Canada to participate in largest NATO exercise in decades
Courtesy of the Canadian Armed Forces
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are set to participate in the largest NATO exercise in decades, aiming to rehearse NATO’s Deterrence and Defence plans against threats to the Euro-Atlantic area.
Members of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command conduct pre-mission training for Exercise Steadfast Defender 24 in Petawawa, Ontario, on January 16, 2024
Approximately 1,000 CAF sailors, soldiers, aviators, and special forces members will demonstrate NATO's capacity for conducting sustained, multi-domain defensive operations over several months, simulating an Article 5 attack by an adversary with comparable capabilities.
The exercise, scheduled from the end of January to the end of May 2024, is divided into two main parts. The first part, primarily maritime-based, will focus on defending the North Atlantic and Arctic waters. The second part will test NATO's ability to rapidly deploy reinforcements across all domains in defence of Central and Eastern Europe. Participating CAF assets include the Canadian patrol frigate HMCS Charlottetown with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, and the Canadian-led Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia, featuring, for the first time, a Canadian Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank squadron.
This exercise will also mark an important milestone for the Canadian Army’s future Forward Land Forces Multinational Brigade Latvia. The second part of the exercise will see the future command team integrating with their higher NATO command in planning and executing defensive combat operations.
NATO is a cornerstone of Canada's Defence Policy. Since the invasion of Crimea in 2014, Canada has contributed to NATO’s enhanced defence and deterrence measures in Europe. This exercise will provide a valuable opportunity to strengthen the CAF's ability to project, integrate, and sustain operations within the NATO command and control structure.