The Canadian defense minister vowed to help the US upgrade North American missile systems

Ottawa has committed to investing at least $3.8 billion over the next six years to modernize the joint US-Canadian early warning system known as North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Defense Minister Anita Anand announced on Monday.

“As autocracies like Russia threaten the rules-based international order that has protected us for decades, as our climate changes and as our competitors develop new technologies like hypersonic weapons and advanced cruise missiles, there is a pressing need to modernize Canada’s NORAD capabilities,” Anand said as cited by CBC.

Canada’s Defense Minister Anita Anand speaks during a visit to highlight military aid for Ukraine at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, April 14, 2022. REUTERS/Lars Hagberg

The initial $3.8 billion (Can$4.9 billion) investment is just the first part of an even more ambitious plan to spend up to $31 billion (Can$40 billion) over the next two decades, Anand said. She did not provide a specific breakdown of where the money will go, but named several areas the initiative will focus on, including an Arctic over-the-horizon radar system, a space-based surveillance project, and a new system called ‘Crossbow’ with early warning sensors deployed across the country.

Canadian Minister of Defense Anita Anand, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and U.S. Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, Commander, U.S. Northern Command/North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) render honors during the playing of their national anthems during a visit to U.S. Northern Command Headquarters, June 7, 2022. They also toured Cheyenne Mountain Complex during their visit to Colorado.

Speaking at an airbase in Trenton, Ontario, Anand repeatedly pointed to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine as the reason Ottawa decided to commit billions towards upgrading the aging missile warning system.

“NORAD has continually adapted and evolved in response to new threats. Today, we turn another page and begin NORAD’s next chapter,” Anand said, providing no specific timeline, adding that all existing systems will remain active until the expected upgrades are in place.