HALIFAX --- “Strong, Secure, Engaged,” Canada’s new defence policy, recognizes that the long-term success of Canada’s military depends on the women and men who make up the Canadian Armed Forces. Our people, across all ranks, and from all walks of life, are our most important asset, and they are at the core of the new policy.
Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan today met with members of the Royal Canadian Navy in Halifax to outline new investments that will better equip Canada’s Navy to meet the needs of a complex maritime security environment.
Earlier this month, the Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report on the cost of the Canadian Surface Combatant project noting that, based on the previous project budget, the Navy could only afford six of the required 15 ships. The government understands that more needs to be done for the Navy and “Strong, Secure, Engaged” commits the funding required to acquire the full complement of 15 Canadian Surface Combatants.
Canada’s defence policy will build a future force – and future fleet – that is ready to defend our three-ocean nation with the longest coastline of any country in the world. The policy provides the full funding required for two Queenston-class Joint Support Ships, and five to six Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships. A range of capabilities will also be upgraded including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, and armament, as well as upgraded lightweight torpedoes carried by surface ships, maritime helicopters, and maritime patrol aircraft. These capabilities will enable the Navy to continue to defend our country and work with our allies and partners to maintain global maritime security.
In addition, “Strong, Secure, Engaged” commits to the refit and modernization of Canada’s four Victoria-class submarines in the mid-2020s to ensure their continued effectiveness into the mid-2030s. These investments are vital to our security, which benefit from the intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that only a submarine can provide.
While in Halifax, Minister Sajjan also delivered a keynote address at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce to highlight Canada’s new vision for defence.
The women and men of our Navy have delivered for Canada and its allies and partners time and again. Through “Strong, Secure, Engaged,” Canada will provide the ships and equipment that are long overdue and much needed, as our Canadian Armed Forces members work to make Canada strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world.
“It’s no secret that the Canadian Armed Forces has been underfunded and underequipped for decades. Quite simply, governments weren’t backing up their promises with stable and predictable funding. The Royal Canadian Navy has been under the strain of this problem for far too long. We are pledging real investments to make a real difference – and a real impact – for both the Navy and its dedicated women and men,” said Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan.
To ensure continued support to the Navy, Strong, Secure, Engaged will:
* Provide $17.5 billion on an accrual basis ($53.5 billion on a cash basis) to fund equipment projects for the RCN over the next 20 years.
* Replace the surface fleet through investments in 15 Canadian Surface Combatants. Defence estimates the cost of 15 ships at between $56 and $60 billion over the lifetime of the purchase, which extends beyond the 20 years covered in the policy. The policy sets aside funding to deliver the full complement of ships the Navy needs to provide capability across the full range of operations.
* Acquire new or enhanced naval intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, upgraded armament, and additional systems for current and future platforms allowing for more effective offensive and defensive naval capabilities.
* Upgrade lightweight torpedoes carried by surface ships, maritime helicopters, and maritime patrol aircraft.
* Modernize the Victoria-class submarines – a vital capability to both the defence of Canada and protection of Canadian naval assets in deployed operations, providing stealth sea control and sea denial capabilities.
* Modernize our procurement process so that we can deliver the equipment and capabilities the Navy needs in a more timely and streamlined manner.
* Improve the procurement process within National Defence to reduce departmental approval times by 50 percent, allow over 80 percent of defence procurement contracts to be managed internally.
* Transform the Reserves enabling a greater full-time capability through part-time service.
The launch of Strong, Secure, Engaged concludes the most comprehensive review process in Canadian defence and security history – a year-long review process that included open and transparent consultations with Canadians, parliamentarians, defence experts, allies, and partners.