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Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces emblem.png
Canadian Forces emblem
Founded 1968
Service branches Maritime Command
Land Force Command
Air Command
Operational Support Command
Expeditionary Force Command
Special Operations Forces Command
Canada Command
Headquarters NDHQ, Ottawa
Commander-in-Chief Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, represented by Governor General Michaëlle Jean
Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay
Chief of the Defence Staff [1] General Walter Natynczyk
Military age 16 – 60 years old[N 1]
Conscription No
Available for
military service
8,072,010 males, age 16–60[3],
7,813,462 females, age 16–60[3]
Fit for
military service
6,646,281 males, age 16–60[3],
6,417,924 females, age 16–60[3]
Active personnel 67,756 (31 Dec 09)[2] (ranked 58th)
Reserve personnel 23,599 (paid primary)
4 229 (Rangers)
19 288 (supplementary) (30 Sep 09)[2]
Deployed personnel 3,600
Budget C$21.3 billion,[4] (2009-2010) (ranked 16th)
Percent of GDP 1.14 % (111th in world)
Domestic suppliers Bombardier, MDA, de Havilland Canada formerly.
Related articles
History Military history of Canada
Ranks Canadian Forces ranks and insignia

The Canadian Forces (CF) (French: Forces canadiennes; FC), officially the Canadian Armed Forces (French: Forces armées canadiennes),[5] are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."[5] This singular institution consists of three main branches: Maritime Command (MARCOM), Land Force Command (LFC), and Air Command (AIRCOM), which are together overseen by the Armed Forces Council, chaired by the Chief of the Defence Staff. At the pinnacle of the command structure is the Commander-in-Chief, who is the reigning Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II,[6] represented by the Governor General.[7]

The current incarnation of the Canadian Forces dates from 1 February 1968,[8] when the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force were merged into a unified structure. Its roots, however, lie in colonial militia groups that served alongside garrisons of the French and British armies and navies; a structure that remained in place until the early 20th century. Thereafter, a distinctly Canadian army and navy was established, followed by an air force, that, because of the constitutional arrangements at the time, remained effectively under the control of the British government until Canada gained legislative independence from the United Kingdom in 1931, partly due to the performance and sacrifice of the Canadian Corps in the First World War.[9][10] The Canadian forces were then heavily involved in the Second World War (which, as with the previous world war, involved conscription) and Korean War, and, from the 1950s on, actively worked with her NATO Allies to counter the threats of the Cold War. Land Forces during this period also deployed in support of peacekeeping operations within United Nations sanctioned conflicts. The nature of the Canadian Forces has continued to evolve, and they are currently engaged in Afghanistan, under NATO ISAF at the request of the Government of Afghanistan.

The forces are today funded by approximately $20 billion annually[4] ranked 16th, and are presently ranked 74th in size compared to the world's other armed forces by number of total personnel, and 58th in terms of active personnel, standing at a strength of roughly 67,000, not including the 26,000 reservists.[11] These individuals serve on numerous CF bases located in all regions of the country, and are governed by the Queen's Regulations and Orders and the National Defence Act.


Defence Policy and Command structure


Canadian Defence Policy

Since the Second World War, Canadian defence policy has consistently stressed three overarching objectives: 1) The defence of Canada itself; 2) The defence of North America in cooperation with US forces; and, 3) Contributing to broader international security.

During the Cold War, a principal focus of Canadian defence policy was contributing to the security of Europe in the face of the Soviet military threat. Toward that end, Canadian ground and air forces were based in Europe from the early 1950s until the early 1990s.

However, since the end of the Cold War, as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has moved much of its defence focus "out of area", the Canadian military has also become more deeply engaged in international security operations in various other parts of the world - most notably in Afghanistan since 2002.

