"Strong, Secure, Engaged” – A new defence policy for Canada


Thank you for the opportunity to be here today, it truly is an honour to join my colleague, the Minister of National Defence, on this momentous occasion for the Canadian Armed Forces and for Canada…

As my colleague just outlined, it is our women and men who serve that are at the core of this policy.  They give us their best every day and they deserve our best in return. 

This new policy will put the Canadian Armed Forces on a new course to meet the complex defence challenges of today, while also preparing our military for the future.

The total amount of cash funding available to Defence will increase from approximately $19 Billion this year to $32.7 Billion over the next 10 years, an increase of over 70%.

This will ensure stable, predictable, and realistic long-term funding to invest in new equipment and critical technologies for the Navy, Army, and Airforce.

Investing in the right equipment and technologies will enable the Forces to adapt to evolving challenges and opportunities over the coming decades.  Let me point out a just few key initiatives:

In the context of space – a domain that I’ve had the great fortune to experience first hand – and one that has consistently gained in importance for the military and for our country, this policy commits to investing in a range of new and enhanced capabilities, the Canadian Armed Forces will enhance its capabilities in:

  • space situational awareness;
  • space-based earth observation and maritime domain awareness;
  • and satellite communications that give us better global coverage, including in the arctic. 

This government will also work closely with allies, industry and academia to conduct leading edge research and development on new space technologies in order to better support CAF missions at home and abroad.

Like space, the cyber domain represents another critical area that our new defence policy has identified as one that has, and will become more important over the coming years.

It is recognized as an operational domain like Sea, Land, Air and Space by our closest allies, and now, by us.

The rapid exchange of data in sophisticated, computerized networks is essential for military systems to be effective. Speed and precision are needed to counter modern threats and to ensure interoperability with our allies.

As we all know, modern information technology brings significant benefits but it also creates vulnerabilities in the cyber realm.

I’m pleased that this policy addresses cyberspace from both an opportunity and threat perspective.  

In order to better leverage cyber capabilities in support of military operations, the Canadian Armed Forces is establishing a new Cyber Operator occupation as part of a broader cyber force initiative.  

I’d also like to note that reservists with specialized skill-sets will figure prominently in this new cyber force as Defence seeks to grow and enhance our efforts in this domain.

But having highly skilled people alone won’t be enough to defend our capabilities and maintain a leading edge militarily. We must also ensure that cybersecurity requirements are considered in all military procurement, operations and support. CAF’s new Cyber Mission Assurance Program will fulfill this goal, and will help protect Canada’s critical defence networks and equipment.

Another exciting area that this policy has identified as a crucial opportunity for investment is Remotely Piloted Systems – [also known as drones…].

These are important tools that help protect Canadian Armed Forces personnel and others in dangerous situations. They also enable operations in severe and inhospitable environments.

Remotely-piloted systems have a wide range of potential uses, including surveillance, safely disposing of bombs, detecting underwater vessels, or carrying heavy loads over irregular terrain [and precision strikes].

This government will collaborate with industry and academia to conduct research, develop and invest in capabilities to better protect our people and help our armed forces meet the challenges of modern operations.

Like our use of technology in space and cyber, we will ensure that the use of remotely piloted systems will at all times be consistent with domestic and international law.

In fact, it is this governments’ intention to provide leadership and promote the development of international norms for the appropriate, responsible, and lawful use of these systems and technologies.

Ladies and gentlemen, the investments in emerging technologies and domains of space, cyber and remotely piloted systems are but a few of the many initiatives that form our new defence policy. 

Canadians can be proud of our new defence policy. It is forward-looking, people-focussed, and fully funded. It will help the Forces maintain Canada’s defence today, and usher us, more securely, into tomorrow so that Canada will remain be strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world.

Thank you. 

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