Operation REASSURANCE

Image gallery - Air 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

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

Task Force Winnipeg

HMCS Winnipeg joined Standing NATO Maritime Forces in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on 7 July 2015. HMCS Winnipeg will contribute to counter-terrorism patrols and related activities in the Mediterranean Sea alongside Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) ships. HMCS Winnipeg 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.

HMCS Winnipeg is the first HMC Ship to deploy an Enhanced Naval Boarding Party (ENBP) on an operational mission. The ENBP team is better trained and equipped to provide HMC Ships with enhanced agility, flexibility, and tactical expertise to confront and deter a variety of threats in high-risk operational environments.

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 – will take 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 demonstrate their leadership abilities.

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.

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

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

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 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 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

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