Archive for the ‘SPECIAL FORCES’ Category


January 26, 2010

Defence Watch Analysis

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Keeping skilled personnel is always a challenge for most organizations, let alone a specialist unit such as the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU) based in Trenton.

As part of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM), CJIRU has the job of providing a national response to chemical, biological and radioactive threats, whether it be tracking down and dealing with a weapon of mass destruction or collecting and cataloging evidence that might be used in court to prosecute terrorists for creating or setting off such a device. It also conducts detection, sampling and identification of a full range of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards as well as providing advice to senior commanders and government officials in that speciality area.

But CJIRU has been losing some of its skilled operators and was facing a situation where it would have lost even more trained personnel.

That’s because Canadian Forces personnel would leave their parent trade or military occupation while working for CJIRU. Eventually, however, the parent MOC would require the individuals to return. The result: CJIRU was home to operators who built up unique skills with the unit, only to see them leave at a later date.

The solution? Create a new occupation in the Canadian Forces; that of Chemical, Biological, Radiological Nuclear Operator. CBRN Operator is now its own trade as of January 1.

With the creation of the CBRN Operator occupation, individuals will be able to remain in this specialty trade for longer periods of time.

The issue of retaining skilled personnel had come up when I spent several days at CFB Suffield with the unit in 2007 (then it was called the Joint Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defence Company. Its name was officially changed to the CJIRU in September 2007)

The issue was only made worse as the unit tended to attract experienced military personnel. “We’re looking for people who come with operational experience,” company Sgt.-Maj. Mike Bezeau explained at the time. “We tend to look for people who have demonstrated an ability to think on their feet.”

Being in the unit is challenging and rewarding work for those who don’t mind spending time in a CBRN suit, according to CJIRU personnel.

One individual I interviewed was Desi, an armored crewman, who decided to volunteer for the unit because of the unusual nature of the work. The 36-year-old sergeant (last name withheld for security reasons) told me he was intrigued by the various forms of chemical and biological agents  (anthrax, smallpox and the plague as  examples) he handled. As they say, to each his own.

At this point the CBRN Operator trade is open only to serving members of the Canadian Forces through the occupational transfer process.

Filling the vacancies in this new trade will be a phased process with the initial priority for occupational transfer going to those CBRN operators who are currently serving with the unit, or those who have served with CJIRU within the past two years and hold current qualifications in a number of specialities, according to CANSOFCOM officers.

Those include at least one of the following four CBRN Operator specialties:

·      SIBCRA (Sampling and Identification of Chemical, Biological, Radiological Agents

·      Decontamination

·      Surveillance Operator and

·      Command Centre Operator

CANSOFCOM is looking to fill the first billets in March and April of this year. The command has noted that the deadline for applications is February 19.

The changes affect only the CBRN Operator billets and does not affect support roles at the unit such as medical technician, signal operator or electronic-optronic technician. That remains unchanged.



January 26, 2010

Gunsights with religious references to be yanked

Jan 22 2010

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Gunsights with biblical references inscribed on them are being used by Canadian special forces in Afghanistan, but the military plans to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Militaries around the world, including Canada’s, were caught off guard by the news that U.S. manufacturer Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., had put biblical citations on many gunsights in use by forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One type of Trijicon gunsight has raised markings saying simply JN8:12. That is a reference to the Book of John, Chapter 8, verse 12.

In the King James Version of the Bible, that citation reads: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ ”

Another Trijicon sight has the inscription 2COR4:6, a reference to the passage from Corinthians Book 2, Chapter 4, verse 6: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Until recently, military leaders were unaware of the significance of the abbreviations.

But since their meaning has become known, Trijicon has been facing a growing backlash from the countries it has supplied with the sights. Military leaders have raised concerns that the inscriptions could provide propaganda ammunition for Islamic insurgents.

Maj. Doug MacNair, a spokesman for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said the organization has a limited number of the sights with the references. CANSOFCOM includes the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2 special forces unit and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment from Petawawa. Both units are in Afghanistan.

