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Canada wraps up participation in NATO’s Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 2024

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) wrapped upitsparticipation in NATO’s largest exercise in decades, Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 2024. The final sub-exercise under the STEADFAST DEFENDER umbrella was Exercise SPRING STORM in Estonia, which ended on May 17, 2024.

Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24 ran from end of January to end of May, with approximately 1,000 CAF members participating in various exercises across Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe. Our sailors, soldiers, aviators, and special forces members demonstrated NATO’s ability to conduct sustained, multi-domain defence operations alongside our allies over these four months.

Highlights included the participation of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) personnel in Exercise NORDIC RESPONSE in Norway; the participation of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown with its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter in Exercise DYNAMIC GUARD and Exercise JOINT WARRIOR; and the Canadian-led NATO Multinational Battlegroup Latvia’s participation in Exercise CRYSTAL ARROW in Latvia and Exercise SPRING STORM in Estonia.

The CAF’s participation in Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24 emphasizes the critical role of combat readiness and preparedness in NATO’s collective defence strategy, contributing to the stability and security of the Euro-Atlantic region. The CAF’s ability to engage in and sustain multi-domain operations over several months not only enhances our own operational readiness but also strengthens NATO’s deterrence posture and defensive capabilities. This versatility was demonstrated through various exercises conducted in varied environments, underscoring the CAF’s capabilities to rapidly adapt to new situations. Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER served as an opportunity to reinforce Canada’s commitment to the collective defence of NATO Allies and ensure sustained peace and security in Europe and the North Atlantic region.

“As Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24 concludes, the Canadian Armed Forces have once again proven their ability and commitment to stand strong with NATO Allies. Canada’s participation in this critical, major exercise reaffirms our unwavering dedication to the defence of Europe and to uphold the shared values and interests of our alliance. Canada stands firm in its role as a reliable partner in the pursuit of peace and security on the global stage.”

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

“With the successful completion of Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24, the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and assets alongside NATO forces stands as a strong symbol of deterrence and reassurance. This collective demonstration of strength and preparedness reaffirms our pledge to uphold regional security and stability and signals a unified resolve against any threats to our common values.”

General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff

“NATO military training exercises, such as Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24, are critical to reinforce alliance interoperability and partnership. These exercises enable us to tackle modern-day security threats with a cohesive and synchronized approach while enhancing our collective preparedness and cultivating a sense of unity. Through these efforts, we solidify our ability to adapt to diverse challenges, while fostering strong, interconnected relationships in defense and security.”

Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command

ADDITIONAL INFO

  • Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24 saw over 90,000 military personnel from all 32 NATO Allies, along with more than 50 naval assets, over 80 aircraft, and over 1,100 combat vehicles participate in a series of exercises across multiple domains (maritime, land, air space, and cyber), demonstrating the unbreakable bond between NATO Allies in Europe and North America.
  • CANSOFCOM’s participation in Exercise NORDIC RESPONSE included ground and air elements from Canada’s special forces who conducted activities related to their core mandate, including direct action, special reconnaissance, and tactical aviation support, while in a remote arctic setting, and reinforced operational versatility and interoperability with Allied forces.
  • HMCS Charlottetown’s participation in Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24 enabled its crew to train alongside NATO Allies in preparation for the warship to assume command of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 this summer.
  • Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 24 served as an important milestone for the future of the Canadian Army’s NATO Multinational Brigade Latvia with the incoming Command Team and Headquarters participating in their first integration exercise.
  • Operation REASSURANCE is Canada’s contribution to NATO deterrence and defence measures in Central and Eastern Europe and is Canada’s largest overseas mission with approximately 1,100 personnel deployed. The mission is set to grow to up to over 2,000 personnel persistently deployed by 2026.

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