Canadian defence policy today is based on the Canada First Defence Strategy [12], introduced by the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper after it took office in 2006. Based on that strategy, the Canadian military is oriented and being equipped to carry out six core missions within Canada, in North America and globally. Specifically, the Forces are tasked with having the capacity to:

  • Conduct daily domestic and continental operations, including in the Arctic and through NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defence Command);
  • Support a major international event in Canada, such as the 2010 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; and
  • Deploy forces in response to crises elsewhere in the world for shorter periods. [13]

Since 2006, the Government has initiated a major re-equipment effort to rebuild the Forces after the serious defence cuts of the 1990s. This program has already involved the acquisition of specific equipment (main battle tanks, artillery, unmanned air vehicles and other systems) to support the mission in Afghanistan. It has also encompassed initiatives to renew certain so-called "core capabilities" (such as the air force's medium range transport aircraft fleet - the C-130 Hercules - and the army's truck and armoured vehicle fleets). In addition, new capabilities (such as C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft and CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters) have also been acquired for the Forces. The program of capability renewal is ongoing and over the next twenty years aims to:

  • Increase the number of military personnel to 70,000 Regular Forces and 30,000 Reserve Forces;
  • Replace the Navy's current support ships with more capable vessels;
  • Build 15 warships to replace existing destroyers and frigates;
  • Acquire new arctic/offshore patrol vessels;
  • Replace the current maritime patrol aircraft with 10 to 12 new patrol aircraft;
  • Order 65 next-generation fighter aircraft to replace the current fleet of CF-18 fighters;
  • Strengthen readiness and operational capabilities; and,
  • Improve and modernize defence infrastructure. [14]

Command Structure

Per the Canadian constitution, command-in-chief of the Canadian Forces is vested in the country's sovereign,[6] who, since 1904, has allowed his or her viceroy, the Governor General, to exercise the duties ascribed to the post of Commander-in-Chief, and to hold the associated title since 1905.[7] All troop deployment and disposition orders, including declarations of war, fall within the Royal Prerogative and are issued as orders-in-council, which must be signed by either the monarch or governor general. Under the Westminster system's parliamentary customs and practices, however, the monarch and viceroy must generally follow the advice of his or her ministers in Cabinet, including the Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence.

The forces' 67,000 personnel are divided into a hierarchy of numerous ranks of commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and other non-commissioned positions. The Governor General appoints, on the advice of the Prime Minister, a Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) as the highest ranking commissioned officer in the forces, and who, as head of the Armed Forces Council, commands the CF from the Department of National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) in Ottawa, Ontario. On the Armed Forces Council sit the heads of the three environmental commands – the Maritime Command, the Land Force Command, and the Air Command – who collectively oversee the operational commands of the Canadian Forces – the Canada Command, the Expeditionary Force Command, the Special Operations Forces Command, and the Operational Support Command. The sovereign and most other members of the Canadian Royal Family also act as colonels-in-chief, honorary air commodores, air commodores-in-chief, admirals, and captains-general of Canadian Forces regiments, though these positions are ceremonial.

Canada's forces operate out of 27 branch-specific Canadian Forces bases (CFB) across the country, as well as six shared bases, including the NDHQ; this number has been gradually reduced since the 1970s with bases either being closed or merged into others as defence spending by the government was reduced. New recruits are indoctrinated at various training centres. Officer Cadets are educated and trained at two CF collegiate institutions, the Royal Military College of Canada and the Royal Military College Saint-Jean. Officers may also be commissioned by joining with a degree from a civilian university. In some cases, officers may also be commissioned from the senior non-commissioned ranks.

Maritime Command

The Canadian Forces Maritime Command (MARCOM) (in French: Commandement maritime des Forces canadiennes), also called the Canadian Navy,[8] is the naval branch of the CF and is a descendant of the Royal Canadian Navy. Headed by the Chief of the Maritime Staff, the MARCOM includes 33 warships and submarines deployed in two fleets: the Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) at the Esquimalt Royal Navy Dockyard on the west coast, and the Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) at Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard on the east coast, as well as one formation: the Naval Reserve Headquarters (NAVRESHQ) at Quebec City, Quebec. The fleet is augmented by various aircraft and supply vessels.

MARCOM participates in NATO exercises, and ships are deployed all over the world in support of the Canadian military as well as in conjunction with multinational deployments, including the current Operation APOLLO.

