Canada-UK Army Staff Talks increase cooperation 

Article / May 9 2022 / Project number: 22-0021

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The armies of Canada and the United Kingdom are another step closer to finalizing a new, long-term bilateral training plan.

Further development of that plan was just one part of this year’s Canada-United Kingdom Army Staff Talks (CAN-UK AST), which took place from May 4-6 in Ottawa.

The Canadian Army (CA) takes part in several Army Staff Talks each year, meeting with counterparts from allied nations to improve and enhance how they work and train together.

Canada and the UK are also members of the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance, which includes the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. Bilateral meetings between the CA and those partners also inform a wider effort to achieve seamless integration between all of them on exercises and operations.

Once complete, the in-development Canada-UK training plan will set the stage for five more years of effective partnership in individual and collective training between these tight-knit allies.

“We look five years ahead to synchronize activities covered by all lines of governance and make sure all the activities are feasible,” explained Lieutenant-Colonel Sebastien Lemieux, who was part of the CA’s CAN-UK AST delegation.

“The aim is to get common agreement between us to implement and synchronize our activities,” he added. “We also make sure that we are able to do activities that are complementary and maintain an ongoing exchange of skills and ideas.”

As an example, LCol Lemieux points to Canada’s expertise in Arctic and cold weather training Canada and the British Army’s jungle training capabilities.

“This is only in the earliest stages of discussion,” LCol Lemieux said. “Eventually, we hope to participate in a jungle instructor qualification in Brunei that would provide the CA with two things: a specific expertise and exposure to that region.”

The in-development training plan will also impact exchange programs that offer Canadians the opportunity to serve within British lines and vice versa. Those programs involve Liaison Officers, who serve longer-term within the other army, and exchange officers who are given short-term placements in line units to learn from their cultural and tactical differences.

“Exchanges are a great way for us to share our knowledge and acquire expertise by learning new ways of training,” said LCol Lemieux.

While participants in this year’s CAN-UK AST were looking five years ahead, earlier agreements have paved the way for a British infantry company to be part of this year’s Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE (Ex MR).

Ex MR, the CA’s largest and most complex annual training exercise, is a key milestone in its training cycle. That cycle begins when one of the CA’s Mechanized Brigades is selected to undergo intensive training.

Ex MR is where the chosen brigade’s readiness is validated. Once it is complete the brigade will stand in a state of high readiness for any unplanned operations or contingency tasks over the next year.

This year Ex MR will take place May 10-22 in Wainwright, Alberta. 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters (2 CMBG HQ), based in Petawawa, Ontario will be in the high readiness role.

“Coordinating our training is a complex process but the result is a valuable opportunity for our armies to collaborate and improve our interoperability,” said LCol Lemieux.

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