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Canadian Armed Forces
Forces armées canadiennes
Canadian Armed Forces service uniforms
The Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force each have a distinctive service dress uniform differentiated by colour, cut and headdress.

Badge of the Canadian Armed Forces
Current form 1 February 1968 – present
Parts Royal Canadian Navy
Canadian Army
Royal Canadian Air Force
Headquarters National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario
Commander-in-Chief Queen Elizabeth II
represented by
Governor General David Johnston
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Minister of National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan
Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance
Serving soldiers
Military age 16–60 years old
Conscription No
Available to
be a soldier
8,031,266 males, age 17–49,
7,755,550 females, age 17–49
Fit to be
a soldier
6,633,472 males, age 17–49,
6,389,669 females, age 17–49
Active employees/soldiers 68,250 (31 March 2011)
Reserve personnel 27,000 (Paid Primary)
5,000 (Rangers)
Deployed personnel 2000+
Budget C$18.6 billion, (2016–2017)
Percent of GDP 0.97%
1.19% (Disputed)
Suppliers from inland L-3 Communications MAS
Bombardier Aerospace
Meggitt Training Systems Canada
Colt Canada
Textron Systems Canada
Kongsberg Protech Systems Canada
Rheinmetall Defence Canada
Irving Shipbuilding Inc.
General Dynamics Land Systems Canada
Raytheon Canada Limited
Seaspan Marine Corporation
Thales Canada
Boeing Canada
See also
History Fenian Raids
Wolseley Expedition
North-West Rebellion
Second Boer War
First World War
Russian Civil War
Second World War
Cold War
Korean War
October Crisis
Gulf War
Bosnian War
Oka Crisis
Kosovo War
Afghanistan War
Iraq War
Somali Civil War
2011 Libyan Civil War
Operation Serval
2014 military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Ranks Canadian Armed Forces ranks and insignia

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 Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces is the Head of State of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor General of Canada, David Lloyd Johnston. The Chief of the Defence Staff (or CDS), the senior professional member of the service, is General Thomas J. Lawson. The CDS answers to a politician, the Minister of National Defence, who is currently Robert Nicholson 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 asymmetric 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, 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

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