Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT builds readiness and respect

Article / March 8, 2022 / Project number: 22-0009

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By Steve Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik, Northwest Territories — Climate change and technological advancements are two of the main factors making the Arctic increasingly accessible, and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) must be ready for potential safety and security issues as activity in the region increases.

That is the motivation behind Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT 2022 (Op NA-NU 22), which took place from February 14-28, 2022 in Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

An annual training event, Op NA-NU 22 is not only a demonstration of the CAF’s operational capabilities in the Arctic, but also a collaboration with domestic government partners and military allies from other nations.

The 2022 edition involved more than 200 personnel, including land, sea, and air elements, working alongside partners from the U.S. and France where the focus was on interoperability. The participants conducted long range patrols, under ice diving and other activities to further develop their ability to operate in the challenging Arctic cold.

Isolation is another challenge of Arctic military operations. Due to the inefficiency of road travel in the North, an air task force from the Royal Canadian Air Force moved personnel and supplies back and forth between Inuvik and the operation’s headquarters in Tuktoyaktuk. The Royal Canadian Navy provided Port Inspection Divers.

Canadian Army contributions to Op NA-NU 22 included Reservists from Winnipeg-based 38 Canadian Brigade Group and Regular Force Combat Divers from 4 Engineer Support Regiment in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Members of 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, who serve and live in the North, were also a vital component. Their expertise and local knowledge were vital to the operation itself and in preparation for it.

Canadian Rangers not only act as the CAF’s eyes and ears in remote, isolated and coastal regions of Canada, but also as ambassadors in their communities to support consultations between the CAF and local Indigenous communities that took place in advance of Op NA-NU 22.

“Canadian Rangers were invaluable to Op NA-NU 22,” explained Major-General Michel-Henri St-Louis, Acting Commander Canadian Army. “Our planning always includes close consultation with communities that may be affected and Rangers bring an important, local perspective.”

MGen St-Louis, who also serves as Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples, added that maintaining and deepening relationships with Indigenous communities is a priority not only for Op NA-NU 22 but always.

“Indigenous communities are the heart of Canada’s North,” he said. “Improving understanding between them and the CAF, as well as building and maintaining respect between us, is an ongoing priority for myself and CAF leadership.”

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