OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 12/25/13 -- The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today:
"This has been an active year for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.
"In 2013, we recognized the past while looking to the future, celebrating several battles of the War of 1812 and honouring the proud history of our CAF by restoring military traditions, while preparing for the draw-down of Canada's longest war, the war in Afghanistan.
"We saw the Canadian Armed Forces demonstrate leadership abroad by making meaningful contributions to international operations - from humanitarian assistance, to intervention, to stabilization - in the deployment of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, on the high seas in both the Caribbean and the Arabian Gulf disrupting drug trafficking, and providing logistical support to French counter-terrorism operations in Mali. We sent our last rotation of CAF members to Afghanistan to round out our military contribution to the NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan.
"The defence landscape has changed dramatically since the Afghan war began. It has been a period of unrelenting operational pace, but the end of the Afghanistan mission will result in a return to a more normal pace of operations, providing an ideal opportunity for the Department of National Defence to rebalance and realign its resources, bolstering front-line investments by reducing corporate overhead and inefficiencies.
"These change initiatives will no doubt have an impact on the Defence Team, both military and civilian. One thing, however, will not change: our people - both military and civilian - are our most important asset. Taking care of them and their families remains a top Defence priority.
"Our Government recognizes that Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their families face exceptional challenges as a result of sacrifices that have been made in the service of Canada. We appreciate that, and strive to provide the best care and support services, programs and benefits in return for their dedicated service to Canada.
"I am proud of all that the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces has accomplished this year, and look forward to working with the Defence Team in the New Year.
"On behalf of all the men and women of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, I wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday, and a prosperous 2014."