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CanadianAlly is an electronic newsletter maintained by the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, designed specifically for an American audience. It presents a comprehensive look at defence and security issues from a variety of key sources. The intent is to give American citizens a better sense of the scope of Canada’s role in North American and Global Security and the War on Terror.

OTTAWA (April 16, 2014) - The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Tom Lawson, hosted his United States counterpart, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for high-level discussions this week on a range of topics, including readiness, maintaining interoperability and bilateral military cooperation.

The United States is Canada’s most important ally and defence partner. Our unique cooperative relationship is unmatched and provides both countries with greater security than could be achieved individually.Read the full story

OTTAWA (April 12, 2014) - Canada’s active commitment to our security and sovereignty in the North was demonstrated with a coordinated two-week operation conducted by the Royal Canadian Air Force in partnership with NAV CANADA, the Canadian Air Defence Sector of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the Alaskan NORAD Region.

This operation was carried out to ensure NORAD and its geographical component, the Canadian NORAD Region (CANR) maintains optimal readiness levels at Forward Operating Locations across the North.Read the full story

HMCS Kingston and Glace Bay docked at Port Canaveral, Florida, for a short port visit before heading back home in Halifax.

OTTAWA (April 10, 2014) - Her Majesty’s Canadian (HMC) Ships Kingston and Glace Bay recently completed a successful six-week deployment on Operation CARIBBE. The Kingston-class vessels will return home after a short port visit at Port Canaveral, Florida.

Over the last six weeks, the Royal Canadian Navy had four Kingston-class vessels deployed on Operation CARIBBE at the same time - two in the Caribbean Basin and two in the Eastern Pacific Ocean - marking Canada’s single largest naval contribution to this operation.

Sailing from the Pacific Fleet, HMC Ships Nanaimo and Whitehorse patrolled the Eastern Pacific Ocean from February 19 to March 28, 2014. From the Atlantic Fleet, HMCS Kingston and Glace Bay participated to the operation from March 10 to April 8, 2014.

Operation CARIBBE consists of locating and tracking suspicious vessels, and assisting embarked U.S. Law Enforcement Detachment teams in conducting boarding operations when deemed necessary.Read the full story

OTTAWA (April 7, 2014) - Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Nanaimo and Whitehorse returned today from a 5-week successful deployment on Operation CARIBBE. They were part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) participation in the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Caribbean basin and the eastern Pacific Ocean.Read the full story

OTTAWA (April 7, 2014) - Space is a part of the global commons, an area like international waters that is beyond national boundaries. Cooperation with national and international partners is necessary to track space activity and protect the shared space environment.

A recent agreement was signed between Canada and the United States to formalize a partnership to share data on orbiting space debris – the Space Situational Awareness Services and Information Memorandum of Understanding. It enhances cooperation between the Canadian Joint Operations Command Space Operations Cell and the Joint Space Operations Center in the United States.

The agreement streamlines the sharing of “space situational awareness” data between Canada and the United States. This data provides an understanding of how satellites or operations can adversely be affected in space. The agreement allows both nations to mutually contribute resources to track space activity to avoid potential collision between satellites or with orbiting debris.Read the full story

Two CC-130 Hercules aircraft refuel in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, on April 9, 2013 during Operation Nunalivit. PHOTO: Corporal Pierre Letourneau

DND (April 3, 2014) - The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Canadian NORAD Region (CANR), will conduct Operation Spring Forward, a major training operation, at various locations in Canada’s North during the first two weeks of April.

The operation will see the deployment of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) personnel as well as CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft, CC-130T Hercules, CC-150T Polaris air-to-air refueling aircraft and other support aircraft to Inuvik and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Iqaluit, Nunavut, and Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

This operation is the culmination of a nearly six-month planning effort and is designed to exercise CANR’s ability to operate at forward operating locations across the North. The operation will consist of a series of training flights held in coordination with Nav Canada, the Canadian Air Defence Sector and the Alaskan NORAD Region.Read the full story

The naval boarding party of HMCS Regina prepares to board a dhow during routine Operation Artemis maritime security and counter-terrorism operations off the coast of Africa on March 31. (Image has been digitally altered due to operational security)

HALIFAX (April 3, 2014) - Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Regina successfully disrupted a narcotics shipment during a patrol in her designated area of operations in the Indian Ocean on March 31, as part of Operation Artemis. This marked the first drug seizure for Regina as part of her maritime security and counter-terrorism operations.