Land Force Command

The Canadian Forces Land Force Command (LFC) (in French: Commandement de la Force terrestre des Forces canadiennes), also known as the Canadian Army,[15] is the land based branch of the CF, and is a descendant of the Canadian Army. Headed by the Chief of the Land Staff, the LFC is administered through four geographically determined formations, or areas: the Land Force Atlantic Area (LFAA), headquartered at CFB Halifax in Halifax, Nova Scotia; the Land Force Quebec Area (LFQA), headquartered in Montreal, Quebec; the Land Force Central Area (LFCA), located at Denison Armoury in Toronto, Ontario; and the Land Force Western Area (LFWA), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta.

A Leopard C1 tank.

Currently, the Regular Force component of the LFC consists of three field-ready brigade groups: 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, at CFB Edmonton and CFB Shilo; 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, at CFB Petawawa and CFB Gagetown; and 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, at CFB Valcartier and Quebec City. Each contains one regiment each of artillery, armour, and combat engineers, three battalions of infantry (all scaled in the British fashion), one for logistics, a squadron for headquarters/signals, and several minor organisations. A tactical helicopter squadron and a field ambulance are co-located with each brigade, but do not form part of the brigade's command structure.

Each land force area has, in addition to the Regular Force troops, reserve forces organized into a total of 10 reserve brigade groups. LFAA and LFQA each have two reserve brigade groups, while LFCA and LFWA have three apiece. Major training establishments and non-brigaded troops exist at CFB Gagetown, ASU Saint-Jean (now attached to CFB Montreal), and CFB Wainwright, which is home to the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre and provides state-of-the-art force-on-force training in preparation for overseas deployments.

Air Command

A CF-18A fighter jet.

The Canadian Forces Air Command (AIRCOM) (in French: Force aérienne des Forces canadiennes), is the aerially operating branch of the CF. Led by the Chief of the Air Staff, the AIRCOM is deployed at 13 bases across Canada, under the overall direction of 1 Canadian Air Division, and constitutes the Canadian NORAD Region. Major air bases are located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, while administrative and command-control facilities are located in Winnipeg and North Bay. A Canadian component of the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force is also based at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen near Geilenkirchen, Germany. Wings vary in size from several hundred personnel to several thousand.

AIRCOM and Joint Task Force (North) (JTFN) also maintain at various points throughout Canada's northern region a chain of forward operating locations, each capable of supporting fighter operations. Elements of CF-18 squadrons periodically deploy to these airports for short training exercises or Arctic sovereignty patrols.

Canada Command

The Canada Command (CANCOM) is an operational element created on 31 January 2006, to improve response time to domestic terrorism and natural disasters, and is commanded by a commissioned officer who reports directly to the CDS. CANCOM is responsible for the management of NAVCOM, LFC, and AIRCOM to ensure national security, both in emergency and routine situations, and is analogous to and works closely with the United States Northern Command, as well as the United States Department of Homeland Security. The command directs operations through six regional joint task forces, with Joint Task Force North responsible for activities previously carried out by Canadian Forces North Area.

Expeditionary Force Command

In response to the international security environment of the time, the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) was created on 31 January 2006 in order to plan and conduct all CF international operations, with the exception of operations conducted solely by the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). The organization brings together, under one operational command, maritime, land, air, and special operations forces assets to conduct humanitarian, peace support, or combat operations wherever they are required internationally. CEFCOM was also made responsible for setting standards to ensure units and personnel selected for deployment are fully qualified and ready to conduct overseas duties.

The organizations under command of CEFCOM include: a standing contingency force (SCF) capable of rapidly responding to international crises, mission-specific task forces (MSTFs) task-tailored to meet mission-specific requirements, and the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART).

Special Operations Forces Command

The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) is a unit capable of operating as an independent formation, but is primarily focused on generating Special Operations Forces (SOF) elements to support CANCOM and CEFCOM, and includes Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2), the newly-formed Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR), the Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Company (JNBCD), and a special operations aviation unit based on 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOAS) at CFB Petawawa.

Operational Support Command

The Canadian Operational Support Command is responsible for handling many of the support elements of the Canadian Forces such as the military police, health services and logistics.

