Our Navy Today - Volume 6 Issue 1

Volume 6 | Issue 1

Welcome to our updated Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) monthly newsletter! The name has changed to Our Navy Today, as the stories that you see here belong to all of us: our sailors, our employees, our RCN Team.

Together, we have achieved many milestones in 2022, and 2023 is already full of promise. This January edition offers you a sneak peek of what is on the books for our Navy in the year ahead. Subscribe to the monthly email.

Operations forecast

Later in the year

In May, HMCS Charlottetown will participate in Exercise Formidable Shield off of the coasts of Northern Norway and Northern Scotland to improve allied cooperation in air and missile defence. Participants in the multinational exercise will include France, Italy, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the summer, RCN ships will deploy to support NATO tasks, demonstrating Canada’s commitment to security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe, and will maintain a presence in the Indo-Pacific region engaging with local partners to reinforce collective defence.

In the fall, Canada’s St. Lawrence Seaway and surrounding communities will bustle during the RCN’s Great Lakes Deployment 2023. The deployment provides Canadians with a unique opportunity to tour our naval ships and to learn about life in the Canadian Navy from our sailors.

The RCN’s Fleet Diving Units also have their work cut out for them this year, starting with Op Open Spirit in the Baltic Sea, clearing mines and other explosives left over from the First and Second World Wars. They will also support the Australian Defence Force on Op Render Safe in the Solomon Islands by safely disposing of Second World War-era explosives near various island nations in the South Pacific.

Fair winds and following seas to all throughout 2023!

HMC Ships Moncton and Glace Bay start 2023 off with deployment to West Africa


Members of HMCS Winnipeg’s Air Detachment conduct hoist training and a foc’sle transfer while sailing the Pacific Ocean during Operation Projection in August, 2022.

The East Coast kicked off the New Year with a flurry of activity, as His Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Moncton and Glace Bay departed Halifax in early January for Operation Projection West Africa. While deployed, Moncton and Glace Bay will train with partner nations in the region to promote peace, security and stability.

Later in January, HMCS Fredericton will cross the Atlantic Ocean, headed for Op Reassurance, joining Standing NATO Maritime Group Two to contribute to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Europe.

In March, HMCS Montréal will be the first East Coast frigate to deploy under the new Indo-Pacific Strategy on Op Projection Indo-Pacific. The ship will also participate in Op Artemis, our maritime security and counter-terrorism operation in the Arabian Sea.

Across the RCN in 2023

RCN to celebrate Naval Reserve centennial

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Naval Reserve. Each of our 24 Naval Reserve Divisions, located in most major cities across Canada, will hold their own special events to mark the occasion. Twelve of these divisions will celebrate their own centennials with local celebrations.

National highlights include: the Toronto Garrison Ball on February 11, led by HMCS York; the Naval Association of Canada’s Battle of the Atlantic Dinner in Ottawa on May 3; the 11th RCN Academic Conference in Victoria on May 13-14; and the Canadian Tulip Festival, featuring a commemorative tulip for the centennial, in Ottawa starting May 13. Canadians across the country will be able to watch the biggest events take place on September 23, when 4,000 sailors will be on parade in 24 cities across the nation.

Re-commissioning ceremonies for all Naval Reserve Divisions and local Freedom of the City parades will be held throughout the year in the home cities of each unit. The National Naval Reserve Monument will be rededicated in Ottawa in October.

Defensive cyber operations in the information and cyber warfare era

In 2016 the Directorate of Naval Information Warfare (DNIW) was tasked with developing information warfare capabilities for next generation network centric warfare. The RCN Maritime Information Warfare Strategy is our contribution to a much larger Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Five Eyes and NATO effort to advance multi- and pan-domain warfighting abilities.

DNIW is delivering on three core competencies; Assured Command and Control, ensuring resilient, global Command and Control capabilities; Battlespace Awareness, ensuring intelligence and data fusion capabilities support situational awareness and decision making processes; and Integrated Fires, the integration of Information Related Capabilities and non-kinetic effectors.