Regina intercepted and boarded a dhow off the east coast of Africa and discovered 132 packages of heroin weighing 132 kilograms in total. The illicit narcotics were subsequently seized, documented and later destroyed at sea, thereby ensuring that they would not reach their intended recipients.Read the full story

Canadian Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operator working through his 'Render Safe' Procedure (RSP) during Ex Ardent Defender 13.

Halifax (April 2, 2014) - Skilled members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) detect, disable and exploit explosives devices on international deployments and, if called upon by civilian authorities, at home, which keeps their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, as well as nearby civilians, safe.

This expertise was essential during deployment in Afghanistan and skilled specialists will be in demand for future conflicts as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) become more prevalent.

On a yearly basis, Exercise Ardent Defender trains CAF operators to be prepared for the emerging threats seen abroad and in our own country.

This year, Exercise Ardent Defender 2014 (Ex AD 14), now underway, is training Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operators in Halifax. The Royal Canadian Navy will host the joint exercise with participants from the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force and members of Canadian Law Enforcement and representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden.Read the full story

OTTAWA (April 2, 2014) - Operation NUNALIVUT 2014, one of Joint Task Force (North)’s premier High Arctic operations begins today in the area of Resolute Bay, Nunavut.

Joint Task Force (North) is conducting Operation NUNALIVUT 2014 from April 2 until May 3, with the majority of personnel deploying from April 16 to 24. This operation includes both combined and joint operations exercising interoperability and Arctic skill-sets.

Operation NUNALIVUT will be conducted in three distinct locations:

- The Task Force Headquarters will operate out of Resolute Bay, NU.

- A Company (minus) from 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, based at CFB Valcartier, will be conducting a patrol around Bathurst Island, approximately 500 km northwest of Resolute Bay; and

- A Combined Dive Team, consisting of divers from the Royal Canadian Navy and U.S. Navy, will conduct operations near Gascoyne Inlet, approximately 100 km east of Resolute Bay.

440 (Transport) Squadron, based in Yellowknife, and 109th Airlift Wing, from the New York State Air National Guard, will provide tactical airlift, resupply, surveillance, reconnaissance and mission support.Read the full story

OTTAWA (March 24, 2014) - Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Glace Bay recovered 97 bales of cocaine during a patrol in the Caribbean Basin, as part of Operation CARIBBE, on March 15, 2014.Read the full story

OTTAWA (March 18, 2014) - The final contingent of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) troops who were deployed to Afghanistan have returned to Canada today, after the end of major military operations for Canada in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was Canada’s largest military deployment since the Second World War, as well as its longest deployment ever. Since Canada’s first involvement in Afghanistan in 2001 more than 40,000 Canadian soldiers, sailors, airmen, and airwomen have deployed to the country, with approximately 25 per cent of them having served more than one tour.

Since the end of combat operations in Afghanistan in 2011, Canada has contributed to the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A). Alongside its NATO allies, Canada assisted in the training, mentoring and development of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), thereby increasing and sustaining the capacity of the ANSF to provide safety and security for their country.Read the full story

Corporal Jonathan Michel, 3R22eR, A Company, maintains a security perimeter with the C16 Automatic Grenade Launcher during Exercise COLD RESPONSE near Sjøvegan, Norway on March 13, 2014. Photo by: MCpl Dan Pop

OTTAWA (March 17, 2014) - Approximately 350 Canadian soldiers are in Norway as part of a massive NATO cold-weather combat exercise. Organized and led by the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, the exercise involves some 16,000 personnel on land, at sea and in the air from 16 countries.

