Operation REASSURANCE

From: National Defence

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has members serving on Operation REASSURANCE in Central and Eastern Europe. They are there as part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures. These measures aim to reinforce NATO’s collective defence. It also shows the strength of Allied solidarity.

During this operation, the CAF is conducting training, exercises, and some NATO-specific tasks.

The CAF support to NATO helps make Central and Eastern Europe more secure and stable. It also shows that the CAF is a professional force that is ready for any task.

Update

On November 1, 2022, HMCS Kingston & Summerside returned to Canada from their latest deployment in Europe as part of Standing NATO Maritime Countermeasure Group 1. 

How many people are deployed?

Approximately 1 000 Canadian Armed Forces Members are deployed in support of Operation REASSURANCE, making it Canada’s largest current international military operation. 

What are they doing?

Sea

Maritime Task Force

Since 2014, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have deployed a warship on a persistent rotational basis to be employed for exercises and operational tasks in the NATO Maritime Command’s areas of responsibility.

  • From June 26 to November 1, 2022, HMCS Kingston and Summerside sailed the waters of Northern Europe with Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group 1.

HMCS Kingston and Summerside’s deployments were part of a range of military activities undertaken by the CAF to support NATO assurance and deterrence measures. These activities included the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks and demonstrated Canada’s commitment to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.

Land

Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia

In June 2017, the CAF deployed about 540 Canadian Army members to Latvia. They lead a NATO Battle Group, which forms the backbone of the Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia, and provide support capabilities to this Allied force. The Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia comprises personnel from over one third of all NATO nations, including:

  • Albania
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Montenegro
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain

This Battle Group and other specialist enablers work as part of the Latvian Land Forces Infantry Brigade. It is based at Camp Adazi, Latvia.

NATO has deployed four such Battle Groups to the Baltics and Poland. These Battle Groups demonstrate the strength of the NATO alliance, and aim to deter aggression, prevent conflict and protect stability in the region.

On February 22, it was announced that a battery of M777 artillery guns with forward observers, and an electronic warfare troop, consisting of approximately 155 soldiers, would also be attached to the Battle Group.

Task Force Poland

Since February 2022, the Russian aggression against its Ukrainian neighbor has generated a large number of refugees, a significant number of which fled to Poland. As such, on April 16, 2022, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) began assisting the Polish Territorial Defence Force (PTDF) with the manning of reception centers to welcome fleeing Ukrainians into Poland. As the flow of refugees has diminished over the summer, the PTDF either closed or handed over some of the reception centers to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and CAF support is no longer required at this moment in time. Consequently, as of July 31, 2022, CAF support to the reception centers in Poland has ended and CAF members have returned home to Canada. During their deployed period, CAF members working alongside their allies helped thousands of refugees with administrative support, CAF Health Services provided primary care to more than 2700 patients, CAF Chaplains provided spiritual support to more than 5800 refugees, and CAF translators provided linguistic support to over 30,000 Ukrainians. Additionally, CAF elements present in Poland also took part in interoperability training with their counterparts in the Polish Armed Forces.

Air

Air Task Force - Romania

From February to the end of June 2022, a CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft was tasked under NATO command and control, and carried out operations in the Euro-Atlantic Area. The aircraft returned to Canada on July 2nd.

As part of Operation REASSURANCE, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) deploys an Air Task Force (ATF) to Constanta, Romania, with approximately 170 CAF personnel and 6 CF-188 Hornet to participate in the Block 60 of NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania for four months from 1 August to 1 December, 2022. During this deployment, the CF-188 Hornet will augment the air policing capabilities of the Romanian Air Force.

This marks the seventh time that the CAF deployed an ATF to Romania on Op REASSURANCE. The first time was in 2014 in Campia Turzii, and then in Constanta, Romania, in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Air Task Force – Prestwick

On September 15, 2022, Air Task Force Prestwick (ATF-P) was created as part of the expansion of the tactical airlift detachment that previously supported operation REASSURANCE.

ATF-P is the main transport hub via which the CAF sustains various operations across the world, including NATO assurance and deterrence measures. In addition to its missions in support of Ukraine, ATF-P will support Canadian Armed Forces deployed missions including Operations REASSURANCE (Central and Eastern Europe), IMPACT (Middle East), PRESENCE (Africa) and OPEN SKIES.