A core function of Assured Command and Control is Defensive Cyber Operations. In 2023, there will be significant enhancements to the RCN’s defensive cyber capabilities as new force structures, doctrine and training will be delivered to support the Fleets. Teams will continue to grow by including Naval Reserve personnel and Joint CAF Cyber Force personnel. This growth coincides with the release of the RCN Fleet Cyber Team Concept of Operations, which clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of Fleet Cyber Teams aligned with CAF Cyber Forces and allied cyber interoperability objectives.

DNIW and Fleet Cyber Teams continue to sponsor and direct Naval Cyber Network virtual training sessions open to all RCN personnel. Training is modelled after legacy “Wednesday War” training serials and focusses on simulations in the cyber domain. Operators conduct active network monitoring, vulnerability detection, and cyber response actions. It has proven to generate strong cyber competencies, as demonstrated in 2021 when the RCN Fleet Cyber Team placed first in the US Department of Defense-sponsored cyber defence competition, Exercise Cyber Flag

The Fleet Cyber Team Cyber Awareness and Hygiene program will also launch this year, and includes tailored briefing materials and information on phishing campaigns, as well as table-top and simulated exercises to raise cyber awareness. Also being undertaken is a re-write of the Sea Training Guide Combat Readiness Requirement for Cyber in an effort to improve our ships’ overall readiness levels for defensive cyber operations objectives.

Managing our sailors now, building the RCN of tomorrow

To ensure that the Navy has what it needs – equipment, personnel and technology – in the years to come, planning and implementation has already begun.

The Director General Future Ship Capability team in Ottawa is focussed exactly on this mission. One clear priority for the team is managing crews and sailors on both coasts, especially in an era of personnel shortages. The team is preparing for a summit, tentatively scheduled for late this winter or early spring, that will discuss this very topic.

To support the RCN during this period of shortages, the team is building a list of prioritized naval positions that must be staffed. For sailors in the fleet, the end goal of this work will be to provide a better work-life balance by building a more sustainable sailing schedule and operational tempo.

The team is also building options for the future structure of the Navy. However, prior to this step, the team is first learning more about what the RCN will look like in five to 10 years and in 10 to 30 years, so they know what needs to change to support the future Navy.

New culture initiatives

HMCS Venture is the RCN’s centre of leadership excellence in 2023. Venture will instill healthy, respectful culture into all ranks, including the core concepts of the divisional system, which form the foundation of our culture. The basis of this approach will be the Leadership, Respect and Honour program, which uses active training and education to instill positive cultural change and increase our operational effectiveness. Concepts taught in the program, which has been in use since 2018, empower personnel in every part of the RCN to be better team players and to care for their peers and subordinates. The approach, which is continually evolving, will be included in all stages of career coursing immediately following basic training.

Professional development sessions with approved military sexual trauma survivor groups will be conducted for varying levels of leadership. The goal is to listen and learn from people with lived experiences.

A wide-ranging, comprehensive list of inclusive naval terminology has already been developed through extensive consultation with several organizations and advisory groups. While many of the terms are already in common use throughout the RCN, it is understood that updating the list will be a continuous process.

The RCN is currently conducting Gender Based Analysis (GBA) (Plus) reviews on its new classes of ships to identify ways to make these workspaces – our homes away from home – more inclusive for our sailors. GBA(Plus) involves taking a gender and diversity-sensitive approach to our work.  

The “plus” in GBA(Plus) acknowledges that it is not just about differences between the biological (sexes) and the socio-cultural (genders). We all have multiple characteristics that contribute to who we are. GBA(Plus) considers many other identity factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability, and how the interaction between these factors influences the way we might experience government policies and initiatives.


RCN Historical Conference: academic papers welcome

The 11th RCN Historical Conference will be held May 12 to 14, at HMCS Venture, in Esquimalt and includes a call for academic papers.

The conference theme will be the Centennial of the Royal Canadian Naval Reserves. The conference is expected to be the only academic gathering in Canada to examine the innumerable contributions of the Naval Reserve to the Navy and Canada, from the Provincial Marine to today.

Papers on any aspect of the Naval Reserve are welcome.



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