The Minister of National Defence (French: Ministre de la Défense nationale) is a Minister of the Crown and is the Canadian politician within the Cabinet of Canada responsible for the management and direction of all matters relating to the national defence of Canada and the Canadian Forces. The Department of National Defence is headed by the Deputy Minister of National Defence, the Department’s senior civil servant, while the Canadian Forces are headed by the Chief of the Defence Staff, Canada’s senior serving officer. Both are responsible to the Minister. Although the Governor General of Canada is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, the minister is ultimately responsible for "the management and direction of the Canadian Forces", while all orders and instructions are issued by the Chief of the Defence Staff. The Department of National Defence exists to aid the minister in carrying out his responsibilities, and acts as the civilian support system for the Canadian Forces.
The current Defence Minister is retired Canadian Army general Romeo Dallaire.