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[...] The Norwegians themselves have committed their entire Brigade North – about 4,000 troops – plus a Home Guard battalion. Off the northern coast they have six fighting ships and a unit of coastal commandoes; in the air, fighters, transport, surveillance, and assorted helicopters. Their naval assets are augmented by frigates from France and Poland as well as substantial amphibious forces from the Netherlands and the US Marines. In the air, further surveillance, tactical, and transport assets have come from Germany, Sweden, and the United States. Land forces include a French battle group, Swedish light and mechanized infantry, a small Ranger battalion from Germany, and even Reserve troops from Denmark. Elements of Special Forces are also involved from nine different nations.Read the full story

Several Canadians received the United States Bronze Star medal and one received the Army Commendation Medal in Afghanistan last month (from left to right): Colonel Stéphane Boucher, Colonel Peter Scott, Colonel Bryan Gagne, Major-General Kevin R. Wendel of the United States Army, Colonel Ivars Miezitis, Colonel Ian Lightbody, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Paone (Army Commendation Medal) and Major-General James Hockenhull of the United Kingdom.

OTTAWA (March 12, 2014) - A member of the Royal Canadian Air Force was recently awarded the United States Bronze Star Medal while working with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Colonel Ian Lightbody was one of five members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) awarded the medal on January 18, 2014. The recipients were recognized for their work with the Afghan Ministry of Defence – Ministerial Advisory Group. The Bronze Star Medal is the fourth highest medal in the U.S. Army.

Colonel Lightbody is currently deployed with the Canadian Contribution Training Mission – Afghanistan (CCTM-A), where he is an advisor to an Afghan general responsible for long-range planning.Read the full story

OTTAWA (March 11, 2014) - A flag lowering ceremony marking the end of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan was held earlier today at ISAF headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. After more than 12 years, the largest deployment of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel since the Second World War has drawn to a close.Read the full story

OTTAWA (March 11, 2014) - Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMC Ships) Kingston and Glace Bay have joined HMC Ships Nanaimo and Whitehorse and a CP-140 Aurora aircraft detachment on Operation CARIBBE, Canada’s contribution to the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking in the Americas and Caribbean.

The concurrent deployment of four ships and an aircraft detachment marks a first in Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) history in support to Operation CARIBBE, Canada’s support to Operation MARTILLO – the multinational, joint, combined, and interagency effort among Western Hemisphere and European nations.

Operation CARIBBE demonstrates Canada’s commitment to address security challenges in the region by denying transnational criminal organizations air and maritime access to the coastal regions of Central America.Read the full story

OTTAWA (March 7, 2014) - During the Cold War, North America relied on radar networks to provide an early warning of airborne attacks inbound over the North Pole. From the early 1950s, a series of isolated radar stations were constructed in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland to identify unfriendly aircraft and direct fighter planes to intercept them.

The most northerly of the networks, the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line of radar sites, was established in the late 1950s and extended along the Arctic coastline (roughly along the 69th parallel) from northwestern Alaska to Iceland. The DEW Line was planned, built and largely funded by the United States according to an international agreement. Out of the 63 sites that comprised the DEW Line, 42 were located within Canadian territory.

In the early 1960s, 21 of these sites were decommissioned and became the responsibility of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The remaining 21 sites were operated by the Department of National Defence (DND) until they were replaced by the North Warning System in 1993.Read the full story

OTTAWA (March 5, 2014) - United States Ship (USS) Michael Murphy arrived alongside Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on March 4th, 2014 carrying family members and civilian contractors who were on board Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Protecteur when a fire broke out in Protecteur’s engine room.

The guests were transferred to USS Michael Murphy for their own comfort after the fire, and were taken back to Pearl Harbor ahead of Protecteur and its crew.Read the full story

OTTAWA (February 27, 2014) - The RCAF is pleased to release the 2014 event schedules for both of its air demonstration teams: the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the CF-18 National Demonstration Team.

