This article examines the contemporary history of the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) from peacekeeping to the most recent update to Canadian defence policy, highlighting their historical roles and contemporary challenges. It discusses the evolving purpose of the CAF, which has shifted from conventional defence to supporting and reinforcing a western-led international order. It explores issues such as defence spending, procurement challenges, peacekeeping endeavors, veterans’ support, diversity and inclusion within the CAF. Moreover, it explores emerging threats in cyber, space and Arctic domains, including the rise of artificial intelligence threats, and emphasises the need for Canada to adapt its defence strategies accordingly. Specific focus is given to changes in Canadian defence policy in Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) released in 2017, and Our North, Strong and Free released in 2024. Ultimately, the article offers a critical assessment of Canada’s military role in the context of evolving global challenges and societal values, highlighting the recent policy shift towards expanding national and international defence.