Strategic Issue Paper for the Minister of National Defence: Continental Defence – Strong at Home, Secure in North America

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  • Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) established a strong foundation for Canada’s future defence, but deferred key funding and policy decisions on continental and domestic defence, which have become more urgent in the intervening years.
  • Changing trends in the threat environment foreshadowed in SSE and compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic have advanced more quickly than anticipated, underscoring: a return to Great Power competition; advancing adversary military capability [REDACTED] increasing interest in [REDACTED] the Arctic; and the impacts of climate change. [REDACTED] Faced with these changes Canada must become more self-reliant, remain a credible partner, and invest in domestic and continental defence. [REDACTED]

The Challenge

The pan-domain threats Canada faces today blur distinctions between national and international security, peace and war, and, safety, security and defence. Geography no longer provides North America the protection it once did: [REDACTED] As well as [REDACTED] of the Arctic and the mounting impacts of climate change, including the growth of demands on the CAF for assistance in emergencies.  

Context and analysis

  • Significant changes in the security environment since the publication of SSE underscore the fact that Canada cannot rely to the extent that it traditionally has on a strategy of addressing threats before they reach its shores. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many of these pressures and highlighted weaknesses in Canada’s domestic response.


  • In order to holistically strengthen Canada’s defence, security, and resilience, [REDACTED]



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