Canada is defended by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), a unified service.
Formed in 1968 upon the unification of the 3 existing Military Services ; the
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force
(RCAF). The Force is administered by the Department of National
Defense (DND) under a civilian Minister of National Defense and is led by the
Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) a serving officer in the grade of Admiral or
General. The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is the Governor General of
Canada, though in practice they are controlled by the Prime Minister &
The short form of "CF" (Canadian Forces) is used and the service is
completely bilingual (English / French). When the CAF was created, the titles
Army, Navy and Air Force disappeared and were replaced by land element, sea
element, and air element respectively. Today the distinctive titles Army, Navy
and Air Force have returned to common use in the public & press. The
Navy is still technically the "sea element" and the senior appointment is
Chief of the Maritime Staff. The Air Force is still technically the "air
element" and the senior appointment is Chief of the Air Staff. The Army is
still technically the "land element" and the senior appointment is Chief of
the Land Staff. go to Rank Insignia
There is a national Cadet Movement in Canada. Youths from the 13-18 may
serve in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets (commonly known as Sea Cadets), Royal
Canadian Army Cadets (commonly known as Army Cadets), Royal Canadian Air
Cadets (commonly known as Air Cadets). Boys & girls aged 11-12 may serve in
junior cadet movements. While military in rank and style these
organizations are really about experience and leadership.
Sea Cadets learn seamanship skills, including navigation and how to sail.
Army Cadets focus on adventure training activities such as expeditions,
trekking, orientation and rappelling. Air Cadets learn to pilot gliders and
planes, and participate in other flight-related activities.
Cadets meet one evening a week and on some weekends. There are courses and
activities that are mandatory but approximately a third of the program is
classed as optional - allowing units to tailor their training to available
resources and local interests.
Officers of the Sea, Air & Army Cadets hold a Queen's commission and are
considered as reserve officers of the Cadet Instructor Cadre - CIC (formerly
Cadet Instructor List - CIL).
Navy League Officers are civilian volunteers who hold a Warrant.
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