International Reserve Partnerships

Chief Reserves as well as the Directorate of Reserves are engaged in three International Reserve Programs.

National Reserve Forces Committee (NFRC)

The National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) was established in 1981 as the central forum of NATO for reservist matters.

Canada participates fully with the Chief Reserves attending all high level meetings. There are a number of other CAF Reserves assigned to various committees and tasks within NRFC.

Objectives and responsibilities

The NRFC has the task of preparing conceptual proposals and developing approaches as an advisory body for the Military Committee and member countries in this area. These are defined as:

  • Strengthen the readiness of the Alliance Reserves by providing a forum for informal and candid exchanges of information.
  • Providing policy advice on Reserve issues to the Military Committee.
  • Providing advice and support to the CIOR to assist their activities in support of Alliance goals and advise the Military Committee on its relationship with CIOR.

The NRFC is focused on strengthening the operational readiness of NATO reserve forces by broadening the exchange of information and deploying reserve forces jointly with active forces. The Committee does not address strategic, tactical or operational issues. This is the prerogative of the member nations or the NATO military command structure.

Functioning of the committee

Currently 23 NATO nations are members while Australia has been granted permanent observer status. The NRFC holds plenary conferences at least twice a year and almost all NATO countries are members – the exceptions being Albania, Iceland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Croatia. Committee delegations are appointed by their respective national ministries of defence, and the national heads of delegations are mostly heads of reserve or commissioners of reserve allied forces.

Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR)

The Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers, commonly referred to by its French acronym CIOR, is a NATO- affiliated non-political and non-profit umbrella organization.  CIOR examines issues and provides analysis relating to Reserve Forces, such as participation in international operations, the law of armed conflict, the impact of NATO expansion on the Reserves, and employer support to Reservists.

Founded in 1948 by the reserve officer associations of Belgium, France and the Netherlands, it now includes 36 participating nations from within and beyond NATO. The CIOR meets twice a year – in the summer and winter – and work through committees to examine reserve issues and provide analysis in support of reserve forces. 

In addition to their roles as reserve officers, many individual delegates of CIOR are highly accomplished business leaders, public servants and academics.  From this background they provide unique insight by bringing civilian expertise and experience, enabling them to contribute to a better understanding on security and defence issues and the affects on society as a whole, and the tasks and challenges facing Reserve Forces in NATO.

The CIOR is structured around a constitution that provides for a rotating presidency, a CIOR Executive Council comprised of vice-presidents of participating nations, key committees and several annual events that promote training, education and professional development.  The presidential term is two years in length.  The current presidency is held by France.

CIOR committees include:

  1. Defence Attitudes and Security Issues Committee (DEFSEC)
  2. Civil/Military Cooperation Committee (CIMIC)
  3. Military Competitions Committee (MILCOMP)
  4. Legal Committee
  5. Partnership for Peace Committee (PfP)
  6. Language Academy Committee
  7. Winter Seminar Committee
  8. Young Reserve Officers Committee and Young Reserve Officer Workshop (YROW).

Canada is represented by a delegation of Reservists who participate on the CIOR Executive Council as well as a number of the committees.

Reserve Forces Foreign Service Arrangements

The Reserve Forces Foreign Service Arrangements (RFFSA) are a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between Canada and other countries with similar reserve force structures.

The RFFSA is intended to accommodate the training requirements of the participants’ Reserve Force members when those members are temporarily residing within a Host Nation and are unable to train with the Parent Unit. A secondary intent of the RFFSA is to foster the development and maintenance of an active relationship between the participants’ reserve force units. 

The RFFSA is a voluntary, individual arrangement and applies to a member who is in a participating country, for example, attending school, working for a civilian employer on temporary assignment, or while accompanying a family member who is attending school or on a temporary work assignment. 

The RFFSA will allow eligible officers and non-commissioned members to undergo training and employment with a similar unit of the Host Nation. Applicants must be qualified in their occupation and be supported by their chain-of-command. Both the Parent and Gaining Units must agree to a defined period of service, usually between one and three years, during which the Parent Unit covers the member’s pay.

The RFFSA does not apply to secondments, loans, or exchanges of either Regular or Reserve Force personnel, such as mutual exchanges or small unit exchanges, which will be governed by separate arrangements as appropriate. 

There are currently three countries that Canada has RFFSA MOUs with - they are:

  1. the United Kingdom
  2. Australia
  3. the United States of America
  4. New Zealand


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