The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have deployed personnel in Central and Eastern Europe as part of NATO assurance measures.

Operation REASSURANCE refers to the military activities undertaken by CAF to support NATO assurance measures through the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks.

The CAF response in support of NATO’s request for enhanced assurance measures promotes security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe, and demonstrates the readiness and professionalism of the CAF.

The Task Force

Force Protection note: The threats posed against deployed CAF members vary between geographic locations and change frequently over time. It is essential that the CAF thoroughly assess such threats and implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of deployed personnel. The CAF continually adapt these measures, including identity protection efforts, to the specific environment in which our personnel operate. Therefore, the need to protect the identities of deployed CAF members may differ between operations and over time.

Maritime Task Force

Maritime Task Force

Task Force Fredericton

HMCS Fredericton joined Standing NATO Maritime Forces on 8 January 2016 as part of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s support to NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe. The ship joins Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), currently engaged in NATO counter-terrorism patrols and related activities in the Mediterranean Sea. HMCS Fredericton is replacing HMCS Winnipeg which concluded a six-month operational deployment.

HMCS Fredericton is a Halifax-class frigate with a crew of approximately 250 personnel of all ranks, including a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment. The ship departed its home port of Halifax, N.S. on January 5, 2016 conducting mission work-ups while enroute to replace HMCS Winnipeg. Work-ups are the final phase of training to bring the ship to the highest level of operational readiness.

Land Task Force

Land Task Force

From late June to mid-July 2015, approximately 220 Canadian Army soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG), based in Valcartier, deployed to Poland in support of Operation REASSURANCE. The soldiers took over duties from the 4th Canadian Division’s 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) based in Petawawa, Ontario.

Soldiers from 5 CMBG – part of the 2nd Canadian Division –are taking part in a series of exercises over the next six months which will allow the soldiers to achieve better interoperability with NATO allies, showcase their capabilities, and further develop their leadership abilities. These exercises include:

  • Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT IV (10 January - 5 February 2016) Approximately 170 members of the Land Task Force are participated in Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT IV in Hohenfels, Germany.  The CAF contingent, an infantry company, a reconnaissance team, a sniper detachment, a Forward Observation Officers party, an engineer section, and a support element, joined soldiers from Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia, Spain, and United States for the full-spectrum scenario exercise. The CAF contingent had the unique experience of participating as a company in unified land operations amongst a multinational brigade.  The purpose of Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT IV was to enhance interoperability with capable-peer nations by establishing and refining secure and tactical mission command systems. The key Command and Control aspect was the utilization of a multinational brigade headquarters in a unified land operation that promotes allied interoperability and integration.
  • Exercise IRON SWORD (9-20 November 2015) 15 members of the Land Task Force participated in Exercise IRON SWORD in Nemencine, Lithuania.  The CAF contingent, a reconnaissance team and sniper detachment, joins approximately 1700 soldiers from the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, United Kingdom, and United States for the joint operational exercise.
  • JOINTEX 15 (21 October - 6 November 2015) approximately 120 members of the Land Task Force participated in JOINTEX 15. JOINTEX is a biennial Canadian exercise and a keystone for Canadian Armed Forces posture and readiness activity aimed at enhancing operational mission preparedness. For the LIVEX portion of JOINTEX 15 as part of NATO’s Trident Juncture 15, Canada has contributed a Canadian Multinational Task Force headquarters, a Canadian Army Brigade with multinational elements attached, four ships, one submarine, Canadian Special Forces elements and three CC-130 Hercules aircraft.
  • Exercise DRAGON (13-23 October 2015) 15 members of the Land Task Force participated in Exercise DRAGON in Poland. Approximately 7000 soldiers participated in the Polish Army-led exercise, including 900 NATO allies. Participants came from the following units: special forces, artillery and antiaircraft, defense against the weapon of mass destruction units, unmanned aerial vehicle operators, engineers, territorial defense units, civil-military cooperation, command and liaison units, logistics, and medical units.  
  • Exercise SILVER ARROW (15-30 September 2015) Approximately 45 CAF members took part in an exercise with forces from Denmark, Germany, Latvia, the United Kingdom, and the United States at the Adazi military base in Kadaga, Latvia. This exercise trains and exercises battalion groups and their formations in planning and conducting defensive operations in major combat scenarios in order to improve command and control, coordination and mutual support procedures during operations.
  • Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT II (4-24 August 2015) Approximately 170 CAF members participated in an exercise with forces from the Czech Republic, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Serbia, the United Kingdom, and the United States at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany.