Both teams will thrill audiences all over Canada and in the United States this summer. Internationally, the Snowbirds will wow crowds at four air shows in the U.S. Meanwhile, the CF-18 Demo Team will make five international appearances, two in California -- one at the start of the season and one at the end -- plus two in Switzerland and one in Belgium.

“The RCAF is committed to collaborating and cooperating with our international allies and partners,” says Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, Commander of the RCAF. Read the full story

OTTAWA (February 27, 2014) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of National Defence, participated in a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, which took place on February 26-27, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Read the full story

HALIFAX (February 27, 2014) - The crew of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Toronto arrived home in Halifax on Thursday, February 27, reuniting with family and friends after more than seven months deployed in the Arabian Sea. Read the full story

HALIFAX (February 26, 2014) - Approximately 900 personnel from the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force are participating in a major fleet exercise this week until March 14, 2014, off the Eastern seaboard. This exercise will also see the contribution of United States Coast Guard vessel, USCG Campbell, and the Federal German Ship (FGS) Bonn, a Berlin-class replenishment ship. Read the full story

OTTAWA (February 25, 2014) - Canadian Armed Forces personnel completed a computer-assisted exercise in Petawawa today which will help prepare them for potential future missions in the event of an order from the Government of Canada.

Exercise UNIFIED RESOLVE (UR 14) began on February 11th included members from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) as well as members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Ex UR 14’s objective was to test the overall planning, command and control capabilities of two task forces in anticipation of the largest Canadian Army readiness exercise of the year, Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 2014, which is scheduled for later this spring in Wainwright, Alberta.

During the two-week exercise, participants reacted to computer-generated scenarios which simulated an army brigade response to a realistic and complex situation. It allowed soldiers to practise full spectrum operations, including deliberate attacks, mobile defence and assistance to non-governmental organizations. Read the full story

HMCS Glace Bay transits south from Halifax to participate in Op CARIBBE.

(February 20, 2014) - Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and Glace Bay departed Halifax earlier this week for the Caribbean Sea to support Operation CARIBBE, Canada’s contribution to the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational criminal organizations in the Americas and Caribbean.

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For the RCN, this is the second deployment of Kingston-class vessels on Operation CARIBBE this year. HMCS Nanaimo and Whitehorse, from the Pacific Fleet, departed for the Eastern Pacific Ocean on February 10th, 2014. Read the full story

OTTAWA (February 19, 2014) - Approximately 2 350 Canadian soldiers from across the country are taking part in several Arctic training exercises over the next two months. These exercises aim to maintain and refine both the Canadian Army’s operational capabilities and soldiers’ ability to operate in the Arctic’s austere conditions.

During these exercises, soldiers will have the opportunity to refine skills that enable them to operate in some of the most isolated and challenging areas of Canada. They will execute a wide range of tactics, techniques and procedures including: Arctic survival; search and rescue; live fire; Arctic patrols; and quick response to a simulated threat or hazard in Canada’s North.

The training is focused on the integrating Canadian Army soldiers (Regular and Reserve Force) with the Canadian Rangers, who are the eyes and ears of the military in sparsely settled and isolated northern regions. The Canadian Army has also invited soldiers from the United States Army National Guard and the Polish Armed Forces to take part in the training, strengthening interoperability between Canada and these nations.Read the full story

HALIFAX (February 18, 2014) - The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the United State Navy (USN) recently completed a collaborative exercise where each nation’s sailors and air force personnel honed their anti-submarine warfare skills during Exercise Atlantic Shield off the eastern seaboard.

Held from January 26 to 29, 2014, Atlantic Shield was a complex exercise that brought together headquarters’ staff, submarines, warships and aircraft from both the RCN and US Fleet Forces to search for and track an unidentified submarine threat.

By working together, sharing information and combining their strengths, the participating units were able to successfully find and identify the highly capable USS Dallas playing the part of an unknown fast attack submarine in continental waters.Read the full story

HMCS NANAIMO, a Kingston-class coastal defence vessel. Photo: Sgt Norm McLean, Canadian Forces Combat Camera.

