Canadian Armed Forces

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Flag of Canada.svg Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Armed
Forces canadiennes
Canadian Forces emblem.svg
Commander in Chief
de jure :
Elizabeth II , Queen of Canada
Commander in chief de facto : Represented by Governor General Julie Payette
Defense Minister: Harjit Sajjan
Military Commander: General Jonathan Vance
Headquarters: Department of National Defense (DND) ,
Military strength
Active soldiers: 68,000 (2011) . ( Rank 56 )
Reservists: 26,873 (2011) .
Conscription: No
Resilient population: (Men aged 15-49): 16,251,449 (2006; estimate)
Eligibility for military service: 16 years
Military budget: 22.2 billion US dollars (2019) ( 13th place )
Share of gross domestic product : 1.3% (2019)
Founding: 1812
Factual foundation: February 1, 1968 (restructuring)

The Canadian Forces ( Engl. Canadian Armed Forces ( CAF ), fr. Forces canadiennes ) are the associated forces of Canada and their affiliated organizations and structures. These are the Canadian Army ( Army ), Royal Canadian Navy ( Navy ) and the Royal Canadian Air Force ( Air Force ). Only volunteers serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.


Roots and Lineup

During the colonial period, Canadians served in the British armed forces or in local militias . Despite the establishment of the Canadian Dominion in 1867, Canadian forces were under the British Crown until the turn of the 20th century . Canadian militias defended their homeland during the American Revolutionary War , British-American War and the Fenian Raids . A Canadian expeditionary force supported the British crown in the Boer War .

The founding of the Canadian armed forces itself dates back to 1812 when such an organization was needed to help repel American invaders . The Royal Canadian Navy was founded in 1910, the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1924.

Canadian soldiers, sailors and pilots derive their identity from their not insignificant contributions to the two world wars and the Korean War .


Canadian soldiers on duty near Vaucelles, France (June 1944)
Commemoration of the fallen Canadian soldiers in the Battle of Ortona
Graves of the fallen at the Gustav Line , the largest battle with Canadian participation in World War II with 1,400 dead

Canadian units have British-American War , the Boer War , the First and the Second World War, the Korean War and the Gulf War (1990/1991) served, and contributions to peace missions, smoldering conflicts and undeclared wars such as the Suez crisis , the Cyprus conflict , the Yugoslav wars or in the " fight against international terrorism " ( Afghanistan war ). Canada is a member of NATO and a contractor to NORAD , the North American airspace defense alliance.

From the perspective of the Canadian military, the Battle of Arras (World War I) and, in World War II, Operation Jubilee , the Battle of Ortona , the Normandy Landing (June 1944), the Battle of the Scheldt Estuary (2nd October - November 8, 1944), the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic .

There were also many other battles during the advance in 1944 and 1945. Due to the high casualties (injured, fallen, missing, prisoners of war), Canada reintroduced conscription at the end of 1944. This led to the conscription crisis of 1944 ; in the end only a few hundred conscript soldiers made it to the front. Canadians were also involved u. a. at the Battle of Kapelsche Veer , Operation Blackcock and the Battle of the Reichswald near Kleve.

By the German surrender on May 8, 1945, Canadian troops had liberated all of Norway and the entire Dutch territory north of the Rhine and the Lek River . They left these areas within a few months after public order was restored .

Since 1947, the Canadian Armed Forces have participated in 73 operations around the world. In 2002 a total of 3,000 Canadian soldiers were posted to eleven missions abroad, such as SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Canadian involvement in the war in Afghanistan from 2001 until today has been one of the most expensive and loss-making operations.

Canadian regular and reserve units are also active at home: in 2001 alone, they followed up 8,000 search reports in which they saved more than 4,500 lives. The great popularity of the Canadian military is based on this type of mission. The Canadian Rangers regularly conduct so-called sovereignty patrols to support Canada's sovereignty claims over its Arctic territories.

Development after the Second World War

Canadian Grenadier Guards soldiers on an ISAF mission in Kandahar , Afghanistan

Canada deployed the largest professional army in its history during World War II - conscription was only introduced shortly before the end of the war, so only 2,400 conscripts could still be deployed until the end of the war. Even after this period, defense spending and the size of Canada's armed forces remained at roughly the same level, but were scaled back from the early 1960s, when the threat to Canada from the Warsaw Pact nations steadily waned. During the 1990s, this trend continued due to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the associated disappearance of the Iron Curtain , which led to budget and personnel cuts, location closings, but also to a reduction in Canada's combat strength (unlike in the USA, for example similar redeployments did not automatically lead to a weakened combat strength).