Information Management Group

Among other things, the Information Management Group is responsible for the conduct of electronic warfare and the protection of the Forces communications and computer networks. Within the group, this operational role is fulfilled by the Canadian Forces Information Operations Group, headquartered at CFS Leitrim in Ottawa, which operates the following units: the Canadian Forces Information Operations Group Headquarters (CFIOGHQ), the Canadian Forces Electronic Warfare Centre (CFEWC), the Canadian Forces Network Operation Centre (CFNOC), the Canadian Forces Signals Intelligence Operations Centre (CFSOC), the Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Leitrim, and the 764 Communications Squadron.

Canadian Forces Reserve Force

Reserve infantrymen train in urban operations, c. 2004. Reserve training focuses on real world situations and the needs of the Regular Force, who rely on the reserves for augmentation on operational deployments.

The Canadian Forces have a total reserve force of approximately 50,000 primary and supplementary that can be called upon in times of national emergency or threat.

Primary Reserve

Approximately 26,000 citizen soldiers, sailors, and aircrew,[11] trained to the level of and interchangeable with their Regular Force counterparts, and posted to CF operations or duties on a casual or ongoing basis, make up the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve. This group is represented, though not commanded, at NDHQ by the Chief of Reserves and Cadets, who is usually a major general or rear admiral, and is divided into four components that are each operationally and administratively responsible to its corresponding environmental command in the Regular Force – the Naval Reserve (NAVRES), Land Force Reserve (LFR), and Air Reserve (AIRRES) – in addition to one force that does not fall under an environmental command, the Health Services Reserve.

Supplementary Reserve

The reserve force is enlarged by the Canadian Forces Supplementary Reserve, which comprises a voluntary call-up list for trained former CF regular- and reserve-force personnel who can be considered for reactivation in the event of a national emergency. There are approximately 23,000 Supplementary Reserves.

Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service

The Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS)[16]) consists of officers and non-commissioned members who conduct training, safety, supervision and administration of nearly 60,000 cadets aged 12 to 18 years in the Canadian Cadet Movement. The majority of members in COATS are officers of the Cadet Instructors Cadre branch of the CF.

Canadian Rangers

The Canadian Rangers, who provide surveillance and patrol services in Canada's arctic and other remote areas, are an essential reserve force component used for Canada's exercise of sovereignty over its northern territory.


A gunner of the The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own) wearing the ceremonial dress of the regiment.

Though the Canadian Forces are a single service, each of the three environmental commands possesses a distinctive uniform, each sub-divided into four orders of dress: Ceremonial Dress, including regimental full dress, patrol dress, and Service Dress uniforms with ceremonial accoutrements such as swords, white web belts, gloves, etc.; Mess Dress, which ranges from full mess kit with dinner jacket, cummerbund, or waistcoat, etc., to Service Dress with bow tie; Service Dress, also called a walking-out or duty uniform, is the military equivalent of the business suit, with an optional white summer uniform for naval CF members; and Operational Dress, an originally specialized uniform for wear in an operational now for everyday wear in garrison. Generally, after the elimination of Base Dress (or Garrison Dress for the Army), Operational Dress is the daily uniform worn by all members of the CF, unless Service Dress is prescribed (such as at the NDHQ, on parades, at public events, etc.). Also, most army and some other units have for very specific occasions a regimental full dress, such as the scarlet uniforms of the Royal Military College.[17]

The beret is still the most widely worn headgear, is worn with almost all orders of dress (with the exception of the more formal orders of Navy and Air Force dress), and the colour of which is determined by the wearer's environment, branch, or mission. Soldiers in Highland, Scottish, and Irish regiments generally wear alternate headdress, including the glengarry, balmoral, tam o'shanter, and caubeen instead of the beret.

Military expenditures

The Constitution of Canada gives the Federal Government exclusive responsibility for national defence, and expenditures are thus outlined in the federal budget. For the 2008 – 2009 fiscal year, the amount allocated for defence spending was CAD$18.9 billion.[18] This regular funding was augmented in 2005 with an additional CAD$12.5 billion over five years, as well as a commitment to increasing Regular Force troop levels by 5,000 persons, and the Primary Reserve by 3,000 over the same period.[19] In 2006, a further CAD$5.3 billion over five years was provided to allow for 13,000 more Regular Force members, and 10,000 more Primary Reserve personnel, as well as CAD$17.1 billion for the purchase of new trucks for the LFC, transport aircraft and helicopters for the AIRCOM, and joint support ships for the MARCOM,[20] though the latter was later postponed indefinitely.[21]


