Canada starts Operation Nanook 09, a military exercise to
confirm sovereignty over its arctic territory
"Operation NANOOK 09 is one of three major sovereignty
operations conducted every year by the Government of Canada in
Canada's North," a communiqué by the Canadian
National Defence said. "This operation will see the
Canadian Forces demonstrate a visible presence in the eastern
Arctic with sea, land and air forces operating in the Baffin
Island region. The operation will run from August 6 to 28, 2009,
and will include sovereignty patrolling, a military exercise,
and a whole-of-government exercise," it added.
our Government’s commitment to protecting and demonstrating
control over the air, land and sea within our jurisdiction," Canadian
Defense Minister Peter MacKay
Arctic has become one of Canada's top priorities since a new Northern
Strategy has been defined. It focuses on exercising
sovereignty, protecting Canada's environmental heritage, promoting
economic and social development, and improving and devolving
governance. Given the growing importance of the Arctic in strategic
terms, the Canadian Forces maintain a presence in the Arctic,
with their Joint Task Force North, the Canadian Forces Station
Alert, the 440 Transport Squadron, the Canadian Rangers, and
regular patrols and operations like Operation NANOOK.
This consists of "a joint operation that will be conducted
with the participation of personnel, ships and aircraft from
the Army, Navy and Air Force, working under the command of Joint
Task Force (North) (JTFN)," explained the communiqué. "As
one of six regional commands reporting to Canada Command in Ottawa,
of all routine and contingency operations in Canada's North.
JTFN is headquartered in Yellowknife, NT, and commanded by Brigadier-General
David Millar," it said.
To meet emerging challenges and potential threats, Canada has
progressively increased its presence and has strengthened the
capabilities of its forces
North. It is running a number of projects that
include the acquisition of "Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships;
the establishment of a docking and refuelling facility in Nanisivik;
the stand-up of an Arctic
Training Centre in Resolute Bay; and the expansion and modernization
of the Canadian Rangers Program,"
that began two days ago builds "on the
success achieved in other recent Eastern Arctic sovereignty
NANOOK 08 and 07, Operation
LANCASTER (1) in 2006, and Operation
HUDSON SENTINEL in 2005 (2)," National
Defence said. These Eastern Arctic sovereignty operations are completed
by the Operation
NUNAKPUT (3) annually conducted
by Canadian Forces in the Western Arctic, and by Operation
NUNALIVUT (4) in the High-Arctic. read
in extenso 'The
Canadian Forces in the North'
The joint operation is three-tiered. Firstly it focuses on
sovereignty patrolling with maritime surveillance patrols that
extend through the Hudson and Davis Straits, and aerial reconnaissance
missions conducted over much of Canada’s Arctic
territory and northern land and air approaches. The main objective
is "to ensure the monitoring of Canada’s territory
and aerial and maritime approaches, including in the Arctic,
in order to detect threats to safety and security,"
Secondly, the operation focuses on a military exercise involving
sea, land and air forces, the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport
Canada. It includes diving operations and an anti-submarine
warfare component for control at sea. On the ground, the
Arctic-survival-skilled Canadian Rangers will act as guides,
experts on the land, and
provide predator control. And thirdly, an integrated
whole of government exercise takes place in order to improve
inter-departmental coordination and to enable the departments
and agencies of multiple levels of government (municipal, territorial
federal) to work together.
To sum up, Canada wants to demonstrate it is fully capable
of controlling its northern territory that begins at the 60th
parallel and includes the entire Arctic Archipelago, which
far north as the Lincoln Sea in the east. “The presence
in our North of the Canadian Forces and other departments shows
our Government’s commitment to protecting and demonstrating
control over the air, land and sea within our jurisdiction,
and responding to emergencies in support of the territorial
government,” said the
Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister
for the Atlantic Gateway.
"Around fifteen other government department and agencies
would be participating in Operation NANOOK 09" a source
told ISRIA. "The
purpose is to develop and refine the inter-agency relationships
that underpin the whole-of-government approach to Arctic sovereignty.
This is a process that started in 2007 and that helped Canada
better coordinate its military and political means to confirm
arctic sovereignty" said the source. Canada enhanced its
capabilities in line with renewed commitment to maintaining
a presence in the region. Global warming combined with the
increasing demand for shorter trade routes, fossil fuels, and
minerals made the Arctic an interest of strategic significance,
not only for Canada but for all the countries in the area.
Eight nations have interests in the Arctic region (Canada,
Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian
Federation, Sweden, and the United States) and the competition
among them seems to heighten as much as the interest in the
search for new energy resources accelerates. Everything that
happens in the Arctic can potentially impact Canada's national
security since it represents 40 per cent of Canada’s
landmass and more than 19,000 islands in the Arctic Archipelago
with an estimated population of 108,000 inhabitants.
(1) Operation LANCASTER was conducted along the eastern and
northern coasts of Baffin Island in August 2006 and included
representation from several other government departments including
the Canadian Ice Service, RCMP, Parks Canada Agency, Fisheries
and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Coast Guard.
(2) Operation HUDSON SENTINEL was a joint sovereignty operation
involving the deployment of navy, army and air force personnel
place in Hudson Bay in August 2005.
(3) The NUNAKPUT operations are conducted in
the Western Arctic and are integrated JTFN operations that
place each summer in cooperation with the Canadian Coast
Guard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The aim of the
operation is to exercise sovereignty and practice interoperability,
focusing on the Beaufort Sea region including Herschel Island.
(4) The Operation NUNALIVUT series are enhanced
Ranger sovereignty patrols. The operation employs the unique
capabilities of the Canadian Rangers to support JTFN operations
in the extreme environment of the High Arctic, as Ranger
snowmobile patrols provide a presence and demonstrate a response
capability in the most remote areas of the North.
Photo credit: 14 Aug 2007, HMCS FREDERICTON, HMCS
CORNER BROOK appears out of the fog near Baffin Island during
OP Nanook 07. MCpl Blake Rodgers, Formation Imaging Services
Halifax, Nova Scotia
last updated on 8 August 2009
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