Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take this opportunity that my colleague across the way has given me to reiterate that the Minister of National Defence is a proud Canadian with 26 years experience in the Canadian Army Reserve, during which time he served with honour and distinction in four overseas missions.
That distinguished service makes the Minister of National Defence a spokesperson of choice among our allies, whether in Washington, London, or in Europe. He is a worthy representative of Canada and our military and civilian personnel. The minister is proud to have served on an extraordinary team of Canadian, American, and Afghani soldiers who made Operation Medusa a success.
His commanding officer in Afghanistan, General Fraser, considered him to be one of the best intelligence officers he had ever worked with. Chris Vernon, a retired British Army colonel, said that Operation Medusa would not have happened without the Minister of National Defence's critical, major, and pivotal input because they would not have had the intelligence and the tribal picture to put the operation together.
As a former reservist, the minister understands the needs of soldiers and their families perfectly well. During his years of service in Canada or in deployment overseas, he was able to see firsthand how our soldiers are by far our greatest asset. When he took office nearly two years ago, he was well aware of the huge job ahead of him. Every day, he puts his field experience, his expertise, and his energy to work for our men and women in uniform and their families.
He has worked tirelessly to deliver on the long list of priorities that the Prime Minister set out in his mandate letter. The Minister of National Defence intends to ensure that our military personnel are well trained, highly qualified, and properly compensated for the work they do. He intends to ensure that our military personnel and their families have access to the services and support they need in times of trouble. He intends to ensure smooth transitions from civilian to military life and vice versa. He is working to increase recruitment into both the regular and reserve forces. He wants the Canadian Armed Forces to reflect our society. He is a champion for greater diversity, and he is making sure that each and every member of the Canadian Armed Forces is treated with dignity and respect no matter what.
He oversaw the initiation and development of a major consultation process, the largest in 20 years, which resulted in a new credible, realistic, and fully funded defence policy for our armed forces. We put our troops and their families at the heart of this policy by making sure they get the care, support, training, and resources they need to accomplish what we ask of them. The government's new defence policy presents a new vision and a new approach to defence. The government set out an ambitious but realistic plan to ensure that Canada can respond to current and future defence challenges.
Over the next 10 years, annual military spending will rise from $18.9 billion to $32.7 billion. The Minister of National Defence is deeply committed to our troops, and the new defence policy reflects that commitment.