OTTAWA (February 9, 2014) - Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMC Ships) Nanaimo and Whitehorse, will depart Esquimalt, B.C., tomorrow for the Eastern Pacific Ocean to support Operation CARIBBE, Canada’s contribution to the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational criminal organizations in the Americas and Caribbean.

Nanaimo and Whitehorse are Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs), designed for surveillance and patrolling. Their departure marks the beginning of several naval deployments scheduled for 2014 in support of Canada’s commitment to Operation MARTILLO – a multinational, joint, combined, and interagency effort among Western Hemisphere and European nations. The operation is designed to deny transnational criminal organizations air and maritime access to the coastal regions of Central America.

Operation CARIBBE continues to help strengthen international partnerships and also demonstrates Canada’s commitment to support efforts to address security challenges in the region, including illicit trafficking. Read the full story

OTTAWA (February 6, 2014) - Command of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) officially changed hands at a ceremony held today in Ottawa. The new Commander of CANSOFCOM, Brigadier-General Michael Rouleau, assumed command from Major-General Denis Thompson at a ceremony presided over by General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS). Read the full story

OTTAWA (February 3, 2014) - The past year, the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Toronto has successfully completed her deployment on Operation ARTEMIS, and she will soon depart the waters of the Arabian Sea to begin her return voyage home. HMCS Regina is en route to the region to relieve HMCS Toronto and resume the Canadian duties on Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) in mid-February.

Operation ARTEMIS is Canada’s participation in CTF-150, the multinational task force operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) that promotes maritime security aimed at countering terrorism and related activities in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The continued presence of military assets in the Arabian Sea region also gives Canada and the 29 other contributing nations the flexibility and capability to respond quickly to emerging crises in the region. Read the full story

OTTAWA (January 30, 2014) - The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) space situational awareness satellite Sapphire has completed its operational testing and has been officially declared a contributing sensor to the U.S. Space Surveillance Network.

Data from this satellite will be incorporated into an international catalogue that is used to help prevent collisions in space. Sapphire will help safeguard over a trillion dollars of critical space assets such as telecommunications, weather, search and rescue, and earth observation satellites, as well as the Global Positioning System.

With the declaration of full operational capability, Sapphire will enter its five-year operational phase. Notably, the program has delivered all required capabilities for approximately $10.1 million less than its original budget of $96.4 million. Read the full story

OTTAWA (January 20, 2014) - This week, 143 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel will return to their home bases in Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta after the latest deployment to Afghanistan. These soldiers are some of the last Canadians to serve in Operation ATTENTION.

Since the end of combat operations in Afghanistan three years ago, Canada has been assisting in the development of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). As a contribution to the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A), Canada is helping to generate and sustain the ANSF to enable Afghan-led security.

By the end of January, approximately 100 CAF personnel will continue to support Operation ATTENTION. All personnel will return home by the end of March 2014, marking the official end of Canada’s military operations in Afghanistan. Read the full story

Members of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship TORONTO's naval boarding party board a suspected drug smuggling vessel while a CH-124 Sea King helicopter provides additional security in the Arabian Sea region on January 17, 2014 during Operation ARTEMIS.

(January 20, 2014) - Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto successfully disrupted another narcotics shipment during a patrol in the Indian Ocean as part of Operation Artemis on January 17, 2014.

HMCS Toronto intercepted and boarded a vessel within 40 nautical miles of the coast of Tanzania and discovered 265 bags of heroin weighing more than 280 kilograms. The illicit narcotics were documented and later disposed of, ensuring they would not reach their intended recipients.

“I commend the crew of HMCS Toronto, whose tireless work with our allies in the Combined Maritime Forces is intercepting illegal narcotics shipments that would otherwise fund terrorist organizations,” said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. This drug seizure marks HMCS Toronto’s ninth narcotics shipment disruption as part of ongoing counter-terrorism operations in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. To date Toronto has recovered approximately 8.5 metric tonnes of narcotics. Read the full story

OTTAWA (January 14, 2014) - The Department of National Defence announced today the signing of a long-term partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense for the continued sharing of space-related services and information. This arrangement will help maintain a safer operating environment for satellites, by sharing information on natural (space weather) and man-made hazards (orbital debris, de-orbiting satellites or spacecraft collisions) in orbit.