For security reasons, Canada won’t release the number or type of Trijicon sights it has.

MacNair said: “Like our allies, we consider the biblical inscriptions to be inappropriate. We’ll move as quickly as possible to rectify the situation.”

CANSOFCOM technicians are looking at how to remove the inscriptions without damaging the sights. Those gunsights being used by special forces in the field would also be dealt with in some way, but CANSOFCOM has to ensure that, whatever solution is found, the soldiers continue to have access to the equipment.

“You do want to move as quickly as you can while not jeopardizing mission effectiveness,” MacNair said.

However, Trijicon announced Thursday it would provide modification kits at no cost to remove the Scripture citations from gunsights already in use. There are more than 300,000 Trijicon sights in use by U.S. forces.

One religious leader in the U.S. wrote President Barack Obama to complain that the sights violated a U.S. government rule against proselytizing.

“Images of American soldiers as Christian crusaders come to mind when they are carrying weaponry bearing such verses,” wrote Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance.

Other serving U.S. military members complained to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation about the gunsights.

“This is a serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command, said Thursday in Washington.

On Thursday, New Zealand’s military announced it, too, would remove the markings. It has also ordered Trijicon to remove such inscriptions from future orders.

Australia is considering a similar request.

Trijicon has been putting the scripture citations on its sights for years and company officials said they had never received any complaints. However, Tom Munson, the firm’s sales director, has acknowledged the company did not publicize the practice.

Ottawa Citizen

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:


December 31, 2008






By David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen


Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Defence Department won’t start figuring out what to do with its Joint Task Force 2 commando base south of Ottawa for at least another year, says the head of the country’s special forces.

Col. Michael Day said an environmental assessment still has to be done for JTF2’s new home in Trenton, Ont. Once that is finished, along with the development of a more firm construction schedule for the new Trenton installation, then the department can start looking at the future of the facility near Ottawa known Dwyer Hill.

“I don’t think we’ll initiate the look for how we’re going to deal with Dwyer Hill until we have a better sense of the environmental assessment and the construction timeline,” Day said.


The department would likely turn its attention to determining the future of the Dwyer Hill Training Centre in another year to 18 months, he suggested. “I think it’s premature to look before then,” said Day, head of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

JTF2, which expanded in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., has outgrown the Ottawa installation.

The federal government announced in September the unit would relocate to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario.

The process of dealing with the future of 80-hectare Dwyer Hill base will consist of two phases. One will be an examination of whether the Defence Department has a need for the counter-terrorism training facility.

Day said he doesn’t see the country’s special forces having a continued use for the base. “At the moment, I don’t predict an urgent need or an operational requirement to keep it . . . but again, we’re talking multiple years, so my situation may change,” he added.

Other organizations within the Defence Department could, however, indicate an interest in the base.

If the department doesn’t have a use for the facility it could then be offered to other government organizations. If no other department indicates an interest it could then be turned over to the Canada Lands Company, which handles the sale of federal properties.

Day said in a previous interview JTF2 could start moving out of its Dwyer Hill base as early as 2012 but the process could stretch on for several more years after that. Some elements of JTF2 could still be in Dwyer Hill as late as 2015, he suggested.


For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to the Ottawa Citizen and David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:



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© Canwest News Service 2008


December 24, 2008


Elite troops get more pay to stay: Extra money helps ensure JTF2 soldiers don’t go work for private firms

The Ottawa Citizen

August 26, 2006

By David Pugliese


Special forces units ranging from Canada’s Joint Task Force 2 to the British Special Air Service are hiking pay in an effort to stem the flow of skilled personnel to private military firms.


Soldiers with the Dwyer Hill-based JTF2 will have their pay boosted through various means this year in recognition of their skills and the hardships they face on the job in places such as Afghanistan.


