As autocratic regimes threaten the rules-based international order, the security and defence impacts of climate change increase, and our competitors develop new technologies like hypersonic weapons and advanced cruise missiles, there is a pressing need to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) that has kept Canadians and Americans safe for over 60 years.
Today, Defence Minister Anita Anand, accompanied by General Wayne Eyre, the Chief of Defence Staff, and Lieutenant-General Alain Pelletier, Deputy Commander of NORAD, announced Canada’s plan to modernize Canada’s continental defence capabilities and protect Canadians from new and emerging threats.
Supported by an investment of $3 billion over six years from existing Budget 2022 allocations, starting in 2022-23, with $1.9 billion in remaining amortization (or $4.9 billion on a cash basis), the plan includes a series of new and enhanced capabilities to ensure our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and NORAD can detect, deter and defend Canadians against threats well into the future.
These capabilities fall under five, inter-related areas of investment that will:
Bolster our ability to detect threats earlier, and more precisely, by modernizing our surveillance systems. We will build a new Northern Approaches Surveillance system that will significantly expand the CAF and NORAD’s situational awareness of who and what is entering Canadian airspace from the North, and we will continue to strengthen the CAF’s current space-based surveillance capabilities.
Improve our ability to understand and communicate threats to those who need it, when they need it, through investments in modern technology. We will harness the full capability of 21st century computing and invest further in state-of-the-art tools such as modernized command and control information systems, upgraded radio communications capabilities, and enhanced satellite communications in the Arctic.
Strengthen our ability to deter and defeat aerospace threats by modernizing our air weapons systems. We will procure new, advanced air-to-air missiles that can engage threats from short, medium and long-ranges, and that will be compatible with Canada’s modern future fighter fleet, to be certain that our Canadian Armed Forces have the capabilities they need to track, assess and engage targets.
Ensure our Canadian Armed Forces can launch and sustain a strong military presence across the country, including in Canada’s North, through investments in new infrastructure and support capabilities. We will acquire additional air-to-air refuelling aircraft, upgrade CAF infrastructure at four locations in Canada’s North, improve CAF main operating bases and quick reaction alert capabilities across the country, and modernize our air operational training infrastructure. And to ensure that new infrastructure fulfills the needs of our military and maximizes broader benefits for Canadians, we will deliver these initiatives working closely with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities.
Future-proof our capabilities to defend North America through investments in science and technology. We will create a science and technology program that will assess new and emerging threats, and access and co-develop technological solutions to address them, alongside the United States, which will ensure our defence investments keep pace with rapidly evolving military threats and solutions into the future.
Taken together, these investments will bolster NORAD and CAF’s ability to protect Canadians against new and emerging military threats to North America, protect North America as a base for full and free engagement abroad, and reinforce NATO’s Western flank at a time where autocratic regimes are seeking to threaten the rules-based international order.
Long term investments will also strengthen Canada’s innovation and industrial sectors, while generating significant economic and job creation benefits across the country, and they will offer meaningful new opportunities to deepen National Defence’s strong northern, territorial, and Indigenous partnerships as we work together to advance shared objectives.
Our plan builds on the foundations that the Government has set for NORAD modernization through investments in Budgets 2021 and 2022, and is in line with the priority areas outlined in the Joint Statement on NORAD Modernization from August 2021. Budget 2022 commits to a Defence Policy update, through which the Government will further review the resources, roles and responsibilities of the CAF, to reflect our changing world.