Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) is responsible for conducting full-spectrum Canadian Armed Forces operations at home, on the continent of North America, and around the world. With its integrated command-and-control structure, CJOC directs these operations from their earliest planning stages through to mission closeout, and ensures that national strategic goals are achieved.
CJOC anticipates operations by understanding the operating environment and preparing for potential operations.
To enable rapid response and effectiveness in operations, CJOC:
- plans for contingencies; and
- establishes structures and processes for command-and-control, intelligence and support that can be activated or expanded at short notice.
CJOC also works closely with its partners in operations, such as:
- other Canadian government institutions;
- the armed forces of traditional allies and like-minded nations; and
- multinational organizations.
The only Canadian Armed Forces operations in which CJOC does not engage are those conducted solely by:
- Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM); or
- North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
CJOC also develops, generates and integrates joint-force capabilities to ensure harmony of activity in the following operational domains:
- command and control;
- intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance;
- information operations;
- influence activities;
- space operations;
- cyber support; and
- operational support.
Canadian Joint Operations Command anticipates, prepares for, and conducts operations – to defend Canada, to assist in the defence of North America, and, as directed, to promote peace and security abroad.
— Lieutenant-General S.A. Beare
Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command
Units and formations
CJOC comprises the following units and formations:
- CJOC Headquarters in Ottawa, Ont.;
- task forces deployed on continental operations in Canada and North America;
- six standing regional Joint Task Force Headquarters across Canada;
- the Canada-wide network of units that make up the Canadian Forces Joint Operational Support Group; and
- task forces deployed on expeditionary operations around the world.
CJOC is assisted by:
- the Joint Force Air Component Commander, based in Winnipeg, Man.;
- the Maritime Component Commander, located either in Esquimalt, B.C. or in Halifax, N.S.; and
- 1st Canadian Division Headquarters, based in Kingston, Ont.
These Component Commanders contribute to the understanding of the operating environment, inform and support engagement, and participate in contingency planning and readiness activities. When directed by CJOC, they command and control Canadian Armed Forces elements in operations.
The integrated staff at CJOC Headquarters plans and directs Canadian Armed Forces continental and expeditionary operations, and the support functions that sustain them. Its establishment includes civilians as well as members of the Regular and Reserve components of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Our origins: CJOC and Canadian Forces Transformation
“Canadian Forces Transformation” is the on-going process of realigning the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure they remain agile, efficient and responsive to Government of Canada priorities. Its objective is to maximize Canadian Armed Forces capabilities to improve operational efficiency, while ensuring an effective balance of resources and assets.
The stand-up of Canadian Joint Operations Command was the lead component of the second phase of Canadian Forces Transformation. CJOC replaces three of the four operational commands formed in 2006, during Phase I of Transformation.
Transformation Phase I
Canadian Forces Transformation began in 2005 when former Chief of the Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, announced a new command-and-control structure to meet new and emerging security challenges. On 1 February 2006, four formations stood up at the operational level of command in the Canadian Armed Forces:
- Canada Command (Canada COM), to conduct domestic and continental operations;
- Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM), to conduct expeditionary operations;
- Canadian Operational Support Command (CANOSCOM), to deliver operational support; and
- Canadian Special Operations Force Command (CANSOFCOM), to become the home of the Special Forces community.
During six-and-a-half busy years, Canada COM conducted two major deliberate operations: Operation PODIUM, the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to the security effort supporting the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, and Operation CADENCE, the Canadian Armed Forces’ participation in the security effort supporting the G8 meeting in Huntsville, Ont., and the G20 meeting in Toronto, Ont. Through its nation-wide network of standing Regional Joint Task Force Headquarters, the formation also provided rapid-response assistance to forest fires and floods across Canada, conducted recurring operations in the North and Caribbean, all while supporting major programs of other Canadian government institutions, especially the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Finally, throughout its existence, Canada COM led the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to the national search-and-rescue program, in partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard.
During the same period, CEFCOM ran Operation ATHENA, the combat operation in Kandahar Province of Afghanistan, along with up to 17 small and mid-sized operations. CEFCOM also conducted two major rapid-response contingency missions: Operation HESTIA, Canada’s contribution to the humanitarian effort in Haiti after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, and Operation MOBILE, Canada’s participation in the international response to the 2011 crisis in Libya.
CANOSCOM was formed to provide support to all CAF domestic, continental and international operations. The command was responsible for planning and executing the delivery of national-level operational support for theatre activation (such as Operation ATTENTION in Afghanistan in 2011), sustainment (throughout Operation ATHENA in Afghanistan) and termination of CAF operations (such as Operation MOBILE).
2011 Report on Transformation
In 2010, General Walt Natynczyk, who succeeded Gen Hillier as Chief of the Defence Staff, appointed Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie to the position of Chief of Transformation with a mandate to continue reviewing the organization and functions of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. With the assistance of his expert team, LGen Leslie produced the 2011 Report on Transformation, which included recommendations defining a second series of organizational changes.
The integration of Canada COM, CEFCOM and CANOSCOM to form CJOC, announced on 11 May 2012, was LGen Leslie’s primary recommendation. The consolidation of the three commands would close functional gaps, eliminate administrative duplication, and permit the redistribution of resources to support new and emerging operational demands.
Transformation Phase II
On 5 October 2012, CJOC stood up to replace Canada COM, CEFCOM and CANOSCOM. Through the integration of its precursors’ functions and capabilities, CJOC was built as an agile formation able to conduct continental and expeditionary operations efficiently and effectively, in response to Government of Canada priorities.