Several weeks ago, British military leaders approved a 50-per-cent pay hike for those in the country’s special forces — the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service — to try to stop soldiers from leaving to take jobs as guns-for-hire with firms in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The U.S. military also brought in a series of pay hikes and bonuses a couple of years ago to deal with the same issue.


Canadian Forces spokeswoman Cmdr. Denise LaViolette said the increases in financial compensation for JTF2 were not brought specifically because people were leaving the unit for the private sector.


“Allowances are reviewed on a regular basis for everyone,” she said.


“It wasn’t specific to the issue of going to other groups or leaving DND. It was, that we have a system in place, they regularly get reviewed, they were found to be lacking, (so) we increased them,” Cmdr. LaViolette said.


However, she did acknowledge the end result of making such compensation competitive to the private sector is that personnel will consider staying with the unit.


But Senator Colin Kenny, chairman of the Senate’s national security and defence committee, said the allowance improvements are directly related to the fact that JTF2 has been losing highly-skilled personnel to the private sector. He questioned why the military would not acknowledge the obvious.


“If they don’t want to call it a retention allowance, fine, but the bottom line is that you have people who like a certain kind of work and that work is available these days in both the public and the private sector,” said Mr. Kenny.


A March 13 background document produced by the Defence Department on the JTF2 allowances notes the money compensates for various hardships, including conditions of work and risk involved with serving in the unit.


The JTF2 allowance has been increased based on qualifying service, with annual compensation ranging from $7,488 to $8,964 for general support personnel, from $13,680 to $16,356 for close support personnel and from $21,756 to $25,260 for “assaulters.”


The compensation scheme also includes special allowances for certain skills. A special operations assaulter allowance sees annual compensation ranging from $15,000 for those commandos with less than two years’ qualifying service as an assaulter to $39,576 for those with 14 years or more qualifying service.


Assaulters are considered the fighting edge of JTF2 and are serving in Afghanistan and are on duty for counter-terrorism missions in Canada.


The compensation is on top of the regular military salary and benefits, which are based on rank.


Records previously released under the Access to Information law have shown that JTF2 officers are concerned the unit is losing personnel to private military firms. Former JTF2 have found work as guns-for-hire with such companies in Africa and Iraq.


Mr. Kenny said he believes military personnel enjoy serving in JTF2 and would prefer doing such work within the Canadian Forces.


“But if someone is going to come along and offer them silly amounts of money, they know they’re in a high-risk occupation, they have families, they have a future to think about and they also know they have a fairly limited shelf-life, particularly if they are an assaulter,” he explained.


Mr. Kenny noted that being an assaulter “is a young man’s game.”


He said it is likely that the military will have to further increase such allowances to retain such troops.


But other defence analysts, as well as some contract soldiers themselves, have suggested the flow of special forces from western nations to the private sector is slowing as security firms turn to troops from developing nations, who will work for less.


In the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, private security firms were paying around $1,000 a day for highly dangerous jobs for the former special forces members from the U.S. and Britain.


For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:




December 23, 2008


Creating Canada’s new Commandos the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR)


Elite fighting regiment will soon be ready for ‘all sorts of scenarios’


David Pugliese

The Ottawa Citizen


Saturday, August 05, 2006


KAMLOOPS, B.C. – As part of a major expansion of Canada’s special forces — a move driven by the war on terror — a new regiment of elite fighters will be ready for action by the end of the month.


The Canadian Special Operations Regiment will be ready in an “interim operational capability” on Sept. 1 and fully ready for missions overseas or at home by the end of the year.


The regiment, to be based at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, will provide support for Joint Task Force 2 — considered the country’s premier special forces unit — and conduct its own missions.


“We’ve made some excellent progress to date,” Lt.-Col. Jamie Hammond, the unit’s commanding officer, said during a lull in training in the southern interior of British Columbia.


“There’s a lot of training that will go on beyond this course, but right now I’m very happy with the quality of the people we’ve got, both the supporters and the actual candidates on the course.”


