On Monday, the Canadian Defense Minister announced a budget of 4.9 billion Canadian Dollars that would be put toward various defense projects and sensors over the next six years. Defense Minister Anita Anand outlined in her announcement that the funds would be allocated to both space and land based Over the Horizon Radar systems, as well as other classified systems that will be able to detect forces in the Arctic, both at Sea and in the Air.
Canada has made this major announcement toward furthering the capabilities of NORAD as China continues its rigorous missile testing and antagonism towards Taiwan, as well as Russia continuing its invasion into Ukraine, employing an onslaught of cruise and ballistic missiles. The incursion has highlighted many of the gaps, particularly sensors for over the horizon missiles across the Arctic, that NORAD and Canada must address. Advances in hypersonic missiles from Russia, China and a growing ballistic missile arsenal in North Korea are contributing to the growing concern that Canada’s missile defense strategy requires urgent review. Included in the current discussion is the idea of Canada entering into U.S. Northern Command to participate in development and deployment of combat active defenses to supplement the NORAD mission of sensors.
In an excerpt from our recent MDAA Alert “Oh Canada, Our Eyes Are Upon You”,
“…the reality has become too pronounced for the Canadian government not to recognize the growth in the missile threat. As the current conflict with Ukraine and recent conflicts in the Middle East demonstrate, missiles are a primary weapon of modern warfare. Without these capabilities, the billions of dollars of new investments the Canadian government is making in its armed forces will be limited in their impact.”
It is clear that further cooperation between Canada and the United States is vital for the collective defense of North America. With Canada engaged in an internal discussion on investment in missile defense systems, this new announcement by the defense Minister reveals they have elected to improve their detection capabilities. This could be allocated to include Airborne early Warning (for example, the E-7 Wedgetail), over-the-horizon radars, CEA (Australian Radars), space-based sensors in Low Earth Orbit and Medium Earth Orbit, and command and control centers for the Arctic. What we do know is that the 4.9 billion budget for the current fiscal year is intended to fund an initiative to further the detection range for NORAD. These new systems will look to have the ability to track hypersonic threats as well as sophisticated maneuvering cruise missiles and advanced ballistic missiles.
Since its inception as the North American Air Defense Command in 1951, Norad has stood for the mission of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for the United States and Canada. To achieve this mission the U.S. and Canada need to prioritize the coupling of common sensors and the further integration of detection and tracking capabilities. Otherwise, lags in detection can lead to lags in interception.
Canada’s commitment to upgrading its early warning systems within NORAD is promising. Canada will be a strong partner, well-positioned to be a force multiplier in the defense of our North American continent from threats from the North, East and West.
Canada and the United States share the Keys to the Kingdom. We must ensure together that the Kingdom is defended.