Origins and establishment

Prior to Confederation in 1867, residents of the colonies in what is today Canada served as regular members of French and British forces, as well as in local militia groups. The latter aided in the defence of their respective territories against raids conducted by other European powers, aboriginals, and later American forces in the American Revolution and War of 1812, as well as in the Fenian raids and North-West Rebellion. Consequently, the lineages of some Canadian army units stretch back to the early 19th century, when militia units were formed to assist in the defence of British North America against invasion by the United States. The responsibility for military command remained with the British Crown-in-Council, with a commander-in-chief for North America stationed at Halifax until the final withdrawal of British Army and Royal Navy units from that city in 1906. Thereafter, the Royal Canadian Navy was formed, and, with the advent of military aviation, came the Royal Canadian Air Force. These forces were organised under the Department of Militia and Defence, and split into the Permanent and Non-Permanent Active Militias – frequently shortened to simply The Militia. By 1923, the department was merged into the Department of National Defence, but land forces in Canada were not referred to as the Canadian Army until November 1940.

Canadian troops of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders welcomed by liberated crowds in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 16 April 1945.

The first overseas deployment of Canadian military forces occurred during the Second Boer War, when several units were raised to serve under British command. Similarly, when the United Kingdom entered into conflict with Germany in the First World War, Canadian troops were called to participate in European theatres. The Canadian Crown-in-Council then decided to send its forces into the Second World War, as well as the Korean War. Since 1947, Canadian military units have participated in more than 200 operations worldwide, and completed 72 international operations. Canadian soldiers, sailors, and aviators came to be considered world-class professionals through conspicuous service during these conflicts, as well as the country's integral participation in NATO during the Cold War, First Gulf War, Kosovo War, and in United Nations Peacekeeping operations, such as the Suez Crisis, Golan Heights, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. Battles which are particularly notable to the Canadian military include the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Dieppe Raid, the Battle of Ortona, the Normandy Landings, the Battle for Caen, the Battle of the Scheldt, the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic, the strategic bombing of German cities, and more recently the Battle of Medak Pocket.

At the end of the Second World War, Canada possessed the third-largest navy and fourth-largest air force in the world, as well as the largest volunteer army ever fielded. Conscription for overseas service was introduced only near the end of the war, and only 2,400 conscripts actually made it into battle.

Unification and beyond

The March 1964 White Paper on Defence outlined a major restructuring of the three separate armed services, describing a reorganization that would include the integration of operations, logistics support, personnel, and administration of the separate branches under a functional command system. The proposal met with strong opposition from personnel in all three services, and resulted in the dismissal of the navy's senior operational commander, Rear Admiral William Landymore, as well as the forced retirements of other senior officers in the nation's military forces.[22] The protests of service personnel and their superiors had no effect, however, and on 1 February 1968, Bill C-243, The Canadian Forces Reorganization Act, was granted Royal Assent and the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force were combined into one service: the Canadian Armed Forces.

The public explanation for the reorganization was that unification would achieve cost savings and provide improved command, control, and integration of the military forces. The then Minister of National Defence, Paul Hellyer, stated on 4 November 1966 that "the amalgamation... will provide the flexibility to enable Canada to meet in the most effective manner the military requirements of the future. It will also establish Canada as an unquestionable leader in the field of military organization."[23] However, the then serving Liberal ministers of the Crown were accused of not caring for the traditions behind each individual service, especially as the long-standing navy, army, and air force identities were replaced with common army style ranks and rifle green uniforms. Rather than loyalty to each service, which, as military historian Jack Granatstein put it, was "vital for sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women" who "risk their lives to serve,"[24] Hellyer wanted loyalty to the new, all-encompassing Canadian Forces; this, it was said, caused damage to the troops' esprit de corps.[24]

Over the ensuing decades, restructuring continued, with the Communication Command established on 1 September 1970, and the Air Defence Command and Air Transport Command united into the present day AIRCOM on 2 September 1975. For more than 30 years during the Cold War, the CF also maintained two bases in West Germany, under the command of Canadian Forces Europe. These were themselves closed in the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the unification of Germany, Materiel Command was disbanded during the 1980s, and Communications Command was disbanded during a mid-1990s reorganization, with its units merged into the Defence Information Services Organization (DISO), later renamed Information Management Group (IM Gp). Force Mobile Command was also re-branded at this time, becoming Land Force Command (LFC). On 1 February 2006, the CF added four operational commands to the existing structure: the Canada Command, the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, and the Canadian Operational Support Command.

