Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 05, 2011 22:46 ET

CORRECTION FROM SOURCE: Minister Mackay Announces the Start of the Annual Arctic Sovereignty Operation Nanook

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 5, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today announced that Operation Nanook has commenced. A combined Naval Task Group set sail from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador today, towards Canada's Eastern and High Arctic, where other personnel and equipment from the Army, Air Force, and Canadian Rangers will converge over the month of August for the annual Arctic sovereignty exercise.

Partners from Canadian federal, territorial and municipal government departments, as well as the Royal Danish Navy and the United States Coast Guard, are participating in the Canadian Forces-led operation which will take place in the vicinity of Resolute Bay, Nunavut Territory, from August 5-26.

"Operation Nanook demonstrates our Government's commitment to Canada's sovereignty and cooperation in the Arctic region," said Minister MacKay. "With world attention on the region on the rise and with an increasing travel into and over the vast territory of Canada's north, our government has made it a priority to enhance the Canadian Forces' operational capability in the Arctic. I am very pleased to see that capacity has grown once again through this year's exercise."

Op Nanook, named for the Inuit word for polar bear, is the centerpiece of three annual northern sovereignty operations conducted by the Canadian Forces and its partners who share interest in Canada's North. First conducted in 2007, Op Nanook demonstrates the Government of Canada's increased presence in the north and provides opportunities for military and civilian teams to operate and train together in Canada's unique Arctic environment.

"The Canadian Forces operates and trains throughout the year across the north and the Arctic," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "Op Nanook brings together our men and women and those of other military and civilian agencies and provides realistic scenarios, such as the Major Air Disaster and maritime emergencies, in which they hone their skills and improve their capabilities."

In addition to the Canadian Forces, the simulated Major Air Disaster (MAJAID) and maritime emergency scenarios involve the Canadian Coast Guard, Transportation Safety Board, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Public Safety Canada as well as the Government of Nunavut, the community of Resolute Bay and our private sector partners.

"Op Nanook demonstrates the Canadian Forces' commitment to Canada's Northern Strategy," said Lieutenant-General Walt Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command. "The operations and exercises the Canadian Forces undertakes in the north throughout the year, increases our knowledge of the north, improves our ability to operate in the region, and enhances our ability to contribute to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Canada's North, as well as those who travel into and over this vast territory."

Op Nanook 11 will take place with assistance from Canada Command's Joint Task Force North (JTFN) and will involve more than 1100 participants from the Canadian Forces.

Notes to editor / news director: Still and video imagery of evacuation operations can be found at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca.

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