About the Canadian Forces
- Who We Are
- The Three Environments
- Military Personnel
- The Operational Commands
- What We Do
- How We Do It
- Our Future
- Join Us!
- Show Your Support
Canadian Forces (CF) members are proud to serve Canada by defending its values, interests and sovereignty at home and abroad.
The Chief of the Defence Staff, or CDS, is General Thomas J. Lawson. He is responsible for the conduct of military operations and for the readiness of the Canadian Forces to carry out the tasks that Parliament assigns through the Minister. The CDS authority extends to the Navy, the Army and the Air force as well as to the four commands.
The Department of National Defence (DND) is the largest federal government department. DND and the CF together have a budget of approximately 18 billion dollars, and over 110,000 employees, including:
- 65,000 Regular Force members;
- 25,000 Reserve Force members (including 4,000 Canadian Rangers); and
- 28,000 civilians.
The Canadian Forces serve on the sea, on land, and in the air, with the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force.
Canada’s Navy is a highly adaptable and flexible force. While being Canada's outer line of defense against an armed aggressor, it conducts sovereignty patrols, search and rescue operations, and assists other government departments in everything from disaster relief to law enforcement, such as conducting fishery or drug patrols. The Navy also supports Canadian foreign policy by remaining engaged internationally in everything from humanitarian assistance, to peace support operations, to maritime security operations.
The Canadian Army’s mission is to provide trained, combat-ready, agile and quickly responsive troops to meet Canada’s defense objectives. The Canadian Army is ready to respond to conflicts across the globe. With an international reputation for excellence, the well-equipped Canadian soldier is instrumental in the fight for freedom, stability and human rights around the world. Through the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), the Army is also prepared to send soldiers and equipment to assist international and national authorities with natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, storms, and forest fires.
Royal Canadian Air Force protects Canadians, Canadian sovereignty and Canadian interests at home and abroad. The Air Force defends Canadian airspace and, working with the Navy, Army and other government departments, conducts maritime and northern patrols, search and rescue missions, and intercepts of vessels carrying illegal drugs. The Royal Canadian Air Force also airlifts military personnel and supplies at home and abroad, and moves disaster relief supplies to stricken regions. Abroad, combat-ready forces take an active role in multinational missions, representing Canada's interests and helping maintain global stability.
Chief of Military Personnel (CMP), on behalf of the Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS), provides functional direction/guidance to the Canadian Forces (CF) on all military personnel management matters, monitors compliance with CF personnel management policies, and is accountable for the effective management of the CF Personnel System. CMP is responsible for the development of strategies, policies and programs that foster and maintain the profession of arms as an honourable and desirable career.
The Five Personnel Functions performed by CMP are:
- Recruit: includes attraction, recruiting and selection of CF members.
- Train and Educate: focuses on individual training, education, and career management for CF members.
- Prepare: includes medical, dental and spiritual support, all of which are focused on preparing a healthy – medically, dentally and spiritually fit force ensuring individuals are healthy and robust throughout their careers.
- Support: includes casualty support, family support, fitness, sports, the commissariat, insurance, compensation and benefits, employment equity and diversity, Official Languages, and conflict resolution policy and programs.
- Honour and Recognize: focuses on honouring and recognizing military personnel and their families and military history and heritage.
To be successful, CMP, in consultation with Senior Officers and Operational Commands, has a responsibility to develop and implement policies and programs that ensure that a "competent, committed and professional" work force is available to accomplish the operational mission.
Two operational structures, called "commands", are in place for a responsive and efficient Canadian Forces creating a synergy among the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force and Special Operations Forces. The two commands are:
Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) anticipates and conducts Canadian Forces operations, and develops, generates and integrates joint force capabilities for operations.
CJOC is responsible for conducting full-spectrum Canadian Forces operations at home, on the continent of North America, and around the world. With its integrated command-and-control structure, CJOC directs these operations from their earliest planning stages through to mission closeout, and ensures that national strategic goals are achieved.
CJOC anticipates operations by understanding the operating environment and preparing for potential operations.
Canadian Special Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) provides the Government of Canada with agile, high-readiness Special Operations Forces capable of conducting special operations across the spectrum of conflict at home and abroad.
The mandate of Canadian Forces is three-fold:
- Protecting Canada and defending our sovereignty.
- Working with Canada’s closest ally, the United States, to defend North America.
- Contributing to international peace and security through operations around the world, most often in partnership with allies from other countries.
Because Canada is the number one priority, every day, over 9,000 members of the Canadian Forces look out for our peace and security on the home front. They patrol Canada’s coasts and monitor its skies, lead search and rescue missions, assist civilian rescue authorities with disaster relief, and protect Canada’s sovereignty.
The Canadian Forces deliver effective disaster relief to Canadians in distress with unique capabilities to provide support to civilian rescue authorities during forest fires, floods, avalanches, hurricanes or whenever disasters strike.
Search and rescue crews respond rapidly to distress calls anywhere in our vast country and its surrounding seas. Every year, daring rescues, often conducted under hazardous conditions, save more than 1,000 lives and assist thousands more people in distress.
The Canadian Forces engage in operations, patrol and train in the Arctic to assert Canadian sovereignty and to improve surveillance and reconnaissance. More than 4,000 dedicated Canadian Rangers provide local expertise and guidance in the North.
Canada and the United States work together at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to monitor and defend our continental airspace and ocean areas. Canadian Forces ships and aircrafts patrol our skies and seas.
The Canadian Forces play a leading role in enforcing our sovereignty and providing security throughout Canada's ocean areas. In addition to monitoring Canada's coastline, the longest of any nation in the world, the department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces support other federal partners such as the RCMP and the Canadian Coast Guard in tracking and intercepting vessels violating Canadian law.
The Canadian Forces contribute to international peace and security through operations around the world. Currently, more than 3,000 Canadian soldiers, sailors and Air Force personnel are deployed overseas on operational missions. On any given day, about 8,000 Canadian Forces members – one third of the deployable force – are preparing for, engaged in, or returning from an overseas mission.
Canadian Forces personnel are highly trained and receive ongoing professional development throughout their careers. They have the skills, knowledge and experience to make the Canadian Forces modern, effective and professional.
The Canadian Forces have leading-edge military technology and some of the best equipment in the world – from the Light Armored Vehicle III (LAVIII), to the modernized CF-18 fighter jet, to the Navy’s Halifax-class frigates.
The Canadian Forces will continue to support freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights around the world. They will boast a three-ocean Navy, a robust Army, and a revitalized Air Force. To achieve this, the Government of Canada will increase the size of its Regular Force and Reserve Force personnel, and continue to acquire leading-edge military technology and new equipment to carry out their mission in a changing world.
Consider a career in the Canadian Forces. With more than 100 occupations, the Canadian Forces offers a challenging and rewarding life with competitive pay and benefits in addition to education.
You can get information about career options in the Canadian Forces at: http://www.forces.ca or call: 1-800-856-8488.
Show your support for the men and women of the Canadian Forces! They welcome messages sent to them while serving abroad and are heartened by the participation of Canadians in Canadian Forces events in their communities.