Joint Task Force 2 (JTF 2)

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Background Information

Canadians served with distinction in several types of Allied Special Forces units during the Second World War. One such unit was the legendary U.S. and Canadian combined 1st Special Service Force or, as it was commonly known, "the Devil's Brigade." It achieved a sterling combat record despite overwhelming odds. While tactics, weapons and technology have changed, today's JTF 2 soldiers are perpetuating the basic qualities that define such units.

JTF 2 was created on April 1, 1993, when the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) accepted responsibility for federal counter-terrorism operations from the RCMP. Since its inception, the unit has continuously evolved to meet modern-day threats. As the events of 11 September 2001 have shown, the threat of terrorism comes from an elusive, sophisticated and determined enemy. In order to maintain an edge in this operational environment, JTF 2 is continuously developing new capabilities, technologies, and tactics.The year 2001 marked an important milestone in the history of JTF 2. The unit was committed to the international Special Operations Forces coalition in Afghanistan, completing its operations there in November 2002. This deployment was the first time JTF 2 was used in a major combat role outside Canada. The unit played a critical role in coalition Special Operations Forces and earned the respect of Canada’s allies for its professionalism.

Our Mission

JTF 2 protects the Canadian National Interest and combats terrorism at home and abroad.

Our Messages

We are the highest readiness and most precise combat unit in the country.

We are a specialized unit within the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command that functions best when working jointly with every branch of the Canadian Armed Forces to support the Government of Canada.

We work daily with Canadian security and intelligence organizations to provide complimentary and unique capabilities.

We are closely allied with the very best special operations forces worldwide, allowing us to operate seamlessly when called upon.

We develop new tactics to stay ahead of our adversaries and stress-test new technologies for adoption into the Canadian Armed Forces.

We act only when asked to by the Government of Canada.

We see ourselves as protectors, not avengers.  We stay silent about our actions, but never break the law. 

Who is JTF 2?

There’s a lot of hype about what we do.  Most of it we can tell you, some of it we need to keep private.  But if you’re interested in who we are and what we do, there are a few things we’d like you to know.

We’re quiet professionals.

We exist to serve Canada. We do what the Government asks of us, but please respect that we can’t tell everyone how we complete it.  We are by our nature secretive because we need to be discreet.  We don’t get recognition or fame for what we do.  We do it so that Canadians can sleep at night.

We aspire to Excellence.

Trust and responsibility empowers us to do our best work.  Our people are highly motivated and mission-focused.  This gives us a sense of purpose that helps us achieve the most ambitious of goals.

We work with our colleagues.

We work with our national security partners in the rest of the Canadian Armed Forces and other government departments to meet the operational needs of the Government of Canada.  We work with our allies abroad to ensure we are part of a current and necessary conversation about global security.

We’re a precise and accurate tool.

We can be applied to any threat.  We are at the forefront of tactics and technology to give us the advantage over our enemies.  We are prepared to take action against any threat to Canadian at home or around the world and we are deeply trusted to complete every mission we’re sent on.

We’re Canadian.

Our proud Canadian identity makes us unique in the world of global security.  We work with the Government of Canada every single day to make sure we’re a valuable and relevant part of Canadian society.

We don’t break the law.

While we remain quiet about how we accomplish our missions, we are accountable to a strict code of ethics.  We are calm and calculated in our engagements, strictly adhering to Canadian and International law at every turn.

We do more than just kick doors.

Whether the Government of Canada requires information, experience, advice or action, we are standing by.  We maintain the highest readiness to protect Canadian interests from every threat in any form.

We are ready.

Unit Accountability

JTF 2 is a unit of the CAF and is subject to exactly the same code of conduct, military discipline and overriding Criminal Code statutes as any other military unit. Due to the strategic nature of its operations, the unit answers directly to the Commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. This allows for very timely command and control, access to strategic intelligence, and the oversight considered essential for military operations undertaken to meet national objectives. The Commander Canadian Special Operations Forces is accountable to the Chief of the Defence Staff who, in turn, is responsible to the Minister of National Defence.

Like other units of the CAF, JTF 2 follows Rules Of Engagements (ROE) authorized by the Chief of the Defence Staff. Its members are entitled to the same support and health services as other service members, they are accountable to the military and civilian justice systems, and they must follow the same regulations and orders as the rest of the CAF. Like any other CAF unit, internal oversight bodies such as the Chief of Review Services, the Military Police Complaints Commission, the Pay and Allowances Review Board, the Access to Information Office and the CAF Ombudsman all have access to JTF 2, if required, to carry out their duties.

 

Security

JTF 2 is subject to very stringent security procedures in order to protect the unit and its mission. Indeed, the type of operations assigned to JTF 2 naturally captures the interest of the public but there are many risks involved with information disclosure. The CAF recognizes the need to inform Canadians about the measures put in place by their Government to protect them against the threat of terrorism. Since its creation, JTF 2 has conducted numerous capability demonstrations for appropriate authorities that need to be aware of unit capabilities as part of their position or appointment. Such audiences include the CAF chain of command, Members of Parliament, government officials and police authorities. The Government has also informed Canadians about JTF 2 by notifying the public about its creation in 1992, its expansion following 11 September 2001, the JTF 2 commitment to Afghanistan in 2001 and 2005, awarding of the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation to unit members and by responding to media questions about the unit within the limits of the security policy. In 2012, CANSOFCOM deployed a Special Operations Task Force for Op Nanook, in which CANSOFCOM completed a realistic training scenario and supported a Canada Command capability demonstration for VVIPs and media. While CANSOFCOM participation in Op Nanook was a success, being open and transparent about certain aspects of the unit always presents a risk and could seriously compromise the effectiveness of Canada's counter-terrorism capability. History has shown only too clearly that terrorist organizations will use information about a unit's personnel, weapons, tactics and procedures to great effect by modifying their methodologies to counter the very forces designed to defeat them.

JTF 2 has established itself as a well-regarded Special Operations Forces unit. It has done so over its short history because of the outstanding quality and ability of its members, its proven operational effectiveness and its stringent operational security policy. This reputation has allowed the unit to develop strong relationships with its allied Special Operations Forces counterparts, relationships built on trust and confidence. These relationships assist JTF 2 in providing the best possible counter-terrorism defence for Canada. The CAF security policy for JTF 2 is primarily based on Canada's situation, and is designed to safeguard information sharing and most importantly to protect Canada's counter-terrorist capability.JTF 2 must be ready to respond immediately to any task assigned by the chain of command at home or abroad. The unit maintains the highest operational readiness standards in order to defend Canada against terrorism. On land, at sea and in the air JTF 2 challenges itself to ensure it's ready to defeat a multitude of potential threats. Canadians can take great comfort in the knowledge that as an integral part of Canada's Special Operations Forces community, JTF 2 stands on guard 24 hours a day to defend Canadians, and Canadian interests at home and abroad.