Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their partners from the United States, Denmark, and France are conducting a series of training activities in the Arctic.
Operation NANOOK is the Canadian Armed Forces’ signature northern operation, which is designed to enhance security in the region. During this year’s operation, participants also maintain a maritime presence, increasing security awareness in the Eastern Arctic.
As the region becomes more accessible, state and commercial actors are becoming more interested in the benefits of operating in the Arctic. There are also large reserves of fossil fuels and minerals. These factors cause an increase in commercial activity, research, and tourism in and around Canada’s northern region.
This increase in traffic brings new safety and security risks. Canada must be ready to respond to search and rescue missions, as well as natural or man-made disasters.
“Operating together in or near Canada’s Arctic waters presents a mutually beneficial opportunity for allies to enhance their Arctic capabilities,” said Royal Canadian Navy Rear Admiral Steven Waddell, vice commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet.
“The opportunity to work with allies and partners in challenging environments only makes us better as we develop and hone unique skillsets to improve the readiness of all participants,” he said.
Operation NANOOK has taken place each year since 2007, normally during the months of August and September. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s operation is shorter than previous iterations, with no planned port visits or community relations activities.
“The U.S. is an Arctic nation, and this region is important to our national security, this is why we participate in events like Operation NANOOK,” said U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis, commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet.
“A stable, rules-based order in the Arctic benefits all Arctic nations by facilitating economic development, fostering regional cooperation on shared challenges, and ensuring a stable, conflict-free Arctic.”
This year’s maritime component for Operation NANOOK includes the Royal Canadian Navy ships HMCS Glace Bay, HMCS Ville de Quebec, and MV Asterix, the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), the “Misfits” of Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) 46.2, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Tahoma, French Navy coastal patrol vessel FS Fulmar, and the Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Triton.
As part of Canada’s defence policy, Strong Secure Engaged, Operation NANOOK is a key activity to increase presence in the Arctic over the long-term and work cooperatively with Arctic partners.
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