The Canadian Armed Forces rely on space for a wide-range of functions such as command and control, weather information, navigation, communications, mapping, and search and rescue. Space Situational Awareness provides the knowledge to ensure the availability of space-enabled capabilities that have become essential to the conduct of CAF operations.

The sharing of information between like-minded nations, such as Canada and the U.S., has been a key enabler to increasing our understanding of, and access to, advanced orbital information. National Defence has used this relationship to provide support to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Space Agency, and Canadian commercial satellite owner/operators. Read the full story

General Charles Jacoby Jr., commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, speaks to airmen and airwomen during a town hall meeting at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario, in December 2013. Photo: Cpl Joseph Morin

(January 8, 2014) - 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base North Bay was recognized for its unique place in the Royal Canadian Air Force when United States Army General Charles Jacoby Jr., who is the commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, visited the northern Ontario base last month.

“What makes 22 Wing unique is its power in having both the training and operation squadrons co-located,” General Jacoby told to the air defence community on December 9, 2013.

22 Wing, also known as the Canadian Air Defence Sector (CADS), is home to 21 Aerospace Control & Warning Squadron, which is responsible for the surveillance, identification, warning and control of Canadian aerospace, and 51 Aerospace Control and Warning (Operational Training) Squadron, which provides training to military and civilian personnel in support of 22 Wing's mission to defend Canadians and protect national sovereignty.

During the town hall meeting, which was held at the Sergeant David L. Pitcher Building, home of the Canadian Air Defence Sector, General Jacoby expressed his pride in being a part of NORAD, a bi-national command.

“We share more than a border; we share sovereign interests,” he said. “Canada and United States are the only two countries in the world that do that.” Read the full story

OTTAWA (January 7, 2014) - Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Regina left Esquimalt today to join Operation ARTEMIS, Canada's contribution to the multinational effort in support of maritime security and counter-terrorism operations in the Arabian Sea region.

HMCS Regina will replace HMCS Toronto, which had been in the region from February to December 2013. During her deployment, HMCS Toronto intercepted and destroyed seven narcotics shipments totalling approximately 7.8 metric tonnes. Read the full story

OTTAWA (December 22, 2013) - Today marks the beginning of the last 100 days of the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan. After more than 12 years, the largest deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel since the Second World War will draw to a close on March 31, 2014.

“Canadians should be proud of their tremendous contributions in Afghanistan,” said the Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. “In support of the Afghan government, our whole-of-government partners, and our international allies, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are making a difference in the lives of the Afghan people while contributing to international peace and security.”

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Canada has proudly played a part in the international effort to build a more secure, stable, well-governed and prosperous Afghanistan. Building on and reinforcing the gains made over the past 12 years, Canada will continue to play an important role in supporting efforts toward a better future for all Afghans. To this end, Canada has committed $330 million to help sustain the Afghan National Security Forces and $227 million in development assistance between 2015 and 2017. Read the full story

OTTAWA (December 20, 2013) - Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto successfully disrupted a narcotics shipment during a patrol in the Arabian Sea region, as part of Operation ARTEMIS, on December 18.

During a recent boarding off the east coast of Africa, HMCS Toronto discovered 506 bags of heroin weighing more than 538 kilograms. The illicit narcotics were then catalogued and later disposed of, thus ensuring they would not reach their intended recipients.

This seizure marks the largest heroin seizure in the history of Combined Maritime Forces operations.

