The United States is confident that Canada’s upcoming defense policy update will increase military spending to boost capabilities and meet its responsibilities as part of NATO.
David Cohen, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, shared in a recent interview that sources from Ottawa made assurances that the policy change will address concerns among military officials over equipment and personnel shortage, which significantly affect overall readiness.
Cohen said he chooses to look at the steps Canada is taking to identify and counter threats and not by the percentage of the nation’s gross domestic product that the government spends on defense.
NATO urges its members to allocate 2 percent of its GDP on defense. Canada spends only about 1.3 percent of its annual GDP on its military.
“That is what Canada has demonstrated a willingness and an ability to do over the last year or so, and it’s what gives me confidence that the assurances we’ve received — that Canada is aware of its responsibilities and its need to enhance its defense capabilities,” he said.
He added that the public must be patient and wait for the defense policy update.
In November, Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair announced that the update to the 2017 defense policy called “Strong, Secure, Engaged” will be published in the coming months. He shared that the document will boost the nation’s investments in Arctic defense capabilities as part of the nation’s responsibility under the joint U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command.