Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre, hosted an Arctic Chiefs of Defence meeting in St. John’s, NL Monday, that included representation from five countries.
Participants of the meeting on August 5, 2022, included Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and the United States.
“I was pleased to host Chiefs of Defence and representatives from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and the United States to share lessons learned from ongoing Arctic operations and to coordinate enhanced cooperation between our nations in the region. Today’s meeting was just one in a series of international engagements through which Canada, alongside our allies and partners, have the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to one another, and to the rules and freedoms that underpin global security and stability,” said Eyre in a statement following the conclusion of the Arctic Chiefs of Defence meeting.
Aligning with Like-Minded Nations
Protecting the Arctic and aligning like-minded nations has become especially important in today’s world in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a topic Eyre highlighted with his colleagues.
“The international order is rapidly changing and the strategic importance of the Arctic continues to grow. And as the security environment continues to shift and become more dangerous, continental defence has much broader implications, and we must consider the global context in which we plan and conduct all of our activities and operations.
For several years now, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has been building its capacity in the Arctic. The Army and Navy both maintain a notable presence in the Arctic with well-trained reserve units and deployments of Arctic patrol ships.
“The Arctic is at an inflection point where effects from Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and their military build-up in the Arctic, the impacts of climate change, technological advancements, and economic interests are driving increasing interest, activity, and competition in a way that makes this region more strategically important than ever before,” said Eyre.
He also commented on how “what happens in Europe and across the globe has implications in our own backyard.”
Canada’s role in the Arctic
For several years now, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has been building its capacity in the Arctic. The Army and Navy both maintain a notable presence in the Arctic with well-trained reserve units and deployments of Arctic patrol ships. Just last week, the RCN deployed Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Margaret Brooke and HMCS Goose Bay to the Arctic for a two-month deployment on Operation Nanook. The ships were also joined by HMCS Harry DeWolf.
Additionally, earlier this year, the CAF participated in several recurring joint Arctic exercises with the United States. These exercises included Arctic Edge, Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center, Exercise Arctic Eagle-Patriot, and Ice Exercise.
“For our part, the Canadian Armed Forces remains committed to defending Canada’s Northern sovereignty, and protecting Canadian interests at home and abroad. We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners in strengthening our domain awareness, surveillance, and command and control capabilities through a wide range of initiatives in the Arctic, including modernizing NORAD, improving the CAF’s capabilities, mobility and presence in the North, and increasing our participation in multinational exercises in the region,” stated the CDS.