Operation REASSURANCE

Image gallery - Air Task Force

Image gallery - Maritime Task Force

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have deployed a number of 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.

Canada is a strong supporter of NATO and is committed to doing its part as a member of the alliance. In coordination with its NATO partners, Canada is continually looking for opportunities to contribute to peace and stability in Central and Eastern Europe and planning is ongoing for future activities related to Op REASSURANCE.

The Task Force

Air Task Force

There are currently 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.

The CF-188 is Canada's frontline multi-role fighter, and its pilots are trained to perform air defence, air superiority, training and tactical support missions. CF-188 pilots are trained to engage both aerial and ground targets.

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.

One of NATO’s roles in peacetime is to preserve the integrity of NATO European airspace and to safeguard NATO nations from air attacks. For member nations not having the full range of air defence assets in their own militaries (Albania, Luxembourg, Iceland, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia), agreements exist to ensure a single standard of security within NATO’s area of responsibility.

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

Air Task Force (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

Task Force Fredericton

HMCS Fredericton is currently sailing with Standing NATO Maritime Forces in the Mediterranean Sea and is tasked with locating, tracking, reporting and boarding vessels that are suspected of involvement in or support of terrorist activities. HMCS Fredericton is a Halifax-class frigate with a crew of 250 personnel of all ranks, including a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment.

HMCS Fredericton is the first modernized frigate to deploy as part of the Halifax-class modernization/frigate life extension (HCM/FELEX) upgrade. This includes a new combat management system, new radar capability, a new electronic warfare system, upgraded communications and missiles, as well as a new integrated platform management system.

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 Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (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

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. The exercises were designed to develop and enhance interoperability, readiness, joint operations capabilities and multinational responses to potential crises.

Winter warfare training (8 – 12 December 2014)

Members from Oscar Company, 3rd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment are participating in winter warfare training with US 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment in Lithuania.

Exercise FALCON (21 – 26 November 2014)

Exercise FALCON was an airmobile exercise with Polish soldiers of the 7th Battalion, 25th Air Cavalry Brigade which took place in Nowa Deba, Poland.

Exercise IRON SWORD (13 – 15 October and 2 – 14 November)

Ex IRON SWORD was a multinational exercise in Vilnius, Lithuania where approximately 10 CAF members trained and assessed multinational battalions. Participating nations included Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as well as the United States, Germany, Czech Republic and Hungary. 

Exercise COMBINED RESOLVE III (16 September – 12 November 2014)

Ex COMBINED RESOLVE III was a U.S. Army Europe-led multinational exercise at the Joint Multinational Training Command's Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr Training Areas in Germany. Approximately 100 CAF members participated along with the United States and 19 European countries.

Exercise ANAKONDA (24 September – 3 October 2014)

Ex ANAKONDA was a Polish Armed Forces-led joint exercise that involved nearly 12,500 personnel, including 750 soldiers from NATO allied countries (Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Great Britain, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United States). It took place throughout Poland’s training areas.

Exercise STEADFAST JAVELIN II (2-8 September 2014)

Ex STEADFAST JAVELIN II was a multinational exercise that took place in five European nations: Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. About 100 CAF members participated in Latvia. More than 1,000 military members from the three Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) as well as Bulgaria, Canada, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States participated.

Exercise GNIEZNO (2-6 July 2014)

Ex GNIEZNO was 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)

Ex PEGASUS KORSARZ was a Canadian-led initiative conducted in the Drawsko-Pomorski training area of Poland. It focused on close-quarters battle training in urban settings and was designed to improve skills such as room entries and clearances.

Exercise SABRE STRIKE (9-20 June 2014)

Exercise SABRE STRIKE is a longstanding American-led training exercise that focuses on command and control and interoperability. The exercise included about 2,000 participants from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Poland and the United States. Approximately 120 Canadian soldiers participated.

Exercise ORZEL ALERT (5-9 May 2014)

Exercise ORZEL ALERT took place in Western Poland. 45 Canadian soldiers participated in training for airborne operations and infantry skills alongside Polish and American allies.

Mission Context

  • 16 April 2014 – NATO agreed and began to implement a series of military measures to reinforce NATO’s collective defence to 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 Cental 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 arrived in the Mediterranean Sea to join Standing NATO Maritime Forces and conduct patrols in support of NATO assurance measures.

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.

 

“NATO has truly been the cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic defence and has shaped the architecture of international security. It’s been the model of mutual cooperation and it stands as the finest example of what can be achieved when nations work together and prioritize interoperable, deployable and flexible forces.”

General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff

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).

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

Imagery

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)
Flickr