Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, marked the 5th anniversary of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE). Launched in 2017, SSE remains an ambitious yet realistic plan that outlines Canada’s defence priorities over 20 years.
Recognizing that Canada cannot meet its defence needs without the dedicated, motivated and highly skilled people who work tirelessly to defend Canada and promote Canadian values and interests at home and abroad, SSE puts our people at the centre of everything that we do, increasing support to our Canadian Armed Forces personnel, to their families, support to their careers, and to establishing a more diverse and resilient Defence Team.
Canada’s defence policy committed to significant investments to provide the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment, infrastructure, technologies and capabilities needed to meet modern and complex challenges at home and around the world, and it established stable, predictable and realistic long-term funding for National Defence.
Much has been accomplished over the past five years, but we still have many important initiatives underway. SSE remains our roadmap for National Defence over the coming years, as we look to adapt to an evolving security environment that has changed significantly since the policy’s launch. Increasing threats by state and non-state actors, shifting power dynamics, and above and below threshold operations continue to cause uncertainty and instability into an increasingly strained geopolitical environment.
For these reasons, Canada, alongside our partners must continue to press forward, to invest in leading-edge technologies, to innovate and modernize our capacities and capabilities, and to enable our people to better anticipate, adapt and act – as we defend Canadian interests at home and support our partners and allies by upholding the rules-based international order.
Minister Anand said, “As we look back on the last five years of Strong, Secure, Engaged, we can be proud of what we have accomplished. But we must also look to the future to ensure we can meet the challenges of the evolving defence and security environment. In the face of a changing world, we are conducting a swift update of Canada’s defence policy over the coming months, as announced in Budget 2022. This will help us harmonize current and planned projects with new and emerging priorities, and will integrate and align our efforts to maintain a cohesive, comprehensive, and responsive defence policy that reflects our evolving reality and enables the Canadian Armed Forces to conduct the difficult tasks we ask of them.”
- Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged comprises more than 100 initiatives that includes 342 capital projects and 87 non-capital initiatives. As we mark the 5th anniversary of SSE, we take pride in the work completed to date which includes:
- We have made strong progress on improving project approval rates. The Equipment, Information Management, and Infrastructure project portfolio is 75% completed or in the later stages of the procurement process [as of 31 May 2022]
- In partnership with Canadian industry, we are delivering the right equipment, at the right time, to the Canadian Armed Forces. For example, we are moving ahead with a new fleet of 88 state-of-the-art fighters jets the most significant investment in decades. And we are procuring six Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, two of which have been delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy, with a third vessel – HMCS Max Bernays – set to be delivered in the fall.
- Significant progress was made in the areas of military and civilian human resources, research and development and international policy non-capital initiatives. Currently this work is 71 % complete or in the Implementation phase including the difficult but essential tasks of CAF reconstitution, prioritizing reconciliation efforts and building a more inclusive and diverse Defence Team suited for the 21st century free from harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct.
- We are Strong at home, when:
- We invest in our people. In March, the Total Health and Wellness Strategy was launched. In addition, we have made great progress on the delivery of new Health Care Centers to our bases with 5 out of the 10 at Initial Operating Capability.
- We reduce our carbon foot print. Our first fully Net Zero carbon facility is located at CFB Gagetown.
- We are Secure in North America as:
- We advance NORAD modernization efforts.
- We invest in the Future Force with new equipment like the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships. The first ship, HMCS Harry DeWolfe, participated in Operation NANOOK in Canada’s north, as well as the United States-led counter-drug Operation CARIBBE, and completed a circumnavigation of North America.
- We are Engaged in the world:
- By deploying approximately 1,400 CAF members in Central and Eastern Europe as part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures under Operation REASSURANCE.