At the end of the Second World War, the Canadian armed forces had reached impressive proportions. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) had 78 operational squadrons and over 200,000 personnel. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) had 775 ships, including over 400 combat vessels. By May 1945, the Canadian army had nearly half a million men in the field.
In 1946, the government announced the establishment of a peacetime force of 51,000 men; 25,000 were allotted to the army, 10,000 to the Royal Canadian Navy, and 16,000 to the Royal Canadian Air Force. The RCN peacetime fleet would consist of 2 light aircraft carriers, 2 cruisers, and 12 destroyers, with a small number of frigates and minesweepers in reserve. The RCAF would be reduced to five operational squadrons. The peacetime Canadian army was built around the Mobile Striking Force (MSF), an infantry brigade comprising the three Active Force infantry regiments: the Royal Canadian Regiment, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and the Royal 22e Régiment. The MSF brigade, an airborne formation, was entirely parachute trained, including its significant support troops such as signals, artillery, engineers, and medical units.