Defence Policy Update

  • Our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) is the foundation for how the CAF is supported and equipped, ensuring that we are strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged globally.
  • While SSE accurately identified shifts in the security environment, the world has evolved in significant ways since its release, and it could not have anticipated the speed and intensity with which those shifts have taken place.
  • New and emerging threats require us to conduct a defence policy update and meet today’s security challenges.
  • This update will set out a clear plan of action to ensure that the CAF has the resources and capabilities required to meet its mandate.
  • Updating our defence policy is vital to ensuring that we have the necessary direction, resources, and future-ready capabilities to adapt to a dynamic and complex global operating environment.
  • As part of this process, it is important to hear from our partners and stakeholders, including parliamentarians.

Key Facts

    • In Budget 2022 the Government of Canada committed to conduct a review of our defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) in order to update it for a world that has become less secure and less predictable.
    • National Defence is committed to engaging with partners and Allies during the review process, as well as with Industry, Parliament, defence experts, and Indigenous Partners.
    • Launched in 2017, SSE continues to be National Defence’s guiding strategy for responding effectively to a changing world.
    • SSE aims to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces are a modern, capable, combat-ready military that can keep Canada secure and contribute to a more peaceful world.
    • Through SSE, National Defence committed to increasing defence spending by 70% over ten years (2016-17 to 2026-27).
    • 77% of SSE projects are currently in the implementation/close out phase.


  • On March 27, 2023, National Defence hosted two separate engagements with members of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security, Defence and Veterans Affairs (SECD) and the House Standing Committee on National Defence (NDDN). The purpose of these engagements was to hear from Parliamentarians on key defence issues to inform the DPU process.
  • Key themes across both discussions included: personnel issues (recruitment and culture change), Arctic and NORAD, as well as procurement challenges.
  • More specifically, SECD members focused on:
    • Arctic Security: Senators underscored the importance of National Defence’s relationships with Indigenous Peoples, especially with regards to Arctic security, particularly when it comes to modernizing NORAD. They also discussed the implications of Sweden and Finland’s accession in NATO, and suggested that National Defence should work to strengthen the bonds with both countries to share best practices and knowhow. Senators also highlighted the need to upgrade or renovate northern infrastructure, particularly in response to the impacts of climate change in the Arctic.
    • Personnel: On recruitment issues, members of SECD underscored the need for the CAF to develop strategies to better attract and recruit young people to the CAF. Senators pressed the need to offer better working conditions, higher salaries, and better equipment to CAF members. Additionally, members raised the need for the CAF to reflect on the diversity in Canada’s population to better integrate their messaging in culture change.
    • Procurement: On defence procurement, members agreed that the system needs to be fixed and suggested that National Defence should invest in interim capabilities to fill capacity gaps created due to lengthy procurement processes. Senators pointe out the importance of supply chains for military equipment and suggested that Defence actively look at this issue, as our ability to respond to increasing threats of conflict relies heavily on supply chains.

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