Operation VIKING (SHIRBRIG)

International Information

International Operation Name: Operation VIKING

International Mission Name: Operation VIKING (SHIRBRIG)

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Europe

Location: Denmark

Mission Date: 27 June 1997 - Present

Mission Mandate: To provide one permanent member and identify others for the Canadian Forces contingent to the SHIRBRIG Planning Element.

Mission/Operation Notes: In his 1995 “Supplement to an Agenda for Peace” the UN Secretary-General recommended that the UN consider the idea of a rapid deployment force. While Canada had previously been examining the possibility of a UN headquarters formation, Denmark and the Netherlands were examining a troop-based formation. Other nations soon joined the idea of creating a rapid reaction force based on a headquarters and troops. On 15 December 1996, seven nations signed the three agreements that created the United Nations Multinational Standby High Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG). On 2 September 1997, the Secretary-General opened the SHIRBRIG Planning Element outside Copenhagen, Denmark. SHIRBRIG continued to grow so that by January 2000 SHIRBRIG announced that it was ready to deploy.

As part of the SHIRBRIG infrastructure a permanent Planning Element was created initially consisting of 13 officers representing all branches of the headquarters and forming the core of the SHIRBRIG headquarters staff. The Planning Element works on developing concepts, doctrine and policies in the areas of communications, operations and rules of engagement among other areas. These are used not only for training the SHIRBRIG-ready forces, but also for any deployments.

On 27 June 1997, the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff issued the order to provide a Canadian Forces contingent to the SHIRBRIG Planning Element. This Canadian contingent was given the name Operation VIKING. Canada committed to providing one officer to the Planning Element and at least five others should the SHIRBRIG Headquarters deploys.

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