Canadian Army Modernization Strategy finds opportunity in challenge

Article / March 23, 2021 / Project number: 21-0007

By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — Boots on the ground will continue to be a vital tool for the Canadian Army (CA) in an increasingly complex world, but it must also be prepared to act in areas once considered non-traditional.

That is one objective laid out in a recently-released document entitled Advancing with Purpose: The Canadian Army Modernization Strategy (CAMS).

In his preface to the document, then-Commander of the CA, Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, said it is one part “change agenda” and one part action plan, setting a path for the next five years.

“We must be ready,” he said. “Our country and our soldiers deserve nothing less.” 

Major General Derek Macaulay, current Acting Commander of the Canadian Army, has vowed to continue the work started by LGen Eyre. 

An early draft of the document was shared with senior leaders during virtual meetings held the fall of 2020, outlining a vision for evolving the CA to meet the many and varied demands to come.

The strategy also notes that diversity and inclusion would be part of the overall vision laid out in CAMS, saying the CA will “endeavour to properly reflect Canadian society and improve its administrative policies to promote inclusion” and contribute to “a capable, agile Canadian Armed Forces that reflects Canada’s rich diversity in a way that improves resilience and relevance.”

A key line of effort in the strategy stresses the importance of fully integrating all CA elements: Regular and Reserve forces, Canadian Rangers, and civilians. This includes building on the CA’s ongoing Strengthening the Army Reserve (StAR) initiative, which introduced measures to increase recruitment among many others.

It envisions a Reserve Force that “will deliver many of the new and developing capabilities. Capitalizing on the strengths of these capabilities will require full integration of the One Army.”  

One of those emerging areas is Cyber Mission Assurance (CMA), a process to safeguard digital infrastructure, which includes computer networks and vehicle control systems. CAMS includes direction to establish a CMA strategy to meet needs specific to the CA.

Realizing the goals set out in CAMS will require a re-organization of CA resources that has been dubbed Force 2025 (F2025).

F2025 also includes investment in communications intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance capabilities, and other areas to ensure the CA has all the most relevant resources available. This, as noted in CAMS, will also require divestment of obsolete equipment and capabilities.

“Difficult decisions will be made on divestment of capability in order to privilege new investment in the future.”

The process of modernization will require collaboration between all elements of the Canadian Armed Forces, MGen Macaulay said.

“We can’t do it without the other services. We do need to be team players.”

Read the full strategy here Advancing with Purpose: The Canadian Army Modernization Strategy .


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