was confederated in 1867. Before this point, citizens residing in Upper and Lower Canada could serve in the British
armies, and could also form militias. These groups were involved in the defense of the country during the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, Fenian raids and clashes with Aboriginal populations. After confederation, the control of the military in Canada remained under the British Crown-in-Council until 1906, when the British Army and the Royal Navy
finally withdrew from Canada. The Royal Canadian Navy was formed in 1911. In 1914 the Canadian Expeditionary Force was created in response to the call for soldiers to fight in the First World War. The Canadian Air Corps was formed that same year, but disbanded in 1915. It was reestablished in 1918 as the Canadian Air Force, which was itself decommissioned two years later. In 1920 the Canadian Militia was recognized by the Otter Commission. In 1924 the Royal Canadian Air Force was formed. In 1936 the Canadian Militia underwent significant restructuring and modernization.
Canada declared war on Germany
on September 10th, 1939 in the early days of the Second World War. Similarly to the CEF, the Canadian Active Service Force was formed that same year. In 1940 the name "Canadian Army" was officially adopted to refer to both the Permanent and Non-Permanent Active Militia, and the CASF as well. Canadian forces fought in numerous engagements in the Second World War, including in Italy
, at Vimy Ridge, at Dieppe, in the Battle of Britain
, and on Juno Beach during the invasion of Normandy. After the war, Canadian forces fought in a number of engagements as a separate entity and as part of NATO, including the Korean
War. On February 1st 1968 the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Royal Canadian Navy were amalgamated into a single entity, the Canadian Armed Forces
After unification, the Canadian Forces participated in a number of both military and peacekeeping engagements. They were involved in the Cold War, and many troops were stationed in Germany during that period. Since Canada's military was relatively weak, it pursued a policy of multilateralism, whereby they only participated in engagements as a member of a larger coalition. They fought in the Vietnam
War, the Gulf War and the Kosovo War, and ran peacekeeping missions in a number of troubled regions, including Croatia
and Somalia, among other areas.
In 2001 the Canadian Forces joined the US coalition involved in the invasion of Afghanistan
. During this war, a Canadian sniper set the record for longest distance kill, at 2,430 metres, though this record was broken in 2009. The Canadian effort is currently centred around Kandahar, and was scheduled to end in February of 2011. In 2003 approximately 100 Canadian soldiers were involved in the invasion of Iraq
. However, Canada refused to join the "Coalition of the Willing" until the invasion was approved by the United Nations. Instead, more troops were sent to Afghanistan, and Canada maintains a sea presence in the Persian Gulf as part of the War in Afghanistan. In 2004 some troops were deployed to Baghdad
. Canada remains involved presently. In 2010 a Brigadier General was sent to Haiti
to aid in the Humanitarian Assistance to Haiti following that country's devastating earthquake.
Currently, the Canadian Forces are headquartered at the National Defence Headquarters at the Major-General George R Pearkes Building in the nation's capital, Ottawa. It is divided into seven service branches, the Air Command, Maritime Command, Land Force Command, Canada Command, Expeditionary Force Command, Special Operations Forces Command, and the Operational Support Command. It also has Information Management Group and the Canadian Forces Reserve Force. Currently there are just over 67,000 active personnel, over 23,000 paid reserve, just over 4,200 Rangers, and just over 19,000 in supplementary reserve. About 3,600 personnel are currently deployed overseas.