Canada maintained a number of air and land forces in Germany from the end of World War II until the 1990s. These last two major bases were in Lahr / Black Forest in the Ortenau district ( CFB Lahr ; closed on August 31, 1994, today Black Forest Airport ) and in Rheinmünster-Söllingen in the Rastatt district ( CFB Baden-Soellingen ; closed on December 31, 1993, today Baden-Airpark ). Both locations were in Baden-Württemberg, near the French border. Various smaller units remained on German soil, which u. a. in the multinational NATO unit in Geilenkirchen -Teveren near Aachen , the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force E-3A Component are in service, or provide support to this flying group.


Unlike the armed forces of our closest allies , such as B. Great Britain, the USA, Australia or New Zealand , the Canadian armed forces are an associated organization with a single command structure. The white paper on defense policy of March 1964 did not provide for a restructuring of the armed forces as still separate organizations and preferred them rather as a "union of operations, personnel, supply and logistics as well as administration" .

On February 1, 1968 Bill C-243, The Canadian Forces Reorganization Act, came into effect, and the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force were initially united in the Canadian Forces . While it was pretended that the main aim was to save costs, Prime Minister Lester Pearson and his Defense Minister were accused of chasing after Canadian post-war postmodernism and trying to shake off monarchist traditions. But the reorganization was also criticized from a purely technical point of view , for example by JL Granatstein , a well-known Canadian military historian , in Who Killed The Canadian Military? (in German roughly: Who made the Canadian military incapable? ).

In this new structure, the three former armed forces were divided into six functional commands - Maritime Command, Mobile Command, Air Defense Command, Air Transport Command, Material Command and the training command. While the Canadian armed forces were one armed force, their members were assigned to the three “surroundings” of land, air or sea. This classification was determined by the career of the serving individuals - a pilot was assigned to the air force. Non-environment-specific soldiers such as military policemen or paramedics were randomly assigned. However, they remain in their “environment” until the end of their careers, regardless of their unit or rank .

For reasons of tradition, in 2011 the land command, sea command and air command were renamed into Army , Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Forces, and in 2013 the four land forces commandos were renamed Army divisions. In principle, however, the integrated structure of the Canadian armed forces was retained.


Flag of the Associated Canadian Forces

The primary mission of the Canadian Armed Forces is to protect the territorial integrity of Canada and its citizens. The armed forces also have a mandate to support and protect the country's political and military alliances.

Canada is working closely with the United States and its armed forces to protect the North American continent from all outside attacks, such as: B. as part of the joint North American airspace defense command.

Furthermore, by participating in multinational peace missions , the Canadian military is supposed to create and secure peace and security across the globe.


Guard unit of the Royal 22nd Regiment changing the
guard in front of the Citadel of Québec -

The Canadian armed forces in their current form came into being on February 1, 1968, when the Canadian government merged the Canadian Army , the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force . Thus Canada was one of the few nations that had so closely united their armed forces. The original approach of even introducing a uniform uniform, however, did not prove successful and was revised a long time ago. The historical names were reintroduced in 2011.

Canada has been a member of NATO since it was founded in 1949. The Canadian armed forces are closely integrated into their structures and permanent participants in their exercises, and also present in joint formations. Canada also supports the UN in its humanitarian and peace missions .

Chain of command

The Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces is Queen Elizabeth II , Queen under the law of Canada, represented by the Governor General of Canada , currently Julie Payette . The military leader is the Chief of the Defense Staff General Jonathan Vance (Canadian Army). The respective defense minister is responsible for defense policy in the cabinet . Since November 4th, 2015 this is Harjit Sajjan . The headquarters of the Canadian armed forces are located in the capital of Canada, in Ottawa .


Since 2006, four command commands have been set up, one of which is Canada Command (CANCOM) , which is primarily responsible for the security of the country and is responsible for planning operations within the country. The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) coordinates the special forces of the armed forces on domestic and international missions. The Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) coordinates the international operations of the armed forces. The Canadian Operational Support Command (CANOSCOM) has a supporting function and takes care of the logistics and infrastructure in the operational areas.

In 2012, the Canada Command , Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, and Canadian Operational Support Command were austerity measures in the new Canadian Joint Operations Forces Command . Canada Command was responsible for the defense of Canada, as well as for relief operations (civil protection, homeland security, etc.) within Canada. Canadian Expeditionary Force Command was responsible for missions abroad (in the context of NATO , peace operations and crisis response abroad). Canadian Operational Support Command provided support forces (engineers, resupply troops, medical troops, military police, etc.) to the two other commands, as well as the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command for operations inside and outside Canada. After the merger of the three conventional task forces, the Canadian armed forces are divided into three different command categories. Each command is in the National Defense Headquarters ( National Defense Headquarters ( NDHQ ) / quarter généraux de la Défense nationale ( QGDN )) in the capital of Ottawa in Ontario integrated. In the National Defense Headquarters is also the Strategic Joint Staff ( CF SJS ) / État-major interarmées stratégique ( EM IS FC ), which functions as the leadership and planning staff of the Canadian commander.

