Above image: left to right, Chief of the Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre, Minister of National Defence Anita Anand and Lieutenant-General Alain Pelletier Commander 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region attended the press conference, and answered questions on June 20, 2022.
In its “most significant upgrade in almost four decades,” the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will receive $4.9 billion over the next six years from the Government of Canada, announced Minister of National Defence Anita Anand, in a press conference Monday.
“As autocratic regimes threaten the rules-based international order that has protected us for decades and as our competitors develop new technologies like hypersonic weapons and advanced cruise missiles, there is a pressing need to modernize Canada’s NORAD capabilities,” said Anand during her press conference at CFB Trenton.
Anand additionally announced that Canada intends to invest $40 billion over the next 20 years to truly modernize NORAD and protect Canadian civilians and the lives of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members. The Chief of the Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre, Lieutenant-General Alain Pelletier Commander 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region also attended the press conference, and answered questions.
A Modernized Plan
The funding will be “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,” stated the press release.
Although the specifics of the investment were not revealed, there are five areas the plan focuses on. The areas include:
1. Bolster the ability to detect threats earlier, and more precisely, by modernizing surveillance systems.
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. Plus, continue to strengthen the CAF’s current space-based surveillance capabilities.
2. Improve the ability to understand and communicate threats to those who need it, when they need it, through investments in modern technology.
The plan 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.
3. Strengthen the ability to deter and defeat aerospace threats by modernizing our air weapons systems.
Procurement for 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.
4. Ensure 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.
Additional air-to-air refuelling aircraft will be acquired, CAF infrastructure at four locations in Canada’s North will be upgraded, CAF main operating bases and quick reaction alert capabilities across the country will be improved, and air operational training infrastructure will be modernized.
And to ensure that new infrastructure fulfills the needs of the military and maximizes broader benefits for Canadians, the government will deliver the initiatives by working closely with provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities.
5. Future-proof the capabilities to defend North America through investments in science and technology.
A science and technology program will be created to assess new and emerging threats and access and co-develop technological solutions to address them, alongside the United States, which will ensure the defence investments keep pace with rapidly evolving military threats and solutions into the future.
Co-ordinating with the United States
“In close coordination with the United States, we will establish the backbone of a brand-new northern approaches surveillance system to enhance surveillance and early warning threats to our continent,” Anand said.
Anand stated the plan also promises “tremendous opportunity” for Canadian industry, and the government will ensure indigenous businesses benefit from the investment.
NORAD was founded in 1958 amidst the Cold War and increasing threats of attacks from the Soviet Union. It is based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is a combined organization of the United States military and the Canadian Armed Forces to protect North American air space.
“Recently, the Prime Minister and I visited NORAD Headquarters in Colorado and saw firsthand the unparalleled collaboration between the CAF and American Armed Forces. Our military members work together, train together and live together on both sides of the world’s longest undefined border,” noted Anand on Monday.