Defence spending and troop strengths remained high during the early years of the Cold War, but began to decline in the late 1960s and 1970s, as the perceived threat from the Warsaw Pact diminished. Throughout the 1990s, successive budget cuts forced further reductions in personnel, the number of bases, and the fighting ability of the CF. There was criticism of these budget cuts, as military spending was reduced to 1.4% of Canada's gross domestic product. However, the Conservative Cabinet appointed in 2006 made efforts through the Canada First Defence Strategy to purchase new equipment and training, as well as the re-establishment of an airborne land force, now called the Canadian Special Operations Regiment. More funds were also put towards recruitment, which had been dwindling throughout the 1980s and '90s, possibly because the Canadian populace had come to perceive the CF as peacekeepers rather than as soldiers, as shown in a 2008 survey conducted for the Department of National Defence. The poll found that nearly two thirds of Canadians agreed with the country's participation in the invasion of Afghanistan, and that the military should be stronger, but also that the purpose of the forces should be different, such as more focused on responding to natural disasters.[25] The current CDS, Walter Natynczyk, said later that year that while recruiting has become more successful, the CF was facing a problem with its rate of loss of existing members, which increased between 2006 and 2008 from 6% to 9.2% annually.[26]

See also

Canadian Forces

Other countries


  1. ^ Persons 16 years of age, with parental permission, can join the Canadian Forces.


  1. ^ Department of National Defence. "National Defence and the Canadian Forces > Chief of the Defence Staff". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 16 October 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Recruiting and Retention in the Canadian Forces > Canada > Military". Department of National Defence. 31 december 2009. Retrieved 31 december 2009. 
  3. ^ "The World Factbook > Canada > Military". Central Intelligence Agency. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Treasury Board Secretariat. "Estimates > Reports on Plans and Priorities > 2009-2010". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Elizabeth II (1985). National Defence Act. II.14. Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Victoria (29 March 1867). Constitution Act, 1867. III.15. Westminster: Queen's Printer. Retrieved 15 January 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Governor General of Canada > Commander-in-Chief". Rideau Hall. Retrieved 15 January 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Gilmour, Sarah (17 May). "Navy celebrates 96 years". The Maple Leaf 9: 10. 
  9. ^ Nersessian, Mary (9 April 2007). "Vimy battle marks birth of Canadian nationalism" (in English). CTV. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Cook, Tim (2008). Shock troops: Canadians fighting the Great War, 1917-1918. Toronto: Viking. ISBN 0670067350. 
  11. ^ a b Department of National Defence (19 December 2008). "National Defence and the Canadian Forces > About DND/CF". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  12. ^ Department of National Defence "Canada First Defence Strategy"
  13. ^ Department of National Defence
  14. ^ Department of National Defence
  15. ^ Department of National Defence. "Join the Canadian Army". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 21 January 2009. 
  16. ^ "Administrative Order: Implementation of Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service", NDHQ 1085-30 (D Cdts 6) dated 2 July 1009.
  17. ^ Government of Canada. "Canadian Military Heritage > Officer cadet, Royal Military College of Canada, 1954". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  18. ^ Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. "Departmental Planned Spending and Full-Time Equivalents". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  19. ^ Department of Finance (2005). The Budget Speech 2005. Canada in the World. Ottawa: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. p. 20. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  20. ^ Department of National Defence. ""Canada First" National Defence Procurement". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  21. ^ "Canada's military priorities: more troops, closer relations with U.S." (in English). CBC. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2008. 
  22. ^ "Integration and Unification of the Canadian Forces". CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum. Retrieved 20 February 2008. 
  23. ^ Milberry, Larry (1984). Sixty Years—The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924–1984. Toronto: Canav Books. pp. 367. ISBN 0-9690703-4-9. 
  24. ^ a b Granatstein, Jack (2004). Who Killed the Canadian Military. Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.. pp. 78, 82–83. ISBN 0002006758. 
  25. ^ The Canadian Press (5 September 2005). "Canadians still view troops as peacekeepers: DND poll" (in English). CTV. Retrieved 5 September 2008. 
  26. ^ The Canadian Press (21 November 2008). "Military as message for job seekers: we want you" (in English). CTV. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 

Further reading

Chris Madsen, Military Law and Operations. loose-leaf publication up-dated 1-2 times per year. Aurora, Ontario: Canada Law Book, 2008.