Cross-armed task force

  • Canadian public Same Task Force ( Canadian Joint Operations Command ( CJOC ) / Commandement des opérations interarmées du Canada ( COIC ))
    • 1st Canadian Division Headquarters ( 1st Cdn Div HQ ) (CFB Kingston, ON) ( Inter-Armed Foreign Task Force)
    • Canadian Forces Joint Operational Support Group (CFJOSG) (CFB Kingston, ON)
    • Canadian Materiel Support Group ( CMSG ) (CFB Kingston, ON)
    • Joint Task Force North ( JTF North ) (headquarters in Yellowknife, NT) (joint operations in the federal territories in northern Canada, JTF North is the only territorial unit with its own staff)
    • Joint Task Force Pacific ( JTF Pacific ) (headquarters in Victoria, BC) (joint operations in British Columbia, the staff of the Maritime Forces Pacific also serves as the staff of JTF Pacific )
    • Joint Task Force West ( JTF West ) (Headquarters in Edmonton, AB) (joint operations in the Prairie Federal Provinces) (the staff of the 3rd Canadian Division also serves as the staff of JTF West )
    • Joint Task Force Central ( JTF Central ) (headquarters in Toronto, ON) (joint operations in Ontario) (the staff of the 4th Canadian Division also serves as the staff of JTF Central )
    • Joint Task Force East ( JTF East ) (headquarters in Montreal, QC) (joint operations in Quebec) (the staff of the 2nd Canadian Division also serves as the staff of JTF East )
    • Joint Task Force Atlantic ( JTF Atlantic ) (Headquarters in Halifax, NS) (joint operations in the federal provinces of the Atlantic) (the staff of the Maritime Forces Atlantic also serves as the staff of JTF Atlantic )
    • Maritime Component Commander ( MCC ) (Headquarters in Halifax, NS or Victoria, BC) (The commanders of Maritime Forces Atlantic and Maritime Forces Pacific alternate in this role)
    • Joint Force Air Component Commander ( JFACC ) (Headquarters in CFB Winnipeg, MB) (the commander of the 1st Canadian Air Division also serves in this role)
  • Canadian Special Operations Forces Command ( Canadian Special Operations Forces Command ( CANSOFCOM ) / Commandement des Forces d'opérations spéciales du Canada ( COMFOSCAN ))

Armed Forces Commands

After the merger of the Canadian armed forces and the formation of the individual Canadian armed forces in 1968, the units were reorganized into functional commands. Today's Army, Navy, and Air Forces continue to be traditional names, and these components still belong to the Canadian Armed Forces.

  • Canadian Army ( Canadian Army ( CA ) / Armée canadienne ( AC ))
    • 2nd Division du Canada (BFC Valcartier, QC)
    • 3rd Canadian Division (CFB Edmonton, AB)
    • 4th Canadian Division (Toronto, ON)
    • 5th Canadian Division (CFB Halifax, NS)
    • Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Center (CFB Kingston, ON)
  • Royal Canadian Navy ( Royal Canadian Navy ( RCN ) / Marine royale canadienne ( MRC ))
    • Maritime Forces Atlantic ( MARLANT ) (CFB Halifax, NS)
    • Maritime Forces Pacific ( MARPAC ) (CFB Victoria, BC)
    • Naval Reserve Headquarters ( NAVRESHQ ) (Pointe-a-Carcy Naval Complex, QC)
  • Royal Canadian Air Force ( Royal Canadian Air Force ( RCAF ) / Aviation royale canadienne ( ARC ))
    • 1st Canadian Air Division (CFB Winnipeg, MB)
    • 2nd Canadian Air Division (CFB Winnipeg, MB)
    • Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Center (CFB Trenton, ON)
    • Canadian Air Reserve (Ottawa, ON)

