New Vimy Paper by Dave Perry – “The Growing Gap Between Defence Ends and Means”

The following announcement was sent out by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute:

Ottawa, 11 June 2014 - The Conference of Defence Associations Institute is pleased to release Vimy Paper 19: "The Growing Gap Between Defence Ends and Means: The Disconnect between the Canada First Defence Strategy and the Current Defence Budget" by David Perry, Senior Security and Defence Analyst of the CDA Institute. The paper is available at the following link:

The 2014 federal budget marked the fourth time in five years that the Department of National Defence has been subjected to budget cuts. Although the 2008 Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS) pledged long-term, sustained budgetary growth for defence and a stable funding level to facilitate planning for major capital programs acquired over decades, reductions since that policy pronouncement have erased - in real terms - the promised budget increases. At the same time, DND remains unable to spend all of the funds provided by Parliament for procurement. Consequently, billions in DND capital funding has been deferred until it can be spent - at an unknown point in the future. Budget restraint at DND has provided the Government of Canada with a fiscal windfall, making a major contribution to erasing the deficit.

But this has come at the cost of reducing and/or constraining the military options available to the government, both today and tomorrow. The funding for training, routine operations and maintenance has been cut, significantly reducing operational readiness. At the same time, a sizeable proportion of the funding earmarked to acquire the military of the future is going unused. This means the re-capitalization plans for the Canadian military will need major modifications to reflect a significant loss of purchasing power.

Highlights from Mr. Perry's paper:

  • Adjusting for inflation, the defence budget is now smaller than it was in 2007.
  • The CFDS plan to spend $490 billion over 20 years has been reduced to $453 billion.
  • Not implementing the CFDS plan as intended has made a significant contribution to erasing Canada's deficit - DND provided one-quarter of the reduction in federal government spending in Budget 2014.
  • In real terms, capital spending for major new equipment has declined four years in a row, and remains on a downward trend. DND has not spent 25% of the amount allocated to replacing major equipment for four straight years. As a share of the defence budget, capital spending has dropped to the lowest level since 1977/1978.
  • The two-year operating budget freeze is putting substantial pressure on Operations & Maintenance funding and has reduced the National Procurement budget.
  • The government is re-profiling billions for major capital procurements for use after 2016/2017.
  • Lack of Treasury Board approval for DND's investment plans has resulted in a failure to spend allocated funds over the last 12 months, and the cancellation and delay of capital equipment projects. This situation is unlikely to change until DND's Investment Plan is approved by Treasury Board.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces' operational readiness is dropping, its purchasing power is being eroded, and future military capability is being reduced.

About the author: David Perry is the Senior Security and Defence Analyst of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, and a doctoral candidate in political science at Carleton University where he studies defence privatization. Dave is a frequent media commentator on national defence and security issues and has testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence.

Related works from the CDA Institute:

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Please contact the author directly by email or phone 613-728-7687. For further information, please contact the CDA Institute at 613-236-9903 or email or