(S) As part of Operation IMPACT, Canadian Armed Forces members are currently deployed on NATO Mission Iraq to help strengthen Iraqi security forces and military education institutions.
We recently spoke with the mission commander, Major-General Jennie Carignan, to discuss efforts during this current rotation, commanding the mission during COVID-19, and diversity in the CAF in light of Women’s History Month.
(MGen Carignan) Operating with COVID-19 in Iraq has been a challenge. It has added a level of complexity to everything we do here. However, we have learned a great deal since the start in March and we have adapted. So now, we are operating with COVID in a very comfortable way.
The safety and the security of our members on the mission is of primary concern for me. We have implemented a few measures to make sure that we protected and mitigated the risks of COVID-19. We have built redundancy and we've also implemented a business continuity plan to make sure that if we have people coming down with COVID that we can actually maintain the operations.
The CAF has clearly become a more diverse organization since I've joined because there was no way I could have been put into the position of command NATO mission Iraq. However, there's a lot more work that needs to be done to maintain the momentum in recruiting and retention of women within the Canadian Armed Forces.
Key leadership practices to create a positive work environment for me is based on the principle that great organizations are made of great people. So, to me, it's important to bring the team together and then harness their strengths to develop them to their full potential.
For anyone considering a career in the CAF, I would say: "Just do it. Don't overthink it. Give it a shot and I think you'll be surprised at what it is that you can do."