Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne Niven has assumed command of Joint Task Force-Ukraine (JTF-U) from LCol. Tim Arsenault during a ceremony on Aug. 9 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi, Ukraine.
As the new commander of JTF-U, part of Operation UNIFIER, Niven will command close to 200 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members. While on Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine, Niven, and the forces are charged with the duty of training the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Small Team training, which consists of individual weapons training; marksmanship; communication; survival and ethics training.
“I extend a warm welcome to Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne Niven, as he leads Canada’s contribution to provide military training to Ukrainian forces. Equally, I extend my appreciation to Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault for his significant leadership and professionalism on Operation UNIFIER during his time in Command and to the troops for their outstanding performance,” said LGen. Stephen Bowes, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command.
Niven graduated from the Royal Military College as is an Infantry Officer. He has spent his career serving in many command and staff positions and most recently served as the Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry since June 2015. Niven has previously deployed to Bosnia and Afghanistan.
“My soldiers are looking forward to exchanging expertise and experience with our Ukrainian partners to the mutual benefit of our armed forces. We will build on the high standard of training established by previous rotations and continue to develop the effectiveness and professionalism of the Ukrainian troops on operations,” said LCol. Niven.
Operation UNIFIER has been in effect since Sept. 2015 in an effort to support Ukraine in maintaining its sovereignty, security, and stability. In the last year, more than 1,700 Ukrainian Armed Forces members have participated in CAF training.
In conjunction with the efforts of the United States and the United Kingdom, the CAF has developed a training plan with consultations from Ukraine as part of the operation. The training is designed to help the Ukrainian Armed Forces to enhance peace support operations interoperability, institutional capacity-building, and professional development.
Specifically, training includes small team training, combat first aid, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal, military police techniques, logistics modernization, flight safety and language training, and other training under the guidance of the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP).
Deployed CAF members on this mission come from across Canada. Currently, this rotation is comprised of members from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Edmonton, Alberta, and Shilo, Manitoba. This rotation replaced personnel from 2 Canadian Division based in the Province of Quebec.
Featured image: Colonel Michael Blackburn ( center) supervises the transfer of command authority of the operation UNIFY be outgoing commander, Lieutenant -Colonel Tim Arsenault (right) and the incoming commander Lt. Col. Wayne Niven (left ) during the ceremony center international security and peacekeeping to Starychi , August 9, 2016. ( Capt Coulombe JP )