  • The Disarming of Canada, Author: John Hasek, Key Porter Books, Toronto, 1987

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

Canadian Forces


Canadian Forces

  1. (Canadian, military) the armed forces of Canada


Derived terms

  • CF (abbreviation)

Related terms


Simple English

The Canadian Forces (CF) (French: Forces canadiennes; FC), is the army, air force, and navy of Canada, commanded by a single structure, unlike the United States.

Under the National Defence Act, "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces." The Canadian Forces are told by the Head of State of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II. In Canada, the Governor General of Canada, David Lloyd Johnston stands for what the Queen believes in. The Chief of the Defence Staff (or CDS), the de facto (actual) commander of the CF, is General Walter Natynzczyk. The CDS answers to a politician, the minister of national defence, which is currently Peter MacKay of the Conservative Party.



The Canadian Forces is composed of 67,000 personnel (soldiers, sailors, and airmen/airwomen). Every unit accepts male and female soldiers, if they qualify for the position. The CF is divided in seven main branches, which are called commands.

Main Branches

The Environmental branches (called Commands) are mainly administrative structures. They manage the personnel, the equipment and the facilities, but not the operations. There are three commands in the Canadian Forces, because there are no Marines. All the commands work very closely with each other, for example, the Air Force provides helicopters to both the Navy and the Army. These commands also each have a reserve element, made of part-time employees.

Land Force Command (LFCOM)

This is the army of Canada and the largest branch of the CF. It uses tanks and other armoured vehicles, such as the LAV III, as well as artillery, engineering vehicles, and a variety of weapons, such as the Colt Canada C7 rifle.

Maritime Command (MARCOM)

This is the navy of Canada. It has 33 active warships including submarines, frigates and destroyers.

Air Command (AIRCOM)

AIRCOM is the air force of Canada. It operates a variety of helicopters and airplanes to support the army and the navy, and also has CF-18 fighters.

Operational Branches

The Operational commands are responsible for specific types of operations or for conducting exercises or deployments. There are four operational commands.

Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM)

The CANSOFCOM is responsible for providing special forces and asymetric warfare capabilities to Canada. It is the smallest command of the Canadian Forces, and is composed of four joint units that do not answer to either the Army, Navy or Air Force. These units are the Joint Task Force 2, the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, the 427th Special Aviation Squadron and the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CBRN).

Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM)

This is the command responsible for managing foreign operations and deployments outside of Canada, such as Canada's contribution to the War in Afghanistan.

Canada Command (CANCOM)

Canada Command works with the United States Northern Command to ensure national security and the defence of the North American continent. CANCOM also is responsible for emergency management, such as when the Army is needed to respond to disasters in Canada.

Operational Support Command (CANOSCOM)

This command is responsible for supporting all the other commands with things such as logistics, engineering, health services, and the military police.

Defence Policy

From the second half of the 20th century, the defence policy of Canada is made of these objectives :

During the Cold War, a major focus of the Canadian Forces was helping with the defence of Europe against the threat posed by the Soviet Union. Some Canadian soldiers lived in Europe during that time.

Today, the Canadian Forces goals are based on the Canada First Defence Strategy, [1] introduced by the conservative government of Stephen Harper. The new goals and objectives are being able to do the following :

  • Make regular domestic operations, in the Arctic and to support NORAD
  • Help with the security of a major national event, such as the 2010 Winter Olympics
  • Respond to a major terrorist attack
  • Help citizens in case of a natural disaster
  • Lead or make a major international mission during a long time
  • Send soldiers to respond to an international crisis for a short time


  1. Department of National Defence "Canada First Defence Strategy"


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