- Anita Anand, Canada’s defense minister, offered billions in fresh money over the next 20 years to replace the country’s antiquated defense systems, but she left out several critical details.
In an announcement on Monday, Defence Minister Anita Anand promised billions in new funding over the next 20 years to replace North America’s aging defensive systems, but she left out numerous key specifics.
One of them is when such efforts will really solve a serious gap in their ability to detect and halt an approaching attack on the continent, something senior Canadian, as well as American military officials, have been warning about for years.
While stood on the tarmac of Canadian Forces Base Trenton in front of various military aircraft, including a CF-18 fighter jet specifically brought in for the event, Anand announced that Canada would invest $4.9 billion over six years in continental defense.
“From a Canadian standpoint, this is the most substantial improvement to Norad in almost four decades,” she added, referring to the joint US-Canadian system for detecting land and marine threats on North American soil.
“This plan is also funded for the long run, in addition to these urgent commitments. Over the upcoming 20 years, this initiative is expected to be worth almost $40 billion. It will also provide new capabilities to defend Canadians for future generations.”
The minister went on to detail five areas where the funds will be spent, beginning with creating a new “layered” monitoring system that will incorporate long-range radars and sensors capable of detecting oncoming threats from the Arctic.
The new system will replace the North Warning System, a series of radars developed in Canada’s Far North in the 1980s to spot oncoming Russian bombers and the backbone of this country’s contribution to Norad.
Neither Anand nor the head of the military staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre, nor the deputy commander of Norad, Lt.-Gen. Alain Pelletier could explain when the North Warning System will be replaced.
That’s despite military officials in Canada and the United States warning for years that it’s all but outdated due to recent advances in long-range missiles and armaments — a fear that’s grown dramatically since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
When asked about the lack of a timeline, Anand responded, “As we acquire more information about the precise timing of the transfer from one system to another, we will make that apparent.”
“We’re announcing right now that we’ll be switching to a new surveillance system. The North Warning System will continue to operate and be maintained until that time.”
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Pelletier acknowledged the “limitations” of the North Warning System, notably in detecting cruise missile attacks from long-range bombers flying over the Arctic.
“Right present, long-range aviation can launch cruise missiles outside the detection range of the North Warning System,” he stated. “So that’s the challenge,” says the narrator.
New command and control systems, upgraded air-to-air missiles, and other capabilities are also part of the new funding.
Source: CTV News
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