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The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) concluded the annual Arctic sovereignty and security deployment, Operation NANOOK back in August and CDR's Ian Keddie was invited to tag along to view first hand Joint Task Force North's (JTFN) training in Rankin Inlet in the territory of Nunavut. Here is our report

Op NANOOK has been running since 2007 but 2017 marked the first time the operation was split between two commands; JTFN and Joint Task Force Atlantic (JTFA); who ran separate elements of the operation simultaneously in Nunavut and Labrador. Whilst JTFA oversaw a simulated sovereignty security operation on Canada's Atlantic coast, JTFN's mission was a simulated civil emergency in the remote community of Rankin Inlet.

The town is only reachable by air or seasonally by barge on Hudson's Bay and JTFN oversaw and supported civil training centered on a simulated barge fire in Rankin Inlet and the subsequent problems that could have developed, as part of the exercise. Rankin Inlet's Mayor, Robert Janes, told CDR how Op NANOOK gave the town an opportunity to test emergency preparedness for such an emergency, "When you're dealing with chemicals, these types of things and when you have to evacuate people and how you would do it and the benefits of having this upfront certainly is worth a lot."

He explained, "It's very important to us. We had the military, health, Government of Nunavut, all of these agencies were involved so that gave us a better opportunity to formalize the plan and be better equipped to actually handle anything that comes along".

Op NANOOK is a military event but JTFN had invited local authorities to lead the scenario in this instance and facilitated the capabilities to simulate scenarios such as a mass casualty event, search and rescue, fire, and evacuation. For JTFN, Op NANOOK provides the opportunity to prove the ability for the deployment and sustaining of forces in the region. A range of CAF personnel were brought together including Arctic Response Company Group (ARCG) of the 38e Canadian Brigade Group, 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (1CRPG), Joint Task Force Support Component (logistics), as well as a number of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) assets.


Regular CAF made use of their visit to Nunavut to train with the local Canadian Rangers, and Master Corporal Marko Senchuk told CDR about training with the Rangers, "Op NANOOK has been an excellent exercise for testing our capabilities as the Arctic Response Company Group. We've had survival training, which was great. The Rangers really have taught us a lot about the landscape, foraging, how to build fires, all that sort of thing, we got opportunity to try some char, some caribou, so that's been really excellent so I think it's been a great experience for all involved."

Concluding two weeks of operations in the high north marks the ongoing success of Op NANOOK, one of several operations in the high north that the CAF undertakes every year. In the future however, all of these operations will be renamed under the all-encompassing moniker of Op NANOOK.

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Title Annotation:DEFENCE NOTES
Author:Keddie, Ian
Publication:Canadian Defence Review
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 2017

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