The regiment will have its official “stand-up” ceremony at CFB Petawawa on Aug. 13.


At this point, the regiment has about 270 members, including headquarters and supply staff, as well as a training cadre. It is expected to expand to 750 over the next three to five years.


The regiment can be called upon to fulfil a number of roles, including training foreign soldiers, special reconnaissance operations or direct-action missions — military parlance for attacking enemy targets or individuals.


Since the regiment is at high readiness, it could also be called on to help Canadians trapped overseas reach safety, similar to the mission that took place during the early days of the current crisis in Lebanon.


“My response is as long as we’re ready and we’re at a high readiness we could be deployed on all sorts of scenarios,” said Lt.-Col. Hammond.


The regiment is part of a significant expansion in the Canadian military of its special forces capabilities.


Earlier this year, the military created the country’s first special operations command to oversee such units. That command is responsible for JTF2, the special operations regiment, a special operations aviation squadron and an expanded nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological response unit. Eventually the command will have about 2,300 personnel under its control.


American defence analyst John Pike said Canada and other nations are following the example of the U.S. in expanding special forces, a move almost exclusively driven by the war on terrorism.


“The U.S. certainly sees such forces as important, but since we haven’t won (the terror war) yet we won’t know how big a role they’ve actually played,” said Mr. Pike, director of the Washington-based


But, he said, Canada’s expansion of such forces will be seen in a positive light by U.S. military officials and could provide Canada with a way to further strengthen defence relations between the two nations.


The special operations regiment started with $25 million, but it hopes to receive approval in the fall for a $400-million project that would include new equipment and infrastructure. The Defence Department expects to build new training facilities and offices at CFB Petawawa.


The military put out the word in December it was looking for volunteers for the regiment. The troops were put through a 16-week selection course; of the original 178 candidates for what is being called a direct-action company, about 130 are left.


The regiment will have equipment and training similar to JTF2. Military officers say it is important the two units are interoperable since the regiment will be used at times to provide combat support for JTF2.


The expansion has been embraced by various Canadian governments. The program was launched under the Liberals shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, when it was decided to double the capability of JTF2. They later approved the creation of the special operations command and regiment.


The Harper government has added to the expansion by announcing the $2-billion purchase of Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, some of which are expected to support special forces.


At the same time, the Conservatives have announced they will create a 650-strong airborne regiment, but it is not known whether that would be brought into special operations command or stay under control of the army.


The Chinooks will give JTF2 and the regiment more ability to move around the battlefield in places such as Afghanistan, although the regiment still expects to use the Griffon helicopter for domestic missions and on some specific overseas operations, Lt.-Col. Hammond said.


The new regiment could also provide a recruiting pool of highly trained personnel for JTF2 in the future.


“I hope the best move up to JTF2,” Lt.-Col. Hammond said.



For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:



© The Ottawa Citizen 2006



December 21, 2008



JTF2 fires up new look in recruitment campaign; Support workers targeted in new Joint Task Force 2 posters, website


By David Pugliese


The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Page: A3

Section: News


The Canadian military’s Joint Task Force 2 has brought a new look to its recruiting by focusing, in part, on the personnel who support the counter-terrorism organization.


The Ottawa-based unit has revamped its website and issued a new series of recruiting posters that not only include the combat and counter-terrorism aspects of JTF2, but also focus on jobs that allow the commandos to do their work.


Besides showing the heavily armed JTF2 assaulters, considered the fighting edge of the unit, the recruiting posters now highlight support trades such as welders, firearms technicians, communications specialists and medics.


Lt.-Cmdr. Walter Moniz, the spokesman for Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said JTF2 and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment based at CFB Petawawa had revamped their websites and other units in the command would soon follow suit. He said the process was in keeping with a general overhaul of Canadian Forces web pages to look similar as well as to “keep a fresh look” for the sites.


At the same time, though, JTF2 has also produced the recruiting posters and put information on its website to entice those in support trades in the Canadian Forces to give special operations a try.


