Operation REASSURANCE

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

During this operation, the CAF is conducting training, exercises, demonstrations, and assigned NATO tasks.

The CAF support to NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures promotes security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe, and demonstrates the readiness and professionalism of the CAF.

Attention: Update

From September 26 to October 15, 2016, approximately 190 members of the Operation REASSURANCE  Land Task Force (LTF) are participating in the multi-national Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT V. The goal of the exercise is to enhance the ability of forces in Europe, including CAF personnel, to work together. LTF members at the brigade and battalion levels are exercising tactical soldier skills and testing secure communications between nations.

 

The Task Force

Maritime Task Force

Maritime Task Force

Task Force Charlottetown

On June 29, 2016, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), which is a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various Allied countries.

HMCS Charlottetown is demonstrating Canada’s continued leadership on the world stage by making meaningful and enduring contributions to NATO counter-terrorism patrols and related activities.

From July 18 to August 5, 2016 HMCS Charlottetown conducted operations in the Black Sea. During that time, the ship conducted maritime situational awareness operations and participated in two training exercises – Exercise SEA SHIELD and Exercise SEA BREEZE – alongside NATO allies and partner states. These activities enhanced maritime security in the region and promoted international cooperation. HMCS Charlottetown also conducted a port visit to enhance diplomatic and defence relations with strategic partners.

In August 2016, HMCS Charlottetown returned to its regular Standing NATO Maritime Group Two duties in the Mediterranean Sea.

On September 8, 2016, HMCS Charlottetown conducted a cooperative boarding on the Togolese flag merchant vessel BYBLOS during a patrol in the Mediterranean Sea. This boarding operation confirmed the capabilities of the ship’s naval boarding party and demonstrated its integration with SNMG2.

HMCS Charlottetown 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.

Land Task Force

Land Task Force

In August 2016, approximately 220 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to Poland in support of Operation REASSURANCE. The soldiers are predominantly from 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton, Alberta. Several other units from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and from the Reserve Force are also contributing soldiers to the contingent.

Throughout their six-month deployment, the contingent will participate in exercises which focus on developing better interoperability with NATO allies and other partner nations. The Land Task Force will participate in exercises in a number of countries including Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

Mission Context

On April 16, 2014 NATO agreed upon and began to implement a series of military measures to reinforce NATO’s collective defence and demonstrate the strength of allied solidarity. These measures are based on the principles of defence, deterrence and de-escalation. Canadian Armed Forces assets were offered to NATO on April 17, 2014.

Canada and NATO

Canada is a strong supporter of NATO and is committed to doing its part to support partner nations.

The CAF has been a major contributor to NATO operations and exercises since its founding 65 years ago, and is committed to transatlantic unity, security, and stability. In recent years, Canada has been an active participant in NATO-led missions in Afghanistan, the Balkans (Operation KOBOLD), and Libya (Operation MOBILE).

Mission timeline

  • April 29, 2014 – the CAF deployed an Air Task Force comprising six CF-188 Hornets from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, based at 3 Wing Bagotville.
  • May 3, 2014 – the CAF deployed a platoon-sized Land Task Force to Eastern and Central Europe.
  • May 13, 2014 – the CAF deployed a Maritime Task Force comprising HMCS Regina to the Mediterranean Sea.
  • December 19, 2014 – Canadian Army soldiers completed their participation in multinational military training activities and returned to Canada.
  • December 31, 2014 – Air Task Force Lithuania completed its support to the 36th rotation of NATO Baltic Air Policing operations.
  • January 6, 2015 – HMCS Fredericton was transferred to NATO’s operational control and arrived in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after to join Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2).
  • Early January 2015 – A small contingent of Canadian Army soldiers deployed to Germany to participate in a 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 relieve their counterparts.
  • July 7, 2015 – HMCS Winnipeg arrived in the Mediterranean Sea and replaced HMCS Fredericton.
  • January 8, 2016 – HMCS Fredericton joined SNMG2, replacing HMCS Winnipeg.
  • February 2016 – Canadian Army soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group deployed to Poland to take over duties from 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment.
  • June 29, 2016 – HMCS Charlottetown joined SNMG2, replacing HMCS Fredericton.
  • August 2016 -  Soldiers from 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, and from the Reserve Force deployed to Poland to take over duties from 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment and 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.

Past Deployments

Maritime Task Force

Maritime Task Force

Task Force Fredericton

HMCS Fredericton joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) in the Mediterranean Sea on January 8, 2016. During its deployment, HMCS Fredericton contributed to SNMG2 patrols to promote stability in the region. This included patrolling the Aegean Sea from February 12, 2016 to March 31, 2016. The ship conducted surveillance, reconnaissance, and monitoring of migrant crossings in the Aegean in cooperation with relevant authorities.