Cross-Armed Specialized Commands

  • Military Command Personnel ( Military Personnel Command ( MPC ) / Commandement du personnel militaire ( CPM )) (Ottawa, ON)
    • Canadian Armed Forces schools and training centers (education and training)
    • Canadian Forces Health Services Group ( CF H Svcs Gp ) (medical service)
    • Chaplaincy (military chaplaincy )
  • Military Information Command of the Canadian Forces ( Canadian Forces Intelligence Command ( CFIC ) / Commandement du renseignement des Forces canadiennes ( CRFC )) (Ottawa, ON)
  • US-Canadian North American Air Defense Command ( North American Aerospace Defense Command ( NORAD ) / Commandement de la défense aérospatiale de l'Amérique du Nord ( NORAD )) (CFB Winnipeg, MB) (The Commander of 1st Canadian Air Division is also the commander of the Canada Region of NORAD ( CANR ))
  • Military Police Group of the Canadian Forces ( Canadian Forces Military Police Group ( CF MP Gp ) / Groupe de la Police militaire des Forces canadiennes ( Gp PM FC ))

Forces and equipment


Leopard 2 (the Bundeswehr ) as well as in the Canadian army is used

  • 66 Leopard C2 (to be supplemented by 100 Leopard 2s since 2008 and completely replaced by 2015)
  • 20 Leopard 2A6M CAN (ex-Bundeswehr vehicles)
  • 80 Leopard 2; 20 of them on the 2A4M CAN equipment stand. The remaining 60 serve as training vehicles and as chassis for recovery and engineer tanks
  • 300 armored personnel carriers
  • over 1000 troop transports


There are two major naval bases : the Canadian Forces Navy Base Halifax ( CFB Halifax ) on the east coast and the Canadian Forces Navy Base Esquimalt ( CFB Esquimalt ) on the west coast.

The fleet currently includes:

The Canadian Navy has repeatedly struggled with problems in its fleet. Technical problems prevented the Victoria-class submarines from reaching full operational readiness for years, while the Protecteur supply ships have actually reached the end of their service life. However, due to savings at the expense of the armed forces, a quick replacement with new buildings was not in sight in recent years. As the fleet neared its maximum lifespan, the Canadian government and the Department of National Defense (DND) announced the results of the $ 33 billion bid for the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy on October 19, 2011 . Two shipyards are to build a total of over 21 new ships for the Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard . The first ships should be delivered in 2015.

Air Force

CF-18 Hornet over Hawaii , 2006


(excluding training aircraft) Information on the main page differs from the above in some cases.

See also


  • Desmond Morton: A military history of Canada . 4th ed. McClelland and Stewart, Toronto 1999. ISBN 0-7710-6514-0 .
  • Jack L. Granatstein: Canada's army. Waging was and keeping the peace . University of Toronto Press, Toronto 2004. ISBN 0-8020-8696-9
  • Daniel P. Barr: Unconquered. The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America . Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, Conn. 2006 ISBN 0-275-98466-4
  • René Chartrand, Ronald Volstad: Canadian Forces in World War II (Men at arms; Vol. 359). Osprey Publishing, Oxford 2001 ISBN 1-84176-302-0
  • Robert Broughton Bryce: Canada and the cost of World War II. The international operations of Canada's Department of Finance, 1939–1947 . McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal 2005 ISBN 0-7735-2938-1
  • Andrew Richter: Avoiding Armageddon. Canadian military strategy and nuclear weapons, 1950–1963 (Studies in Canadien military history; Vol. 2). UBC Press, Vancouver 2002 ISBN 978-0-7748-0888-0
  • Randall Wakelam: Cold War Fighters. Canadian Aircraft Procurement, 1945–1954 (Studies in Canadian military history). UBC Press, Vancouver 2011 ISBN 978-0-7748-2148-3
  • Andrew B. Godefroy: Defense and Discovery. Canada's Military Space Program, 1945–1974 (Studies in Canadian military history). UBC Press, Vancouver 2011 ISBN 978-0-7748-1959-6
  • La formation d'une identité militaire. Les Forces armées du Canada. Special issue, quarterly “Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains”, 250, PUF , Paris June 2013
  • Le Canada et les guerres au XXe siècle. Special issue, quarterly “Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains”, 157, PUF, Paris January 1990
  • Larry R. Stewart: Canada's European Force, 1971-1980: A Defense Policy in Transition. Queen's University, Kingston 1980
  • Sean M. Maloney: War Without Battles: Canada's NATO Brigade in Germany 1951-1993. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Toronto 1997

Web links

Commons : Canadian Armed Forces  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Department of National Defense - Recruiting and Retention in the Canadian Forces ( Memento from June 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  2. a b CIA World Factbook: Military Section February 24, 2007. (English)
  3. Retrieved on August 11, 2019
  5. CBC News: Peter MacKay hails 'royal' renaming of military , accessed March 5, 2012.
  6. ^ Section What We Do in the Canadian Department of Defense Introductory FAQ . Accessed on February 24, 2007 ( memento of the original from August 28, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), October 2011 Slideshow of New Ship Procurements, accessed February 4, 2012