“There were times that people didn’t know we looked for support trades, so when you go on the site, you’ll see a listing of that as well,” Lt.-Cmdr. Moniz said. “It was in essence to broaden it to ensure we better inform people what was available there for them.”


Lt.-Cmdr. Moniz said the commander of special operations, Col. Mike Day, had listed the growth of the formation as one of his priorities. The websites are used not only as a recruiting tool, but also to provide information to the public, he added.


Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the federal government provided $119 million in new funding to the Defence Department to double the capacity of JTF2. The unit had about 300 members at that time, but since then it is estimated to have grown to around 600, although the actual figure is considered secret.


In 2006, the military also created the special operations command and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment as well as expanding its chemical and biological defence unit and special forces aviation unit.


JTF2 and the special operations regiment have faced an uphill battle in some of its recruiting efforts since the army, the main service that provides candidates, has found itself needing all its personnel to support the Afghanistan war.


For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:



December 21, 2008



JTF2’s top priorites: Dealing with domestic terror attack, 2010 Olympics says commander


By David Pugliese


The Ottawa Citizen

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Canada’s special forces including Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) have identified their top two priorities as improving their ability to deal with a terrorist attack at home as well as preparing to provide security for the 2010 Olympics, according to a new publication being circulated among the military’s senior leadership.


The third and fourth priorities, respectively, are the contribution to international operations and the growth over the longer term of the special forces command, the organization that includes the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2  counter-terrorism unit and a special operations regiment in Petawawa.


The overview of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) was produced in August and has made the rounds of the senior military leadership in the last several weeks. It is seen as a primer to explain what the command does and the direction it is headed.


The command’s continued development of domestic counter-terrorism skills includes the capability to deal with nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attacks as well as to quickly provide a special operations task force to support law enforcement agencies. In the case of a terrorism incident in Canada, civilian law enforcement organizations would be the first to respond. Units such as JTF2 would be called in as a last resort.


For the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, the command notes that its ongoing preparation “includes completing the requisite planning, training, growth and integration required to provide the necessary (special operations forces) capability to assist with other government efforts to ensure the security of the Games.”


The command is expected to play a major security role at the Olympics and it is likely that much of JTF2’s force will be stationed in B.C. for the Games.


Commander Col. Michael Day points out in the publication that while special forces rely on intelligence and tight operational security, “Just as critical, they are dependent on enlightened and educated support by our conventional forces, allies and coalition partners as well as strong informed leadership with the CF.”


“The requirement for leaders of today and the future to have a full and in-depth understanding of who and what CANSOFCOM is, and most importantly, how to leverage the incredible capability our men and women represent, is critical to their success,” Col. Day writes.


In an interview earlier this year, Col. Day said the education about special forces within the Canadian military and government is continuing.


“That education piece is our responsibility,” he said. “If there’s ignorance, that’s our problem to solve.”


According to the publication, the command sees its contribution to international missions as including not only support to Canadian military operations, but also providing assistance to other government departments. In addition, that would include helping “select nations and allies to develop capacities and skills sets so that they can provide for their own internal security and defence,” the overview points out.


That is an indication that Canadian special operations could undertake training missions overseas, such as U.S. Green Berets.


The publication emphasizes that special forces must be used properly and such units are not a substitute for conventional forces. “In most cases, SOF are neither trained, nor equipped to conduct sustained conventional combat operations, and should not be substituted for conventional units,” it adds.


– – –


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December 11, 2008


By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

The Canadian Force’s main counter-terrorism unit should start moving out of its Dwyer Hill base as early as 2012 but the process could stretch on for several more years after that, says the head of the country’s special operations command.


Military officials had previously been talking about the Joint Task Force 2 commando unit vacating the 80-hectare base sometime after the end of the Winter Olympics in 2010.


But Col. Michael Day, head of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, says although work is now underway on planning for a new installation, the earliest the move would likely take place is 2012 and some elements of JTF2 could still be in Dwyer Hill as late as 2015.


