Operation IMPACT completed the relief in place (RIP) of rotation (ROTO) 4 to ROTO 5 personnel this past June.
ROTO 5 personnel who deployed will be away from three to twelve months in different regions of the Op IMPACT Joint Operations Area in the Middle East; including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait.
Most of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel currently deployed on Operation IMPACT, including NATO Mission Iraq, are from 2nd Canadian Division, principally based out of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Valcartier.
According to Captain Gregory Cutten, Public Affairs Officer (Expeditionary Operations), Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC), the remainder of CAF members deployed on these missions, from both the Regular and Reserve Forces, are from different units and military bases across Canada.
“The currently deployed personnel took over from 4th Canadian Division, based out of Ontario. The rotation of troops began with the bulk of members transferring in on May 27 and the remainder on July 10, and July 17,” he added.
Operation IMPACT is part of Canada’s whole-of-government approach to the Middle East. The CAF mission complements the work of other Canadian government departments and agencies, such as Global Affairs Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, by building the capacity of security forces in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, and setting the conditions for long-term stability.
On March 30, 2021, the Government of Canada announced the extension of Operation IMPACT until March 31, 2022. Under the renewal, the CAF is maintaining its presence in the Middle East to continue enhancing security and stability in the region.
During Roto 4 Brigadier-General (BGen) Timothy Arsenault assumed command of Joint Task Force IMPACT and Task Force Central (JTF-I/TF-C) in Camp Canada, Kuwait. BGen Arsenault took over from BGen Michael Wright, who commanded JTF-I/TF-C since May 2020.
The JTF-I/TF-C Headquarters, located at Camp Canada, Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait, supports troops deployed to units throughout the Joint Operations Area. The Operational Support Hub – Southwest Asia, co-located at Camp Canada, provides logistic, signals, engineering, contracting, financial, and medical support.
In terms of medical support, the Operation IMPACT ROTO 3 and ROTO 4 Health Services personnel developed COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine and vaccination (under Operation VECTOR, the CAF’s effort to vaccinate personnel) processes to maintain the task force’s ability to conduct operations.
The Air Task Force – IMPACT
The Air Task Force – IMPACT is responsible for movement within the joint operations area and has transported over 4600 people and 2.6 million pounds of cargo since April 2020.
The CAF Training Assistance Teams (CTATs) in Jordan (or CTAT-J) and Lebanon (or CTAT-L) continue to work with host nation security forces to build their capacity and strengthen their borders through several initiatives in partnership with other Government of Canada agencies.
Canadian Training Assistance Team – Lebanon (CTAT-L)
Under the Canadian Training Assistance Team – Lebanon (CTAT-L), the Technical School Training Development team works with the LAF’s Logistics Brigade near Beirut on skills such as curriculum development, workshop safety and effectiveness, and materiel management.
The Technical School Training Development team introduces modern tactics, techniques, and procedures to the Lebanese Logistics Technical School. This improves the individual and collective performance during missions and the LAF’s ability to defend Lebanon from nearby hostile actors, contributing to security in the region.
CTAT-L Winter Mountain Training Team (WMTT)
The CTAT-L Winter Mobile Training Team (WMTT) conducts Basic Mountain Operations and Land Border Regiment training with the LAF in the country’s mountainous region of Bcharre.
The WMTT also works at the LAF’s Mountain Warfare Ski School in Bcharre, Lebanon. Though the LAF has a ski school for one of its units, most of its soldiers have never trained in the snow. The WMTT trains and mentors LAF soldiers in winter skills because some of their regiments are located in areas with alpine conditions along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
In 2020, the WMTT taught and mentored 651 Lebanese instructors and candidate’s skills in snowshoeing, navigation, how to dress for winter operations, how to treat cold-weather injuries, rappelling, snowmobile operation, and avalanche rescue. These skills enhance the LAF’s ability to conduct mountain and cold-weather operations.
The CTAT-L provides Combat First Aid instructors to train, advise, and mentor members of the LAF. The training team helps build the LAF’s capabilities of medical soldiering skills as part of Canada’s mission to enhance stability in the Middle East. In 2020, CTAT-L provided training to 264 LAF members, including 30 who were trained as instructors.
On March 31 and April 1, 2021, members of CTAT-L attended the Lebanese Armed Forces-led Gender Integration Seminar in Beirut. The seminar was designed to promote discussion on gender integration across the Lebanese Armed Forces with topics such as integrating female soldiers into the combat arms; issues male soldiers might have working with female colleagues; and issues of female accommodations.
Canadian Training Assistance Team – Jordan (CTAT-J)
The Canadian Training Assistance Team – Jordan three-member Female Engagement Team (FET) completed its fifth six-month serial in February, when it handed over to the new ROTO 4 personnel.
The team provides mentoring and training to women in the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF), helping them integrate better into the regular training cycle with their male counterparts so they will be effective if they deploy with them.
Various serials of the FET Mobile Training Team have spent the last three years training the FET platoon. The team’s goal has been to get the women to learn Jordanian Armed Forces doctrine alongside their male counterparts so they will be effective if they deploy with them.
Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defence training remains a critical capacity-building initiative within the Jordanian Armed Forces. The CTAT-J CBRN Mobile Training Team is an opportunity to increase Canadian and Jordanian cooperation.
Providing Mentorship to Jordanian Armed Forces
The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Mobile Training Team (CBRN MTT) provides mentorship and oversight to JAF instructors, and the team works directly with their Chemical Support Unit leadership to ensure the success of the courses, with the goal that the JAF will eventually run the courses without the assistance of the CAF.
In February, CTAT-J personnel supported the Jordanian Directorate of Military Women’s Affairs when it hosted a Jordanian Armed Forces organized and run Gender Integration Seminar. The seminar, with its focus on recruiting more women into the Jordanian Armed Forces, was very well received.
The team continues to work with Global Affairs Canada on border security projects, nearing completion of the tower refurbishments and construction of soldier accommodations that will enhance security along Jordan’s northern border.