DT News: Operation NANOOK-NUNAKPUT and the Contested Urban Environment experiment in New York City

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(P) Operation NANOOK-NUNAKPUT is currently underway in Canada’s North. Conducted annually by the Canadian Armed Forces along with regional Northern partners, the operation is aimed at fostering greater collaboration, while improving our knowledge of the northern operating environment.

We’re joined by a CAF member deployed on the operation to learn more.

Welcome. To start, can you explain the purpose of Operation NANOOK?

(Maj) The primary goal of Operation NANOOK-NUNAKPUT is to conduct surveillance operations along the Northwest Passage. At this time of the year, there’s not much ice left. In fact, nowadays, there’s nothing like the amount there used to be. There’s no more ice in the passage, which leaves the passage open for marine traffic. There are a lot of economic interests and climate issues in the Arctic. The Canadian government is interested in finding out more about what’s happening in the region, so the Canadian Armed Forces have a role to play in all that. That’s why we conduct the surveillance operations. A joint operation with the Army and the Air Force, and also in collaboration with some federal departments.

(P) And how does participating in this operation benefit the Canadian Armed Forces?

(Maj) The guys will really benefit by learning from the Rangers’ experience. We’re not accustomed to operating in the Arctic. So operating here, in cooperation with the Rangers from 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, will really give the guys intensive experience of Arctic survival, how to get around on quads and on foot, how to use Arctic equipment in summer conditions at Cambridge Bay and along the Northwest Passage.

(R) Defence Research and Development Canada recently participated in this year’s iteration of the Contested Urban Environment experiment, or CUE.

Taking place from July 8th to 26th in New York City, CUE 19 focused on investigating new and emerging technologies that could improve the effectiveness of military personnel operating in complex cities, while reducing risk to both military forces and civilians.

(PM) The very first event took place in Adelaide, in Australia, in November 2017. Canada hosted the second one last year in Montreal, in September 2018. And this year, we are holding the event, the experimentation, in New York.

It’s a little bit different. In Montreal, we were using very large areas of the downtown area, about 12 square kilometres, where we had about a hundred troops deployed inside the city and testing the technologies at different sites, but continuously across that large area. In New York, we are using three very precise sites one after the other. So three days for each site.

The first site is what we call a subsurface infrastructure. The second site is called a super surface infrastructure. It’s a rooftop. Basically, it’s a rooftop on a very large building in a very dense area of Manhattan. And the third site is what we call the surface site.

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