Practice makes perfect: Enhancing the CAF’s ability to operate with other nations

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By: Ashley Black, Canadian Joint Operations Command Public Affairs

Deploying to a country with different culture, language and military skills than in Canada can seem like an overwhelming experience; however, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members are trained to adapt to new situations, climates and military capabilities.

The Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force is constantly training to work with other nations’ forces and in different environments. Most recently, the Land Task Force took part in Exercise SPRING STORM and Exercise PLATINUM EAGLE, both multinational exercises.

CAF members deployed to Estonia to participate in a sniper competition during Exercise SPRING STORM from May 9 to 24, 2017 with four other nations. They had the unique opportunity to conduct classic sniper operations and they proudly placed 2nd in the competition as an overall team.

For deployed CAF snipers, the opportunity highlighted the importance of practicing realistic situations with other nations. “You take for granted how you operate among Canadians, with tasks, planning, and co-ordination. You already know how Canadians operate.” said a CAF sniper who took part in the exercise. However, exercising with other nations allows for CAF members to learn and adapt to new procedures.

During Exercise PLATINUM EAGLE, which took place from April 24 to May 4, 2017, in Romania, the focus was on the coordination of service support requirements and infantry capabilities among NATO allies and partners.

Support personnel from different countries worked together to simulate a movement of soldiers, and gained a better understanding of their capabilities with other nations. Members of the CAF infantry company group conducted simulated attacks over diverse terrain, and trained with Canadian weapon systems that are used less frequently. They also participated in operational order exercises in which personnel worked with other nations to fulfill tactical orders.

“One of the challenges with these exercises was terminology,” said Corporal John Veal, an infantryman who took part in Exercise PLATINUM EAGLE. “Canadians for instance do not have squads, they have sections. And planning had to be done with what each nation had organically in terms of weapons and equipment which was not the same for all nations.” Though language barriers can be challenging during multinational exercises, they further highlight the need to exercise and train with allies.

“Exercise PLATINUM EAGLE provided a unique opportunity, not only for the infantry company group to conduct live fire training with our NATO allies and partners, but also for our support personnel to coordinate a complex international movement of soldiers and equipment by ground and air,” said Major Jesse Van Eijk, Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force Commander.

“These skills are critical to meeting the interoperability development aims of the Land Task Force.”

Readiness and interoperability are two values that the CAF holds dear. From helping fellow Canadians with disaster relief, to working with allies in international operations, CAF members train to face any challenges that may come their way.

Image gallery

  • A Canadian Armed Forces sniper aims at a target during Exercise SPRING STORM. (Photo: Estonian Defence Force)
  • Members of C Coy  3 PPCLI deployed on OP REASSURANCE fire the C6 machine gun at night during Ex PLATINUM EAGLE which took place in Babadag, Romania" (Photo: Cpl J.P.D. Laviolette)
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