We would encourage you to read the new policy. It sets out a bold new vision for National Defence:
- a transformed Canadian Forces: more relevant, responsive, and effective;
- a reorganized command and control structure, centred on the creation of Canada Command - a single national operational command headquarters;
- a focus on integrated operations of our maritime, land, air, and special operations capabilities to deliver the right mix of forces to the right place, at the right time, to produce the right result;
- a new emphasis on the defence of Canada, our airspace and maritime approaches, including the protection of Canadian interests in the North; and
- a focus overseas on addressing the security challenges of failed and failing states based on the three-block-war concept.
The statement is, in effect, the blueprint for Canadian defence transformation.
The Government's new defence policy sets high standards for us to meet, but it has also recognized that it needs to reinvest in our institution: in Budget 2005, it announced a defence spending increase of nearly $13 billion over five years. This funding will be used to expand the Canadian Forces by 5,000 Regular Force and 3,000 Reserve personnel, improve our operational sustainability, and purchase new equipment such as medium-lift helicopters, utility aircraft, medium trucks, and specialized training facilities for Joint Task Force 2. It will also lay the foundations for further transformation initiatives set out in the Statement.
The Statement provides a welcome focus for our activities, but it is only the first step, and there is a good deal of work ahead of us in moving transformation from concept to reality. Change of this magnitude will not happen overnight, but the process has already begun. The Chief of the Defence Staff has established four Action Teams - on command and control, capabilities, force generation, and organizing for transformation - that will move the agenda forward. Some of the work of these teams will be reflected in a paper that National Defence will publish in the coming months that will provide more detail on the capabilities and force structure required to implement the new policy.
Your involvement in the implementation of the new policy will be essential. Operational effectiveness is at the heart of the transformation agenda - and, from Private to General, today's Canadian Forces have more direct operational experience than at any time in decades. As far as the Department's civilian staff is concerned, the broad nature of transformation means that your expertise and advice - on policy, procurement, human resources, defence, science, public affairs, and administration - will be no less critical if this team effort is to succeed. As we move forward with transformation, you will be kept informed on the way ahead, and we will be looking to ensure that the overall transition proceeds as smoothly as possible.
The Defence Policy Statement builds upon what we have learned over the last fifteen years, both before and after September 11th. Throughout this period, whether protecting Canadians at home, or participating in operations overseas, the Canadian Forces have done a superb job, adapting to the most demanding of circumstances. The defence organization as a whole showed an ability to innovate and make the most of its resources. The Government was fortunate in being able to draw from your collective experience, expertise and insight in developing its new defence policy. It has now settled on a new vision for the Canadian Forces, and we know that we can count on your continuing professionalism and dedication in making this new vision a reality.