“For the second time since departing on their current operation, HMCS Toronto has made CMF history with this latest narcotics disruption,” said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. “Solidarity with our coalition partners to promote security, stability and prosperity, in this area, remains at the forefront of our priorities, as the recent monumental accomplishment made by HMCS Toronto can attest.” Read the full story

OTTAWA (December 17, 2013) - Her Majesty's Canadian (HMC) Ships Edmonton and Yellowknife, along with HMC Submarine Victoria, recently completed deployments in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, marking the end of a very successful year for Operation CARIBBE 2013.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) had tremendous operational success this year combating transnational organized crime off the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Central America, directly contributing to the seizure of 5 080 kilograms of cocaine and disruption of international drug trafficking over 11 months.

“This year’s success on Operation CARIBBE is a testament to Canada’s ability to work with our international partners and contribute to the safety and security of the citizens of this continent,” said the Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. Read the full story

OTTAWA (December 3, 2013) - Ceremonies were held today near Honiara, Solomon Islands to mark the successful completion of this year’s Operation RENDER SAFE, the biannual Australian-led operation to reduce the threat of unexploded Second World War ordnance in the South Pacific.

Ten members of the Canadian Armed Forces participated in Operation RENDER SAFE 2013 in the Solomon Islands alongside more than 200 personnel from the Australian Defence Force, New Zealand Defence Force, the US Navy and the Solomon Island Constabulary. Canadian participation included four clearance divers from the Royal Canadian Navy, two Combat Engineers from the Canadian Army, two specialists from the Royal Canadian Air Force along with a Liaison Officer and a Staff Officer who served as the Task Force Commander. Read the full story

KINGSTON, Ont. (December 3, 2013) - Veterans of the famous Devil’s Brigade, serving and retired members of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM), all gathered this evening at Canadian Forces Base Kingston for a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte (Mount) La Difensa.

The Devil's Brigade, also known as the First Special Service Force (FSSF), was a joint US/Canadian force formed during the Second World War in response to the need for a specially-trained unit capable of unique or “special” operations. Upon arrival in the Mediterranean Theatre, the FSSF was given the extremely difficult mission of taking the German-held, 963-metre mountain protecting the approaches to Rome, Italy. Read the full story

(December 3, 2013) - The Canadian NORAD Region (CANR) will participate in Exercise Amalgam Dart, December 3 to 5, 2013, off the Canadian Atlantic coast, to practice intercept and identification procedures, as well as air-to-air refueling, as part of routine training.

“The Royal Canadian Air Force is proud to stand on guard for all Canadians as a partner in NORAD,” said Major-General Pierre St-Amand, the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region, which is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“Through carefully-planned and closely-controlled training, the Royal Canadian Air Force ensures our commitment to NORAD rapid response capabilities in the event of a domestic air threat.”

Royal Canadian Air Force participation in Amalgam Dart will include the following air assets:

* CF-18 Hornets from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec

* A CP-140 Aurora from 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia

* A CC-130T Hercules from 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba

Read the full story

(December 2, 2013) - The Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region is set to track and escort Santa Claus during his annual visit to Canada and has selected four CF-18 fighter pilots for the high profile job.

Lieutenant-Colonel Darcy Molstad and Captain Sébastien Gorelov of 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, will conduct the first escort duties to welcome Santa into Canada when they join him off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Special NORAD SantaCams, positioned around the world, will take photos and video of Santa and his sleigh as he journeys around the world. The SantaCams instantly download the photo and video imagery so that it may be viewed by children around the world on the NORAD Tracks Santa website at: www.noradsanta.org on December 24.

Information will be available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Mandarin. Read the full story

HMCS Windsor, with HMCS Kingston in the background, will participate in the Task Group Exercise from November 25 to December 6, along with other RCN and RCAF assets.

(December 2, 2013) - Six Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) warships sailed from Halifax earlier this week to participate in a Task Group Exercise (TGEX) off the Canadian Atlantic coast from November 25 to December 6.

"This Task Group exercise will have the added value of being a part of NORAD Exercise Amalgam Dart, proving interoperability between the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the U.S. Air Force," said Rear-Admiral John Newton, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic. "Such training strengthens ties and understanding amongst allies, improving our ability to successfully work together on operations." Read the full story

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