Mission Context

  • 16 April 2014 – NATO agreed and began to implement a series of military measures to reinforce NATO’s collective defence and demonstrate the strength of allied solidarity in response to Russian aggression and provocation against Ukraine. These measures are based on the principles of defence, deterrence and de-escalation.
  • 17 April 2014 – Canadian Armed Forces assets were offered to NATO as part of allied assurance measures.
  • 29 April 2014 – the CAF deployed an Air Task Force comprised of six CF-188 Hornets from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, based at 3 Wing Bagotville.
  • 30 April 2014 – HMCS Regina was committed to support NATO assurance measures.
  • 3 May 2014 – the CAF deployed a platoon-sized force to Eastern and Central Europe.
  • 13 May 2014 – HMCS Regina entered the Mediterranean Sea to conduct patrols in support of NATO assurance measures.
  • 19 December 2014 – Canadian Army soldiers completed their participation in multinational military training activities in Central and Eastern Europe between May and December 2014 and returned to Canada.
  • 31 December 2014 – ATF Lithuania completed its mission to provide enhanced air support to the 36th rotation of NATO Baltic Air Policing operations following a handover ceremony conducted on 31 December 2014 in Šiauliai, Lithuania. The BAP mission was handed over by Portugal and Canada to Italy and Poland respectively.
  • 6 January 2015 – HMCS Fredericton was transferred to NATO’s operational control and arrived in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after to join Standing NATO Maritime Forces and conduct patrols in support of NATO assurance measures.
  • Early January 2015 – A small contingent of Canadian Army soldiers deployed to Germany to take part in a United States-led multinational exercise.
  • March 2015 – Additional Canadian Army soldiers from 3 Royal Canadian Regiment deployed to Central and Eastern Europe to continue multinational military training activities.
  • July 2015 – Canadian Army soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment (3 R22eR) deployed to Central and Eastern Europe to participate in military training activities.
  • 7 July 2015 – HMCS Winnipeg arrived in the Mediterranean Sea and replaced HMCS Fredericton of her duties alongside Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) ships.

Canada and NATO

Canada is a strong supporter of NATO and is committed to doing its part to support partner nations. The Canadian Armed Forces are committed to promoting global security and maintaining transatlantic partnerships by providing modern, deployable capabilities and highly trained personnel to allied efforts.

The CAF have been a major contributor to NATO operations and exercises since its founding 65 years ago and is committed to transatlantic unity, security, and stability. Canada continues to provide modern, deployable capabilities to allied missions and highly trained personnel to its command structure. In recent years, Canada has been an active participant in NATO-led missions in Afghanistan, the Balkans (Operation KOBOLD), and Libya (Operation MOBILE).

Past Deployments

Air Task Force

Air Task Force

Four CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft, along with CAF personnel and other equipment, deployed in Western Europe to maintain a Canadian presence in the region in support of NATO allies and partner nations.

NATO Baltic Air Policing mission

The Air Task Force (ATF) participated in the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission from September to December 2014 and was based in Siauliai, Lithuania. ATF Lithuania included approximately 135 personnel, four CF-188 Hornet fighter jets along with a mission support element.

The BAP mission was handed over by Portugal and Canada to Italy and Poland respectively. Although Canada formally handed over its BAP mission responsibilities to Poland, the ATF continued to actively support BAP operations until 5 January 2015 to ensure continuity of operations and to support NATO allies and security partners in the interim transition period.

While participating in the BAP, the ATF worked with NATO allies and responded to any intrusions of Baltic air space. NATO’s Air Policing mission is purely defensive. It is not in response to any specific threat, but rather it is a routine and a fundamental component of how NATO provides security to its members. 

Air Task Force Romania

ATF Romania conducted interoperability training with NATO allies in Câmpia Turzii, Romania from May to August 2014. Personnel trained with allies in the areas of air defence, air superiority, aerospace testing and evaluation, and tactical support. The ATF included six CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft and about 200 personnel.

Maritime Task Force

Maritime Task Force

Task Force Winnipeg

HMCS Winnipeg joined Standing NATO Maritime Forces in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on 7 July 2015 where she contributed to counter-terrorism patrols and related activities in the Mediterranean Sea alongside Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) ships. HMCS Winnipeg left SNMG2 and joined SNMG1 in late-August 2015 in order to attend the Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2015 exhibition in London, United Kingdom, in mid-September 2015.

Throughout the deployment, HMCS Winnipeg participated in a variety of training exercises with NATO forces including Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15, Exercise JOINT WARRIOR, and Exercise NORTHERN COAST 2015.

HMCS Winnipeg was the first HMC Ship to deploy an Enhanced Naval Boarding Party (ENBP) on an operational mission. HMCS Winnipeg was replaced by HMCS Fredericton on 8 January 2016.

Task Force Fredericton

HMCS Fredericton was transferred to NATO’s operational control on 6 January 2015 and arrived in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after where it was assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2). HMCS Fredericton was tasked with patrolling the Mediterranean Sea to help detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity.

SNMG2 was comprised of HMCS Fredericton, U.S. flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), Turkish ship TCG Turgutreis (F 241), German oiler FGS Spessart (A 1442), Italian ship ITS Aliseo (F 574) and Romanian ship ROS Regina Maria (F 222).