JTF2, which expanded in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., has outgrown its base, known as the Dwyer Hill Training Centre. The senior military leadership has agreed the unit should vacate the installation but there has yet to be an official announcement from the federal government on when or where JTF2 will be moving to.


Col. Day said he had been involved in the move of his former military unit from Winnipeg to Shilo, Manitoba and noted that the process can be lengthy. “Based on that, if we have physically completed the move before 2012, I will be stunned,” he said. “I just don’t think that we can get all the hard work done and do it right within that time frame.”


He said that the move from Dwyer Hill will likely take place over a number of years. Col. Day noted that at this point he hasn’t committed to a specific date to move but if he receives a decision from the federal government on the unit’s relocation sometime this year then JTF2 will be able to leave Dwyer Hill starting in 2012.


Three years ago, Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais acknowledged to the Senate defence committee that the Dwyer Hill centre was “bursting at the seams” and a larger base was needed. At least 600 military and Defence Department personnel work at the site, which was originally a horse farm.


Over the years, JTF2’s presence at Dwyer Hill has upset some area residents, who have complained about loud helicopter flights and the noise of gunfire and explosions from the training base. Those complaints subsided after the unit made an effort to deal with the problems it neighbors had identified.


Residents still, however, continue to voice concerns that the base has created excessive traffic, resulting in delays and lineups at times along Franktown and Dwyer Hill roads.


Col. Day noted that while JTF2 needs to leave the Dwyer Hill base, the move will be done well before the facility outlives its usefulness to the counter-terrorism unit. “I may have tail end elements there in 2015, I may have, I don’t know, but I’m utterly confident that our movement schedule will be well ahead of the point where that facility becomes absolutely irrelevant,” he added.


The multi-year move is needed because elements of JTF2 are required to be on constant alert to deal with a terrorist incident. “I’m not going to go, ‘Okay guys, take the year off, move to a new location, let me know when you’re good to go again,” Col. Day explained. “We’re on call today.  We’re on call tomorrow.  We’ll be on call the year we move.”


The other reason behind a multi-year move is because the special operations command is taking into consideration the effect the relocation will have on the families of its personnel. Some JTF2 members have been assigned to the unit since 1993 and their families have established roots in the Ottawa area. Col. Day said those families need to be given time so their children can relocate to new schools and spouses can obtain new jobs.


“I’m very sensitive to the fact that my capability is vested in my people,” he said. “My people’s capabilities is vested in the support their families receive. And so it isn’t just the infrastructure process.”


The command has provided a number of different options to the Canadian Forces leadership regarding future locations for JTF2, Col. Day explained.


However, in previous interviews, senior military personnel have stated that Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., is their preferred location.


Positioning JTF2 at CFB Trenton, one of the country’s main military airbases, allows the unit immediate access to aircraft for domestic and overseas missions. It is also an ideal location because another unit in the special operations command, the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit, which deals with nuclear, biological and chemical incidents, is already located there. JTF2 works closely with that unit on counter-terrorism exercises.


In January, Defence Construction Canada, a Crown corporation that handles the Defence Department’s building needs, issued a call  for “expressions of interest” from contractors and consultants for the building of a new installation.


The facility is to be in “Eastern Ontario,” with the specific location considered still secret at this point, according to the information provided so far to construction and engineering contractors.


Public Works and Government Services Canada has already purchased three properties adjacent to CFB Trenton for the Defence Department. Those total just under 130 hectares. Another 270 hectares are also being looked at for purchase.


Contractors have been told the new site will consist of indoor and outdoor training areas, storage and maintenance facilities, residence and food service buildings, a swimming pool and recreation centre, and a shooting range. It still hasn’t been decided whether a single building or a number of facilities will be needed to house JTF2.


Contractors working on the site, including the project manager, architect, structural engineer, food services facility designer and a number of others, will be required to have a government secret-level clearance.