To ensure capacity and operational flexibility, ATF-P operates three CC-130J Hercules aircrafts, and employs support personnel responsible for maintenance, cargo movements and administration. ATF-P is made up of approximately 60 Canadian Armed Forces members with further augmentation based on operational tempo. ATF-P uses a ‘Hub and Spoke’ concept of operations, which the RCAF has been operating in recent years both overseas and domestically.

History and context of the operation

NATO agreed upon and began to enact a series of military measures on April 16, 2014. They are based on the principles of defence, deterrence and de-escalation meant to:

  • reinforce NATO’s collective defence
  • demonstrate the strength of allied solidarity

The CAF offered assets and members to NATO on April 17, 2014.

Canadian Armed Forces’ relationship with NATO

Canada is a strong supporter of NATO. It is committed to doing its part to help NATO allies and partner nations.

The CAF is a major contributor to NATO operations and exercises. It has been fully engaged since NATO was founded in 1949. The CAF is committed to unity, security, and stability on both sides of the Atlantic. In recent years, Canada has been an active participant in NATO-led missions in:

  • The Balkans (Operation KOBOLD)
  • Libya (Operation MOBILE)

Mission timeline

  • April 29, 2014 – the CAF sent its first CF-188 Hornet Air Task Force to Europe. Since then, the CAF had periodically sent air task forces to Central and Eastern Europe.
  • May 3, 2014 – the CAF sent a Land Task Force to Central and Eastern Europe, based in Poland.
  • May 13, 2014 – the CAF sent a Maritime Task Force of one frigate to Central and Eastern Europe.
  • June 19, 2017 – Canadian-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup Latvia was stood up during a ceremony at Camp Adazi, Latvia.
  • August 17, 2017 – The Land Task Force in Poland completed its final deployment.
  • July 10, 2018 – The Prime Minister of Canada announced the renewal of Canada’s contribution to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence until March 2023. The CAF will also increase the number of members deployed to Latvia from 455 to 540.
  • June 28, 2021 – The Canadian Armed Forces opened the new multi-national headquarters building, adjacent to the Latvian National Armed Forces Joint Headquarters. This building currently houses Task Force Latvia Headquarters and will be poised in the future to house the leadership of the other allied nations that will contribute personnel to the NATO eFP Battle Group. 

Past Deployments

CAF members have continuously supported NATO assurance and deterrence measures since 2014.

  • To date, ten different ships have contributed to this operation over 17 deployments.
  • From May 2014 to August 2017, over 1000 soldiers deployed in eight rotations to Europe. Based at Drawsko Pomosrkie Training Area, Poland, they regularly took part in exercises with allies and partners.
  • The CAF has sent an air task force to three different countries: Romania (six times), Iceland, and Lithuania.

News

Royal Canadian Navy ships return from Operation REASSURANCE

Link to External site / November 1,  2022

Canada’s Air Task Force – Romania begins NATO Air Policing mission

Link to External site / August 4 ,2022

Two Royal Canadian Navy ships return from European NATO missions

Link to External site / July 15, 2022

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Kingston and Summerside depart for Operation REASSURANCE

Link to External site / June 26, 2022

Canadian Armed Forces Marks 5th Anniversary of Canada Leading NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group

Link to External site / June 19, 2022

Minister Anand Announces Further Military Aid for Ukraine

Link to External site / June 15, 2022

Defence Minister Anita Anand announces additional military aid for Ukraine

Link to External site / May 24, 2022

Canada sending additional $25M military aid to support Ukraine

Link to External site / February 28, 2022

Canada announces support to address the situation in Ukraine

Link to External site / February 22, 2022

Link to External site / January 18, 2021

Link to External site / May 1, 2020

Accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone helicopter

Link to External site / April 30, 2020

Defence Minister Sajjan attends NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting

Link to External site / June 29, 2019

Canadian Armed Forces Break Ground for New Headquarters Building in Latvia

Link to External site / June 19, 2019

Canada assumes command of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two

Link to External site / June 17, 2019

HMCS Ville de Québec completes deployment with Standing NATO Maritime Group Two; HMCS Toronto takes its place

Link to External site / January 21, 2019

Canada’s Air Task Force completes 2018 deployment with NATO enhanced Air Policing in Romania

Link to External site / January 3, 2019

 

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