives and a broader range of cultural, linguistic, gender, age, and other unique attributes. This will contribute directly to our efforts to develop a deeper understanding of our increasingly complex world and to respond effectively to the challenges it presents. We will ensure the integration of GBA+ in all defence activities through the support of a newly created National Defence joint responsibility centre, which will provide: training; expertise; process and systems alignment; and oversight, monitoring and reporting.

We are committed to providing a working environment for defence civilians and military personnel that fosters a workplace free of harassment and discrimination, and characterized by mutual trust, support and respect for the dignity of every person in the workplace.

To eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian military, we are continuing to implement Operation HONOUR, including fully implementing all of the recommendations of the Deschamps Report, and will advance initiatives focused on taking care of victims with responsive, individualized support across the organization. We are monitoring and measuring 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.

We have a fundamental moral obligation to care for our military members who have uniquely ascribed to the tenets of service before self and accepted unlimited liability in the service of their country. We are reinventing the transition process for CAF members who leave the Armed Forces, or who transition back into service after recovering from illness or injury. We are working with Veterans Affairs Canada to modernize the way our members, veterans, and families are supported, as they serve and beyond.

Investments to enhance capability and capacity

The government is committed to ensuring the CAF have the modern capabilities they need to succeed in a complex and constantly evolving world. The CAF must be ready and able to deliver across a spectrum of operations – from domestic humanitarian assistance and disaster response to counter-terrorism and peace support operations, to high intensity combat operations. SSE outlines the capabilities and investments needed over the next 20 years to ensure the women and men of CAF are ready and responsive to support and defend Canada.

To deliver on these goals, the Defence Team will reinvest in core capabilities and invest in new areas that will allow the CAF to succeed in meeting Canada’s defence needs into the future.

In terms of reinvesting the core fleets of the CAF, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) will be provided with the full complement of 15 Canadian Surface Combatant ships required to replace its existing frigates and retired destroyers – one of the largest acquisitions in Canadian shipbuilding history. The Canadian Army (CA) will undergo a recapitalization of much of its land combat capabilities and its aging vehicle fleets, while modernizing its command and control systems. Additionally, it will expand its light forces capability, which will allow it to be more agile and effective in complex operational theatres, such as peace operations. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will acquire 88 advanced fighter aircraft to enforce Canada’s sovereignty and to meet Canada’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commitments while recapitalizing many of its aircraft fleets such as the CP-140 Aurora anti-submarine warfare and surveillance aircraft. Finally, the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command will expand its operational capacity and invest in capabilities that enable rapidly deployable and agile Special Operations Forces to provide their unique skills both at home and abroad.

To ensure the CAF are modern and relevant into the future, a number of investments are being made in modern capabilities, particularly in the areas of space, cyber and remotely piloted systems. Canada is modernizing its space capabilities and improving the protection of these critical assets against sophisticated threats, while continuing to promote the peaceful use of outer space. We are assuming a more assertive posture in the cyber domain by hardening our defences, and by improving our capability to conduct active cyber operations against potential adversaries in the context of government-authorized military missions. Given the unique value provided by remotely piloted systems, the CAF are also investing in an extensive range of new capabilities for the RCN, the CA, and the RCAF including remotely piloted aerial systems.

Defence innovation

Innovative technology, knowledge, and problem solving are critical for Canada and its allies to mitigate new threats, stay ahead of potential adversaries, and meet evolving defence and security needs. In this environment, Canada’s defence and security stakeholders need a fundamentally new approach to innovation to allow them to better tap into the extraordinary talent and ingenuity resident across the country. The Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program is launching a number of coordinated new initiatives that will transform the way we generate solutions to complex problems by:

  • Providing financial support to innovators and researchers to perform research, generate knowledge or solve problems to address defence and security challenges that DND and security partners will identify;
  • Supporting research and development networks to address such challenges; and,
  • Supporting innovation from problem definition to early adoption of the solution.

Increasing investment in academic outreach activities, including through the Defence Engagement Program, new scholarship programs and engagement grants, as well as the expanding expert briefings and collaboration networks will help to increase and improve access to intellectual capacity on defence issues, create a more sustainable defence academic community in Canada, and enhance public dialogue and debate on defence issues.

Modernizing the business of Defence

Effective and timely defence procurement is vital to ensure the CAF is well-equipped to deliver on the important missions assigned to it by the Government of Canada. Military procurement can be a highly complex undertaking involving many approvals across multiple departments. We are streamlining defence procurement, improving the timely acquisition of military capabilities and increasing economic benefits to create jobs for Canadians.

In recognition of the importance of responsible energy and environmental stewardship in today’s strategic context, National Defence has developed an integrated strategy for energy and environmental management, the Defence Energy and Environment Strategy. This strategy marks a new integrated policy perspective on energy, as a strategic capability, vital for the CAF’s domestic and deployed operations, and environmental issues. It provides a common vision and goals to help DND better manage energy and the environment holistically, across the broad spectrum of activities in the department, and in the RCN, CA and RCAF.

Infrastructure is an absolute necessity for all CAF activities – whether it is the bases and installations where the military train and prepare for their missions, the support network required to maintain and operate equipment, or housing and infrastructure needed to ensure CAF members and their families are well-supported. We are encouraging modernized management of our lands and buildings, supporting infrastructure renewal and helping meet greening targets for the government.

Renew nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous Peoples

Underlying the delivery of the above priority areas, is a commitment to improving our relationship with, and outcomes for, Indigenous people. In support of the government’s commitment to renew nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous Peoples, we are working with the Indigenous Affairs Secretariat to ensure awareness and compliance with our obligations (e.g. contracting, land-use planning, legal duty to consult, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) towards Indigenous Peoples, as reflected in government policies and administrative practices, laws and relevant signed agreements with Indigenous Peoples. Further, we are contributing to a number of government-wide priorities related to Indigenous Peoples including the review of our policies and operational practices to ensure alignment with reconciliation. Our aim is to achieve a relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

For more information on the Defence’s plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Planned results” section of this report.

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