For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:




May 29, 2008

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen


Joint Task Force 2’s comrades from the early days of the Afghanistan war have a new book highlighting their achievements. Norwegian special forces (NORSOF) played a major part in Task Force K-Bar which included U.S. and other special operations forces including Canada’s own JTF2.

Now my Norwegian colleague Tom Bakkeli has a new book out called “Norway’s Secret Warriors. Norwegian Special Operations Forces in The War Against Terror” which looks at Norwegian SOF and their missions.(there is also a small bit in the book on JTF2 snipers in Afghanistan).

Norway had a force of more than 70 special operators assigned to Task Force K-Bar in the early days. Those men from the Jaeger Kommando and Marine Jaeger Kommando served with the initial 40 JTF2, German SKS, Danish SOF, Navy SEALs and U.S. Air Force and Army special forces. Also along were New Zealand and Australian SAS.

Norway’s SOF community declined to officially co-operate with Tom (they may have opened back channels to him, I’m not sure). But once it came out the book was well received by the country’s special operations folks.

There are lots of details on ship boardings and maritime counter-terrorism, as well as a section on the Afghanistan war.

Tom’s book also has excellent photos of his country’s special forces operators. Most of the photos are taken by the Defence Forces SOF Photographer, Torbjørn Kjosvold with two examples of his work at this photo and this photo.

Tom was invited to meet some of the SOF operators and was taken for a tandem night parachute jump from a helicopter.

The book has sold 8,400 copies so far (that was several months ago so it’s likely more by now), which is considered very good in a country of 4.5 million people.

The unfortunate part of all this (for North Americans that is) is that the book is written in Norwegian……so I’m hoping some publisher will put out an English language version.

David Pugliese


May 22, 2008

Devil’s Brigade battle legacy accepted by Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR)

By David Pugliese

The Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, May 22, 2008



Commandos who established their reputations as hardened and legendary soldiers during the Second World War will be honoured by Canadian special forces by having their unit’s battle legacy transferred to a recently created regiment.


The Canadian Special Operations Regiment, or CSOR, has received approval to accept the battle honours from the Canadian section of the First Special Service Force, military officials say.


The First Special Service Force, better known as the Devil’s Brigade, was a joint U.S.-Canadian unit that fought with distinction during the Second World War. The unit established its reputation during fighting to liberate Italy, but also took part in operations in Alaska and France.


A special event will be held at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa in late June to honour the veterans, CSOR officers said.


“This is great for our outfit,” said Charlie Mann, a Devil’s Brigade veteran who is director emeritus and the Canadian military liaison officer for the First Special Service Force Association. “I feel that CSOR is probably the closest thing to the original force since the war. They function very similar to the way we used to function.”


Two directives issued earlier this year designate CSOR, at CFB Petawawa, and the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2 as honour-bearing units.


That will allow them to receive battle honours.


CSOR commander Lt.-Col. Jamie Hammond says the regiment is working on getting its own regimental colours. “On that flag, we will put any battle honours we get and we’ll also perpetuate the honours of the First Special Service Force,” he said.


Lt.-Col. Hammond said it would take about another year for CSOR’s colours to be designed and approved by Government House.


In the meantime, however, Lt.-Col. Hammond said he wanted to have a ceremony to mark the acceptance of the First Special Service Force’s battle honours.


“We’re hoping to have a small colour party of the vets march on to our change-of-command parade and hand their First Special Service Force flag over to us as a symbol of us carrying on their legacy,” he said.


Efforts to transfer the battle honours have been ongoing for several years, said Mr. Mann, a resident of Kincardine, Ont.


At first, he said, JTF2 wanted to accept the honours.


“But JTF2 is not a regiment, so they couldn’t accept our battle honours,” Mr. Mann said. “Then along came CSOR, and CSOR is a regiment and very similar to the Special Service Force.”


Mr. Mann said it was estimated that a little more than 300 Canadian and U.S. members of the First Special Service Force were still alive.