NATO's Operation REASSURANCE
In 2016, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) agreed to enhance its military presence in
the eastern part of the alliance. As part of this
effort, NATO established three distinct missions
in Europe: an enhanced Forward Presence, Standing
Naval Forces, and a tailored Forward Presence.
NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence
The Forward Presence mission consists of four
multinational combat-ready battle groups based in
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. These
battle groups are led by the United Kingdom,
Canada, Germany, and the United States,
respectively -- collectively known as framework
nations for the enhanced Forward Presence. The
presence of these battle groups makes clear that
an attack on one member will be considered an
attack on the whole alliance, and represents the
biggest reinforcement of NATO's collective defence
in a generation.
Canada's participation as a framework nation
leading the battle group in Latvia includes: a
Task Force and a Battle Group headquarters, an
infantry company in Light Armoured Vehicles, a
combat support company (intelligence and
communications), and a support company
(transportation, supply and medical).
Enhanced forward presence forces are complemented
by logistics and infrastructure to support
pre-positioning and to facilitate rapid
The multinational enhanced Forward Presence
Battle Group in Latvia trains and exercises
regularly. The exercises are multinational in
nature and often integrate with the Latvian
national defence forces and other allied forces
from outside the Battle Group, which enhances
interoperability, and enables versatility in
employment within the region.
The Canada-led battle group is comprised of
approximately 1,400 troops, with eight other
contributing nations: Spain (300 troops), Poland
(200), Italy (160), Slovakia (152), Czech Republic
(60), Slovenia (50), Albania (21) and Montenegro
Canada has committed to leading the battle group
in Latvia until March 31, 2023. Canada's Minister
of National Defence and his Latvian counterpart
regularly co-host meetings of Defence Ministers
with troops in Latvia as part of the Canadian-led
battle group. These meetings take place on the
margins of the NATO Defence Ministerial meetings.
NATO's Standing Naval Forces
This mission includes four multinational
integrated Standing Maritime Groups: two
destroyer/frigate groups and two mine
countermeasures groups. These groups are
continuously available to perform tasks ranging
from participating in exercises to conducting NATO
Standing Maritime Groups provide NATO with an
immediate operational response capability.
Canada currently deploys a frigate to the
Standing NATO Maritime Group, which conducts
routine patrols in the Mediterranean Sea and Black
Sea. Command of the Maritime Group rotates between
nations, with Canada currently commanding. HMCS Fredericton
is a unit of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two.
NATO's Tailored Forward Presence
This mission refers to air policing activities in
the southeastern region of the alliance. It
involves the 24/7 presence of fighter aircraft
ready to react quickly.
To conduct the air policing mission, allies
forward deploy aircraft to bases in three regions:
the Baltic States, Romania/Bulgaria, and Iceland.
Canada contributes up to six CF-18 fighter
aircraft and 135 personnel on a four-month
episodic basis to conduct air policing,
surveillance, and training activities.
This article was published in
Volume 50 Number 17 - May 16, 2020
NATO's Operation REASSURANCE