Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, announced the release of a new Defence Investment Plan on day one of CANSEC. The initiative will include expected characteristics, costs and timings of the broad requirements announced in the government’s 2017 Strong, Secure, Engaged strategy. “When we talk about IDEaS [an innovation programme] on page 77 of the defence policy,” said Sajjan, “you can be sure to find it there in the Investment Plan.”
The initiative is expected to benefit industry players who will now be able to search online for more than 200 possible contract opportunities by service (for example, Army, Navy, Air Force), capability, investment area or key word. The projected costs listed in the Defence Investment Plan will be in ranges. This will allow for flexibility in the funding process as needs require.
Sajjan also re-committed to boosting Canada’s annual defence spending by C$32.7 billion (a more than 70 per cent increase) during the coming decade. He contrasted the Defence Investment Plan with the previous Conservative government’s Defence Acquisition Guide, which he characterised as “aspirational and unfunded”.
“We have made sure that over the next 20 years our defence policy remains not only fully costed… but fully funded,” said Sajjan.
The defence minister also addressed a projected C$2.3 billion shortfall in defence spending.
The government had planned C$6.2 billion in capital investments last year, but was able to implement only C$3.9 billion worth.
“About 30 per cent of the funds were unspent because we were able to cut costs through better contracts and unused risk mitigation strategy,” said Sajjan. “[This] is a good thing.” The defence minister committed to keeping the unused funds available for when they are needed.