The new Canadian defence policy: everything you need to know in one page.

GENERAL

  • Increase the size of the Regular Force by 3500 (to 71,500) and Reserve Force by 1500 (to 30,000). Total forces will exceed 100,00.
  • Navy: a commitment to fully fund previously announced plans for 15 new warships, two new support ships, “five or six” new patrol vessels (rather than six to eight), and further upgrades for the four submarines (they were already 20-years old when Canada acquired them in 1998).
  • Air Force: a commitment to fully fund not 65 but 88 new fighter aircraft.
  • Army: improve ground-based air defence, combat support vehicles, and heavy logistics vehicles.
  • But none of this to happen faster than previously planned.
  • The 5% growth in CAF personnel will take ten years.
  • The first new warship is still more than ten years off.
  • No dates for the CF-18 replacement.
  • No dates for Army improvements.

INCREASED CAPABILITIES?

  • The stated goals are for the CAF to be able to deploy two contingents of 500-1500, one “limited time” contingent of the same size, and three smaller contingents of 100-500.
  • This compares to the past deployment of over 3000 to Kandahar for five years.
  • “In other words, the aim of the defence plan … is to allow the Canadian Forces, a decade from now, to be able to do roughly what the Canadian Forces were doing a decade ago”. (Globe and Mail editorial June 8)

FUNDING

  • The plan promises “fixed defence funding” for 20 years to include $48.9 billion in new spending.
  • The defence policy paper, however, only has numbers for the next ten years during which annual spending is to rise from $20.7 billion this year (2017-18) to $32.7 billion in 2026-27. Which translates into an annual increase of about $1.2 billion.
  • The next two years anticipate virtually no annual increases.
  • Defence spending as a percentage of GDP may reach 1.4% in ten years, about what it was ten years ago at the height of the Afghanistan war.

CONCLUSION

The new defence policy: Let’s get on and do what we have to. Just not right away.

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