DT News interview: Command team from Operational Support Hub – Latin America and the Caribbean

Video / March 3, 2021


(Shelley) Canada works closely with Central American, South American, and Caribbean partners to enhance regional security and interoperability in the area. To continue to grow this international partnership, the Operational Support Hub – Latin America and the Caribbean (OSH-LAC) was activated in Kingston, Jamaica in August 2020.

The Commanding Officer of the Hub Activation Team, Lieutenant-Colonel Yves Lavoie, and the Commander of Canadian Forces Joint Operational Support Group, Colonel Daniel Smith joins us today to discuss the collaborative work being done as part of this newly enabled force.

Col Smith, what is an operational support hub and why is this one so important for the CAF and its partners?

(DS) Broadly speaking, an operational support hub is a physical entity through which a hub-and-spoke distribution and support model can work. Its primary focus is a location from which support operations can be conducted Latin America-Caribbean region. Principally, humanitarian assistance disaster relief operations but it can support other operations, exercises or activity in the region.

(S) LCol Lavoie, can you describe some of the training that has done with the Jamaican Defence Force and why this is key to the CAF presence in the area?

(YL) We stressed from day one that we really wanted to have the senior leadership involvement on the Jamaican Defence Force site. For us to be tactful and insightful into where the Jamaican government wanted to develop the capabilities. Having said that, we also did focus on some hands-on training. Simple matters, such as pallet-loading systems for aircraft equipment movement and so forth, was done more at the operational level and it was indeed very well-attended.

(S) What work has been done in the last few months to have the facility operational?

(DS) The staff here have been working on five-year plans for OSH-LAC on what do we need to do. One of the things that’s important in that is the partnership with the countries. In this case, of course, we’re specifically talking about Jamaica and the Jamaican Defence Force. And we are actively working to keep those partnerships open and active because of the mutual benefit to both of us.

(S) What measures and considerations is the hub taking to address COVID-19?

(YL) So one thing that I have to say on that from the get-go is that we take public health measures in the Canadian (Armed) Forces very seriously. All the Canadian public health measures standards were applied pre, during and post-deployment. For instance, before deployment we all had to conduct COVID-19 tests. Of course, the tests had to be negative. We were in confinement for three days at CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Kingston to make sure we would set the conditions for the Jamaican Defence Forces to be satisfied with the application of public health measures in Canada and in Jamaica.

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