Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin discuss situation in Afghanistan and reinforce defence ties

News release

August 14, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Canada and the United States share an important and valued bilateral relationship, which includes a close defence partnership. This is underscored by a commitment to working together to ensure the defence and security of North America.

Today, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan spoke by telephone with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and efforts to reinforce defence cooperation between Canada and the U.S.

Secretary Austin expressed appreciation for Canada’s commitment to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghan refugees who have been forced to flee Afghanistan. The Minister and the Secretary discussed efforts by Canada and the United States to protect diplomatic personnel and locally-engaged staff and agreed to continue close collaboration on this matter. Canada will continue working diligently to resettle Afghans who assisted the Canadian mission in the country.

During the call, Minister Sajjan and Secretary Austin also approved two joint statements: one regarding enhancing continental defence and security, including North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) modernization; and the other on strategic policy consultation.

Canada will continue cooperating with the U.S. to enhance NORAD’s ability to execute the missions outlined in the NORAD Agreement, as it has for over 60 years, while adapting to an evolving security environment. The Joint Statement on NORAD Modernization, approved today by Minister Sajjan and Secretary Austin, recognizes the enduring and renewed importance of NORAD, and sets out shared priorities and ideas for new investments that will ensure this unique binational command has the modern capabilities needed to protect our nations against evolving threats.  

Canada remains committed to improved information exchange and continued consultations with the U.S., as it pertains to various national defence strategies. The Joint Statement on Consultation on Strategic Documents was officially adopted by both nations today, recognizing the value of strategic dialogue and reflecting both nations’ long-standing practice of ensuring open and ongoing collaboration on issues of strategic interest.

Canada appreciates U.S. efforts to strengthen consultation with allies and partners and looks forward to future exchanges on our shared challenges in North America and around the world.

Quotes

“Canada and the United States are friends, partners, and allies. Canada will continue to take necessary steps to protect our personnel and staff in Afghanistan in coordination with our American partners. We will also continue working together to resettle the Afghans who assisted our missions in Afghanistan. My meeting today with Secretary Austin was a great opportunity to discuss our collective security and ensure that our two countries remain strong at home and secure in North America in the face of emerging threats. I look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Austin to enhance our close security, defence and military partnership.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • On February 23, 2021, Canada and the United States committed to a Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, which includes a commitment to bolster cooperation on defense and security.

  • The Government of Canada has been clear in signalling its commitment to the defence of North America – including our defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged, the safety, security and defence chapter of the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, and the Minister of National Defence’s mandate letters underscoring the importance of NORAD modernization and continental defence. 

  • NORAD is a Canada and United States binational organization, charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.

Associated links

Contacts

Daniel Minden
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100
Email: daniel.minden@forces.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333
Email: mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

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