Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Yes, I have come with a very large team. As you know, National Defence is just a small organization. It's just to make sure that we can answer all of the questions thoroughly.
I am pleased to be here today to discuss the Department of National Defence's supplementary estimates (B).
Around this time last year, I began the job as Minister of National Defence. It has been a privilege every single day to serve in this role.
My mandate letter from the Prime Minister clearly states that a top priority is to ensure that our women and men in uniform have the equipment they need. The work that we ask them to do is difficult. Supporting our service members requires not only investments into the right equipment and infrastructure, but a dedication and commitment to them and their families as well. Family members trust that we are acting in their loved ones' best interests when we make decisions about resources. I take that trust extremely seriously. The costs to fulfill that trust can fluctuate over time, but I assure you that we are always mindful of our responsibilities as stewards of the public purse when we determine, define, and redefine those costs throughout the year, every year.
Today I would like to do two things. First and foremost, I would like to explain the need for additional funding for the Canadian Armed Forces, its members and missions, but I would also like to paint a picture of DND's commitment and dedication to responsible spending.
Today also represents an opportunity for me to demonstrate how DND is advancing the government's commitments. We continue to build on the government's priorities, and we operate within a whole-of-government construct, working side by side with other departments and agencies in an extremely complex budgetary environment.
I would like to specifically highlight how we are addressing the crisis in Iraq and Syria, investing in infrastructure, protecting the environment, and investing in the Royal Canadian Navy. Allow me to begin with the big picture and the Department of National Defence's supplementary estimates (B).
In total, the department has requested new funding of $257.8 million. Once we account for transfers to other departments, DND's total budgetary authority for the fiscal year becomes $19.3 billion. As I will explain, the additional funds being requested are primarily investments toward defence infrastructure, environmental remediation, and support for expeditionary operations.
On that note, I will start with the largest of the items, and that is the additional funding needed for Operation Impact. This operation is our military contribution to the international coalition that is fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria. We refocused and enhanced our contribution to the mission earlier this year in reaction to an evolved situation on the ground. The Canadian Armed Forces continue to conduct air operations using Polaris aerial refuellers and Aurora reconnaissance aircraft. A detachment of up to four Griffon helicopters has been added and is supporting the transportation of personnel and equipment. It has also become increasingly clear that a combination of security, diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, and development is required to counter the threat posed by Daesh. We have placed additional emphasis on advising and assisting Iraqi security forces in their efforts to dismantle and defeat this threat. Additional military resources were also dedicated to supporting the coalition with intelligence and headquarters personnel.
Through the supplementary estimates (B), the Department of National Defence has requested $147.1 million in additional funding for Operation Impact for 2016-17. This money will be used primarily for regular and reserve force members' salaries and benefits, as well as for vehicles and other equipment that directly supports Canada's success in Operation Impact and our commitment to help the Iraqi security forces defeat Daesh.
Our commitment to the success of our troops on missions abroad is clear, but so is our commitment to our service members as they live, train, and work back here at home.
The second largest category of additional funding we are seeking today is defence infrastructure. DND has the largest and most complex real property portfolio in the federal government. It is responsible for approximately 20,000 buildings and approximately 2.2 million hectares of land, which is roughly four times the size of Prince Edward Island. We are requesting an additional $36.4 million to help maintain and upgrade federal infrastructure assets. That infrastructure is of critical importance for our women and men in uniform, so we have a great responsibility to maintain and improve it. I can't emphasize enough how investing in infrastructure is an investment in good jobs for civilians in communities across Canada.
The funds requested in this item will be used in several ways. We will finance projects such as defence infrastructure in the north. We will repair airfield hangars, jetties, and other infrastructure at our wings and bases in the rest of Canada.
Eventually though, when real estate is no longer of strategic value, it then needs to be sold or disposed of. For that reason, DND is also seeking to reinvest $19.5 million from the sales and transfers of defence properties. Strategic real property disposals are another way that DND is supporting the government's commitment to improving military infrastructure across the country.
Building and maintaining infrastructure is important to us for all the reasons I've talked about, but caring for the environment as we do that is equally important. The Government of Canada, including National Defence, is committed to protecting the environment. We always aim to be responsible in the way we assess, manage, and remediate federal contaminated sites.
That is why we have requested $22.1 million from phase three of the federal contaminated sites action plan. With these funds, we hope to reduce DND's contaminated sites liability and minimize environmental and human health risks. The remediation projects taking place in Esquimalt harbour in British Columbia, and at 5 Wing Goose Bay in Newfoundland, are at the top of the list to receive this funding. The department will continue to address environmental legacy issues and invest heavily in the decontamination of these sites.
I would like to move from land to sea now. We know that the government is committed to strengthening the Royal Canadian Navy. It is no secret that the navy needs an at-sea supply capability as soon as possible. The contract in place to develop an interim solution will fill the gap until the more robust joint support ships enter into service in 2021-22. The interim auxiliary oiler replenishment ship will also provide capabilities such as at-sea oiler replenishment, aviation support, humanitarian assistance, or disaster relief.
DND is requesting an additional $22 million for pre-delivery service payments related to this contract. This request supports DND's mandate and commitment to working with Public Service and Procurement Canada to strengthen the navy, and it will help grow the economy and create jobs at the same time.
Today's estimates also include additional funding for other lower-cost items. These include the improvement of security for military operations and personnel, smaller projects on bases and properties, and reinvestments of intellectual property royalties as well.
As I mentioned earlier, the overall estimates also include transfers to and from other government organizations. The most significant transfer is $5.9 million to the Communications Security Establishment for their support to military operations, all of which again directly support the priorities of both the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces.
In closing, Mr. Chair, I hope I have painted a picture of our commitment, a commitment to Canadians, a commitment to responsible spending, and a commitment to the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces. Our support for them is always unwavering. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today about the additional funds we need to support them in the work they do.
I will now gladly take your questions.