Joint Capabilities

Cyber Security

  • Cyber capabilities and expertise are critical to defending Canada against 21st century threats.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces is continually working to strengthen mission-critical systems, integrate cyber activities into broader military operations, and develop new capabilities.
  • For example, we are investing $400 million into initiatives to enhance cyber threat identification, response capabilities, and the protection of National Defence's operational networks.
  • At the national level, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security serves as a unified source of expert advice and guidance.
  • The Cyber Centre works closely with government, the private sector, and academia to strengthen Canada's cyber resilience.
  • National Defence also works closely with other departments, Allied militaries, and our industry partners to identify evolving threats, increase interoperability, and share best practices.
  • Together, these efforts will ensure that Canada is able to confront any new cyber threat, including from malicious actors trying to exploit the current COVID-19 pandemic to advance their interests.

Key Facts

  • As committed in Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Canadian Armed Forces have created new cyber roles to attract talent and improve expertise.
    • Canadian Armed Forces members in cyber trades: 85
    • New cyber trade positions to be filled: 14
  • The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) has a mandate to conduct cyber operations and to assist the Canadian Armed Forces by providing technical and operational assistance.
  • Created in 2018 as part of CSE, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security unites existing operational cyber security expertise from Public Safety Canada, Shared Services Canada, and CSE.


Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Capital Program

  • Cyber activities are also conducted through the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Cyber Capital Program. Two key projects fall under this program:
    • Cyber Defence – Decision Analysis and Response Project: This project will improve cyber threat identification and incident response capabilities. It will also allow for the detection and characterization of suspicious activity, and provide the ability to contain and eradicate threats from DND/CAF networks.
    • Network Command and Control Integrated Situational Awareness Capability Project: This project will improve the monitoring of information technology (IT) services and provide enhanced information critical for decision making regarding IT infrastructure.

The Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Operator

  • The new cyber operator occupation includes both Reserve and Regular Force members who conduct defensive cyber operations. Providing full-time capability through part-time service assigned Primary Reserve units and formations perform these new roles, with the goal of enabling strategic decision-making, supporting operational objectives, and delivering tactical effects.

Active Cyber Operations

  • Strong, Secure, Engaged committed the CAF to assuming a more assertive posture in the cyber domain by hardening our defences and by conducting active cyber operations as part of government-authorized missions.
  • The Communications Security Establishment Act allows CSE to carry out foreign cyber operations to help protect federal (and designated) information and infrastructure, or to degrade, disrupt, influence, respond to, or interfere with, foreign entities in accordance with Canada's international affairs, defence, or security objectives.
    • CSE has always acted within its lawful authorities to help protect our forces wherever they are deployed, and under the 2019 CSE Act, can provide operational and technical assistance to DND/CAF, including in the conduct of active cyber operations.

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security

  • In June 2018, the Government of Canada released an updated National Cyber Security Strategy which sets out Canada's vision for security and prosperity in the digital age. The Strategy aims to bolster Canada's cyber security posture by focusing on three key themes: security and resilience, cyber innovation and leadership and collaboration.
  • The Strategy's core goals are reflected in Budget 2018's substantial investments in cyber security and built upon in Budget 2019. Among the new measures introduced as part of Budget 2018 and a key component of the Strategy is the creation of the Canadian Centre of Cyber Security (the Cyber Centre), housed at CSE.
  • The Cyber Centre consolidates the key cyber security operational units of the Government of Canada under a single roof. The Cyber Centre is a unified source of expert advice, guidance, services and support on cyber security operational matters, providing Canadian citizens and businesses with a clear and trusted place to turn for cyber security advice.

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Space Activities

  • Space capabilities are critical to Canada's national security, sovereignty, and economy.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces relies on satellites to support all of its operations, including for navigation, communications, and intelligence.
  • This is why we continue to make major investments in space-based capabilities.
  • For example, in 2019, Canada launched three RADARSAT Constellation Mission satellites, which enhance our ability to monitor Canada's maritime and northern approaches.
  • We also collaborate closely with our allies, partners, and industry to enhance and ensure the resilience of our space capabilities.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces cooperates extensively with the US, other Five Eyes partners, France, and Germany through the Combined Space Operations initiative.
  • This collaboration helps preserve our access to space, defend and protect our capabilities from threats, and provide continuous space services to allied and partner military operations.
  • The Canadian space workforce also represents nearly 10,000 jobs, while activities in the space sector support close to 11,000 additional jobs in the wider Canadian economy.
  • We will continue to invest in and deepen this collaboration, and to promote the responsible use and protection of space.

Key Facts

  • Canada operates alongside the US, United Kingdom, and Australia in the Combined Space Operations Centre.
  • Approximately 35 Canadian Armed Forces personnel perform space domain awareness and missile warning duties with NORAD.
  • National Defence's Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program has launched three space-related 'challenges' focused on identifying space objects, tracking debris, and protecting satellites.


  • National Defence maintains a collaborative relationship with other government departments to optimize whole-of-government space capability outcomes.
  • National Defence's space program, with the Royal Canadian Air Force as the functional authority, is organized around four main lines of operation:
    • Surveillance of space;
    • Surveillance from space (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance);
    • Positioning, navigation, and timing (e.g. Global Positioning System); and
    • Satellite communications.
  • National Defence also conducts space-related research and development projects supporting all four lines of National Defence space operations. In conjunction with the Canadian Space Agency, Defence Research and Development Canada operates the NEOSS at Space Surveillance research and development satellite.
  • Canada's most important partner in space is the US. Through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), where approximately 35 CAF members currently perform space domain awareness and missile warning duties embedded in several US units. Canada contributes its Sapphire satellite to the US Space Surveillance Network which helps increase awareness of where objects are located in space.
  • Since 2014, National Defence has also closely collaborated with Five Eyes partners under the Combined Space Operation (CSpO) initiative, which enables and enhances collaboration on military and defence space activities. Germany and France became members of CSpO in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
  • Canada also operates alongside the US, the UK, and Australia in the multilateral Combined Space Operations Centre to improve coordination for defensive space efforts. The Canadian Space Operations Centre, in Ottawa, and the Sensor System Operations Centre (SSOC), in North Bay, help monitor satellite movements and conduct routine collaboration and integration with the CSpOC.
  • Canada is actively seeking ways to deepen its cooperation with key allies and partners to: enhance the resilience of space capabilities; optimize space resources; promote responsible behavior in space; and enhance operational collaboration, including through increased participation in combined space operations.

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