Canada First Defence Strategy

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The Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS) is the military recruitment, procurement, and improvement strategy of the Canadian government to improve the overall effectiveness of the Canadian Forces. The strategy also aims to enforce Arctic sovereignty with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Coast Guard.[1][2]


The purpose of the Canada First Defence Strategy is to give Canada a modern military with clearly defined missions and capabilities. The strategy focuses on many key military functions and operations and on improving the equipment and fleets that the Canadian Forces operates.


The Canada First Defence Strategy is working on six core missions as level of ambition for the Canadian Forces. According to the strategy the forces must be able to support all of the following operations and if necessary, support them all simultaneously.

  • Conduct daily domestic and continental operations, including in the Arctic and through NORAD.
  • Support a major international event in Canada, such as the 2010 Winter Olympics.
  • Respond to a major terrorist attack.
  • Support civilian authorities during a crisis in Canada such as a natural disaster.
  • Lead and/or conduct a major international operation for an extended period.
  • Deploy forces in response to crises elsewhere in the world for shorter periods.


The Canada First Defence Strategy is also working to increase the number of personnel in the Canadian Forces in order to improve the military's operational effectiveness. The Canadian Forces currently has approximately 65,000 active personnel and 26,000 reserve personnel. However, the CFDS plans to increase personnel levels to 70,000 full-time and 30,000 reserve (mix of full- and part-time) sometime in the next 20 years, with an increase to 67,000 full-time personnel by 2009/2010, 68,000 by 2011/2012 and 69,300 by 2014/2015.[3] The reserves (combined full- and part-time) should reach 27,000 by 2011/2012 and 28,000 by 2014/2015.

Equipment improvement and replacement[edit]

The CFDS provides a plan to invest $15 billion in the next few years on the improvement and replacement of Canadian Forces' major fleets and equipment, to include:

Another $20 billion has been committed for equipment replacement and improvement in the future, to include:

  • fixed wing search and rescue aircraft -Expected contract for 2015
  • destroyers and frigates -Expected contract for 2018
  • maritime patrol aircraft -Upgrades planned on 14 Aurora aircraft to keep them flying until 2030
  • 65 new next generation fighter aircraft to replace the CF-18 Hornets as the primary air superiority fighter -Contract expected in 2019
  • land combat vehicles and systems -Ongoing procurement throughout the timespan of the CFDS


The Canada First Defence Strategy is also primarily focused on the funding for the Canadian Forces, and the strategy outlines plans to increase funding for the Canadian Forces from $18 billion in 2007–2008 to over $30 billion in 2027–2028. The overall funding and investments in the forces will amount to $490 billion over the 20-year period of the strategy. This project was cancelled by the government after the end of the war in Afghanistan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Canada First Defence Strategy - Canadian Forces contribution to sovereignty and security in the north". Department of National Defence. 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  2. ^ "Canada First Defence Strategy". Department of National Defence. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  3. ^ "SECTION II: Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome". National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. Government of Canada. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2014.