|Ministère de la Défense nationale|
formed by the National Defence Act
|Jurisdiction||Government of Canada|
|Headquarters||Major-General George R Pearkes Building,|
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
|Annual budget||CA$21.16 billion, (2019-2020)|
The Department of National Defence (DND; French: Ministère de la Défense nationale) is a Canadian government department responsible for defending Canada's interests and values at home and abroad.
National Defence is the largest department of the Government of Canada in terms of budget as well as staff. It also is the department with the largest number of buildings (6,806 in 2015). The department is headed by the Deputy Minister of National Defence, who is the department's senior civil servant, and reports directly to the Minister of National Defence.
The Department of National Defence exists to aid the minister in carrying out his responsibilities within the Defence Portfolio, and provides a civilian support system for the Canadian Armed Forces. Under the National Defence Act, the Canadian Armed Forces is a completely separate and distinct organization from, and is not part of, the Department of National Defence.
The Department of National Defence was established by the National Defence Act, which merged the Department of Militia and Defence (which was created in 1906 when the British Army withdrew its forces stationed in Canada), the Department of Naval Services (the department responsible for the administration of the Royal Canadian Navy), and the Air Board (which oversaw aviation in Canada). The National Defence Act was passed by the Parliament of Canada on June 28, 1922.
Both the Canadian Armed Forces (military) and the Department of National Defence (civilian civil servants) are, although two separate organizations, known collectively as The Defence Team as both institutions work closely together in the defence of Canada. The Minister of National Defence, as the member of cabinet responsible to Parliament for National Defence, heads the Defence Team. The Department of National Defence is headed by the Deputy Minister of National Defence. Under the Deputy Minister are a variety of associate deputy and assistant deputy ministers who are responsible for various aspects of the department (human resources, policy, etc.). The Deputy Minister is appointed by the Governor-General on behalf of the Queen of Canada (Queen-in-Council) on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Canadian Armed Forces, as a separate and distinct organization, is headed by the Chief of the Defence Staff, and reporting to him are the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, and a variety of other commands. There are also a variety of offices and support organizations which report to both the Chief of Defence Staff and the Deputy Minister.
The Canadian Sovereign, represented by the Governor General, is responsible for appointing the Minister, Deputy Minister, and Chief of Defence Staff on the recommendation of the Queen's Privy Council of Canada. Although not part of the Defence Team organizational structure, the legal military chain of command within the Canadian Forces originates from the Queen of Canada as Commander-in-Chief (represented by the Governor-General), through the Chief of the Defence Staff to all military officers by virtue of their holding of the Queen's Commission, and thus through them to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Minister of National Defence is responsible for the entire Defence Portfolio comprising several organizations, including the Canadian Armed Forces, the Communications Security Establishment, Defence Research and Development Canada, and the Department of National Defence, amongst others. The department is not responsible for all of these organizations itself but rather exists to support the minister in carrying out all of his duties within the Defence Portfolio. The Canadian Forces are a distinct and separate entity from the Department of National Defence.