Throughout the deployment, HMCS Fredericton participated in a variety of training exercises with NATO and non-NATO forces including exercises in the Black Sea, Exercise JOINT WARRIOR, Exercise DYNAMIC MONGOOSE, and Exercise BALTOPS. These exercises developed maritime situational awareness and interoperability as well as particular skills such as Anti-Submarine Warfare tactics. HMCS Fredericton also conducted a number of port visits to enhance diplomatic and defence relations with strategic partners in the region. HMCS Fredericton was replaced by HMCS Winnipeg on 7 July 2015.

Task Force Toronto

HMCS Toronto departed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on 24 July 2014 and arrived in its area of operations in the Mediterranean Sea on 3 August 2014. HMCS Toronto participated in Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR under SNMG2 in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship was tasked with locating, tracking, reporting and boarding vessels that are suspected of involvement in or support of terrorist activities in the Mediterranean Sea.

HMCS Toronto participated in various joint NATO training exercises, including Exercises NOBLE JUSTIFICATION, MAVI BALINA and a historic deployment to the Black Sea for Exercise SEA BREEZE. These joint NATO training exercises provided important opportunities to strengthen military-to-military and diplomatic relationships as well as promote shared security principles, defence professionalization and capacity building among the participating nations.

Task Force Regina

HMCS Regina left her home port of Esquimalt, British Columbia on 6 January 2014 and assumed duties in the Arabian Sea region on 15 February 2014 as part of Operation ARTEMIS. She served with the Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) and conducted counter-terrorism and maritime security operations until 30 April 2014, when she was committed to support NATO assurance measures in Europe. She was replaced by HMCS Toronto on 3 August 2014.

Land Task Force

Land Task Force

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR), deployed to Eastern and Central Europe to participate in NATO training between January and July 2015, including:

  • Exercise LANCER STRIKE (15-29 June 2015), an exercise with the Polish 25th Air Cavalry Brigade to enhance the interoperability of Canadian and Polish Forces.
  • Exercise SARMIS (15 May – 6 June 2015), a multinational exercise consisting of computer-simulated and field training scenarios in Cincu, Romania.
  • Exercise MOUNTAIN WARRIOR (1-30 April 2015) with Poland’s 25th Air Cavalry Brigade Reconnaissance Company in Trzclaniec, Poland.
  • Exercise SUMMER SHIELD (22-31 March 2015), a multinational exercise with over 1,100 NATO troops at Camp Adazi near Riga, Latvia.
  • Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT (16-28 January 2015), a US-led exercise alongside the Netherlands, Hungary, and Britain at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany.

Soldiers from the Canadian Army deployed to Eastern and Central Europe to take part in a variety of training exercises between May and December 2014, including:

  • Winter warfare training (8-12 December 2014) with US 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment in Lithuania.
  • Exercise FALCON (21-26 November 2014), an airmobile exercise with Polish soldiers of the 7th Battalion, 25th Air Cavalry Brigade in Nowa Deba, Poland.
  • Exercise IRON SWORD (13 – 15 October and 2-14 November) in Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • Exercise COMBINED RESOLVE III (16 September-12 November 2014), a U.S. Army Europe-led multinational exercise at the Joint Multinational Training Command's Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr Training Areas in Germany.
  • Exercise ANAKONDA (24 September-3 October 2014), a Polish Armed Forces-led joint exercise that involved nearly 12,500 personnel throughout Poland’s training areas.
  • Exercise STEADFAST JAVELIN II (2-8 September 2014) that took place in five European nations: Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
  • Exercise GNIEZNO (2-6 July 2014), a Canadian-led exercise, partnered with Polish troops, aimed at conducting a parachute insertion followed by a reserve demolition guard at secured bridge sites.
  • Exercise PEGASUS KORSARZ (23-27 June 2014), conducted in the Drawsko-Pomorski training area of Poland and focused on close-quarters battle training in urban settings.
  • Exercise SABRE STRIKE (9-20 June 2014), a longstanding American-led training exercise that included about 2,000 participants and focused on command and control and interoperability.
  • Exercise ORZEL ALERT (5-9 May 2014) that took place in Western Poland and involved airborne operations and infantry skills.

External Links

Government of Canada

CF-188 Hornet (Royal Canadian Air Force)
HMCS REGINA (Royal Canadian Navy)
HMCS TORONTO (Royal Canadian Navy)

International missions

NATO-Ukraine relations (NATO)
NATO Maritime Command (NATO)
Situation in Ukraine, chronology of events (NATO)
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (NATO)
U.S. Army Europe
U.S. Army Europe - Exercise Saber Strike
U.S. European Command


NATO assurance measures: Air Task Force (Canadian Forces Image Gallery)
NATO assurance measures: Land element (Canadian Forces Image Gallery)
NATO assurance measures: Maritime component (Canadian Forces Image Gallery)

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