Canada's elite forces land in the Arctic
Aug 24, 2012 / 3:55 pm
The country's most elite and secretive fighters dropped down from a helicopter and into the public spotlight Friday for the first time in the history of Canada's special forces.
About 30 Joint Task Force 2 operators were the key actors in what was billed as the most complex scenario ever run by the military during the annual summer exercises.
It marked a coming-out-party of sorts for JTF-2, which is rarely talked about in public and even more infrequently witnessed plying its trade.
Its work on counter-terrorism operations at home and in places like Afghanistan is often praised but never publicly acknowledged.
"They're not in the public eye...and they will probably never will be for a number of operational security reasons," said Brig-Gen. Denis Thompson, commander of Canadian Special Operations Forces.
"But it's important for them to be seen to be contributing to Canada's overall defence because a lot of what we do is in the shadows."
Operation Nanook is conducting two separate operations at the same time this year, one involving a boat collision in the Western Arctic and the other, demonstrated in front of Prime Minister Harper, showed JTF-2 boarding a craft which was heading towards Churchill with 'unknown intentions.'
Thompson called JTF-2's public appearance Friday both a natural evolution and an important signal.
"At the end of the day, all of National Defence is about deterrence and reassurance, and so we took this opportunity to use Operation Nanook to demonstrate CANSOF capability as a deterrent and reassurance piece," Thompson said.
"Deterring those who would do harm to us and reassuring the Canadian public."
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