Happy Holidays from the Canadian Army Command Team

Statement / December 18, 2023 / Project number: 22-0191

Colleagues, as we begin another holiday season, Chief Warrant Officer Smith and I would like to offer best wishes to our Canadian Army family and to partners and allies here in Canada and across the world.

This is a time to consider those less fortunate than us. We have an enviable quality of life in this country and should pause and reflect upon all those across the world facing conflict and the pain and suffering that come with it.

To our Army colleagues: thank you for another year of hard work, resilience, and determination. And these qualities are more important than ever now, as we face increasing tensions in Europe, the Indo Pacific, the Middle East, and South America.

We are grateful to all of you who are serving overseas and far from home this season.

Our colleagues on Operation IMPACT are continuing the important work of building the military capabilities of Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon to ensure the long-term success of those nations.

On Op UNIFIER, you continued to set a high standard, sharing your expertise with Ukrainian Armed Forces recruits to ensure they are well-trained to face Russia’s aggression.

As an army, our focus shall remain on Ukraine. Past and future warfare is unfolding and emerging on the battlefield of Ukraine. Our institution must adapt and implement the hard learned lessons of our Ukrainian partners. The people of Ukraine are showing us that morale and courage matter. They are an inspiration. We ask you to carry that inspiration with you.

On Op REASSURANCE, you are representing Canada, the framework nation of the enhanced Forward Presence Latvia Battlegroup, admirably. You can stand proudly alongside our NATO partners in our collective opposition to authoritarianism as we begin the expansion of the enhanced Forward Presence to a Multinational Brigade (MNB) and continue to introduce new capabilities. The effectiveness of the MNB will clearly show our NATO allies that Canada remains a leader within the alliance.

We are making our MNB a priority in 2024. Many Reservists are eager to deploy to Latvia and I have directed that they will account for at least 20 per cent of personnel on each rotation.

Given the level of tension on the international scene, more than ever we need a unified One Army team comprised of Regular and Reserve Force soldiers, Rangers, and civilian Defence Team members that are prepared for whatever challenges we are faced with.

Op LENTUS deployments have been steadily increasing across the country, and 2023 was no exception.

To put that in perspective, the average annual number of Op LENTUS deployments prior to 2017 was 2.25. This year it was 8 and most of those deployments involved more than 150 personnel.

Emergencies related to extreme weather and natural disasters of all kinds are becoming more numerous everywhere and, as the force of last resort, we must always be ready to respond and come to the help of our fellow citizens when asked to do so by our government. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Colleagues, let there be no doubt: Our organization is facing many pressures. In order to balance the increasing operational demands placed upon the Army and our personnel we need to carefully manage the personnel tempo of our members, while generating the readiness required for operational outputs. With these challenges also comes opportunities and we are Strong, Proud and Ready to seize them.

The Army Sergeant Major and I urge you to take as much of this time as possible to rest and recharge with friends and family so that you can return to work with the same sense of purpose that has always driven us.

Happy Holiday to all!

Lieutenant-General Jocelyn (Joe) Paul
Commander Canadian Army

Chief Warrant Officer James Smith
Army Sergeant-Major

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