From April 1 to 21, 2016, HMCS Fredericton led SNMG2 Task Unit 02, deployed to the Black Sea. During this time, HMCS Fredericton conducted operations in concert with Romanian frigate ROS Regina Maria and other allied ships from Bulgaria and Turkey. HMCS Fredericton returned to the Mediterranean Sea in early May where it rejoined its SNMG2 consorts. HMCS Fredericton was replaced by HMCS Charlottetown on June 29, 2016.

Task Force Winnipeg

HMCS Winnipeg joined SNMG2 in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on July 7, 2015. It contributed to counter-terrorism patrols and related activities in the Mediterranean Sea alongside SNMG2 ships. HMCS Winnipeg left SNMG2 and joined SNMG1 in late-August 2015 in order to attend the Defense & Security Equipment International 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 January 8, 2016.

Task Force Fredericton

HMCS Fredericton was transferred to NATO’s operational control on January 6, 2015 and arrived in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after where it was assigned to SNMG2. HMCS Fredericton patrolled the Mediterranean Sea to help detect, deter, and protect against terrorist activity.

SNMG2 comprised 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 July 7, 2015.

Task Force Toronto

HMCS Toronto arrived in its area of operations in the Mediterranean Sea on August 3, 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 assumed duties in the Arabian Sea region on February 15, 2014 as part of Operation ARTEMIS. It served with the Combined Task Force 150 and conducted counter-terrorism and maritime security operations until April 30, 2014, when it was committed to support NATO assurance measures in Europe. It was replaced by HMCS Toronto on August 3, 2014.

Land Task Force

Land Task Force

Land Task Force members regularly participated in exercises which allowed them to learn from and integrate with international partners and allies. These exercises developed the Land Task Force members’ leadership, interoperability with allies, and a variety of skills across the profession of arms.

From February to August 2016, soldiers primarily from 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment and 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, based in Valcartier, QC, took part in six exercises:

  • Exercise SABER GUARDIAN in Cincu, Romania from July 27 to August 7, 2016
  • Exercise ANAKONDA in Poland from  June 6 to 17, 2016
  • Exercise HUNTER in Pabrade, Lithuania from May 9 to 19, 2016
  • Exercise SPRING STORM in Voru, Estonia from May 7 to 19, 2016
  • Exercise SUMMER SHIELD in Adazi , Latvia from April 17 to 29, 2016
  • Exercise SCORPION FURY in Cincu, Romania from April 7 to 20, 2016

Between July 2015 and February April 2016, soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5CMBG) – part of the 2nd Canadian Division – took part in the following exercises:

  • Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT IV in Hohenfels, Germany from January 10 to 5 February, 2016
  • Exercise IRON SWORD in Nemencine, Lithuania from November 9 to 20, 2015
  • JOINTEX 15 from October 21 to November 6, 2015
  • Exercise DRAGON in Poland from October 13 to 23, 2015
  • Exercise SILVER ARROW in Kadaga, Latvia from September 15 to 30, 2015
  • Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT II in Hohenfels, Germany from August 4 to 24, 2015

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 in Poland from June 15 to 29, 2015
  • Exercise SARMIS in Cincu, Romania from May 15 to June 6, 2015
  • Exercise MOUNTAIN WARRIOR in Trzclaniec, Poland from April 1 to 30, 2015
  • Exercise SUMMER SHIELD near Riga, Latvia from March 22 to 31, 2015
  • Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT in Hohenfels, Germany from January 16 to 28, 2015

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 in Lithuania from December 8 to 12, 2014
  • Exercise FALCON in Nowa Deba, Poland from November 21 to 26, 2014
  • Exercise IRON SWORD in Vilnius, Lithuania from October 13 to 15, and November 2 to 14, 2014
  • Exercise COMBINED RESOLVE III in Hohenfels, Germany from September 16 to November 12 2014
  • Exercise ANAKONDA in Poland from September 24 to October 3, 2014
  • Exercise STEADFAST JAVELIN II in Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from September 2 to 8, 2014
  • Exercise GNIEZNO in Poland from July 2 to 6, 2014
  • Exercise PEGASUS KORSARZ in Drawsko-Pomorski, Poland from June 23-27, 2014
  • Exercise SABRE STRIKE in Adazi, Latvia from June 9 to 20, 2014
  • Exercise ORZEL ALERT in Poland from May 5 to 9, 2014
Air Task Force

Air Task Force

From April 29, 2014 to January 5, 2015, CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft, along with CAF personnel and other equipment, deployed in Central and Eastern 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.

Image gallery - Air Task Force

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