Archive for the ‘Joint Task Force 2/JTF2’ Category


March 7, 2009


By David Pugliese

The country’s Ottawa-based commando unit will get a fleet of new war wagons next year in a deal expected to be worth more than $100 million.


Evaluation of new vehicles for the military’s Joint Task Force 2 command unit, based at Dwyer Hill, and the special operations regiment in Petawawa has narrowed the search down to two candidates, both to be built in the U.S.


JTF2 and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment currently use Humvees built by AM General in Indiana. Those were purchased during the early days of the Afghan war for JTF2.


Craig McNab of AM General said the company is actively pursuing the Canadian special forces vehicle project and is waiting for the second phase of the program to begin. That would involve the government issuing a request for proposals to the two companies whose vehicles have been selected.


McNab said he didn’t want to get into details about the specific type of vehicle offered to Canada. But he added that AM General has established a good relationship with Canadian special forces through a maintenance and battlefield repair program the company offers on JTF2’s existing fleet of Humvees. “We have a particularly good training program with U.S. special operations and the Canadians liked it as well,” he added.


Lockheed Martin is the second firm selected with its Supacat family of vehicles, according to industry officials. Those high mobility trucks were originally designed in Britain and some variants, such as the Jackal, are now in service with special forces and regular force units.


Lockheed Martin has a deal to sell the British vehicles to militaries in Canada and the U.S.


In January the Australian government announced that it had taken delivery of the first of 30 Supacat Jackal patrol vehicles for its special forces. Those vehicles are worth more than $1 million each.


Public Works and Government Services has declined to name the two firms selected for Canadian program. In an email the department claims it has to protect the “commercial confidentiality” of the firms.


It did not explain why it needed to protect commercial confidentiality when the companies in question have acknowledged their interest in the project.


Public Works will issue a request for proposals to the two qualified bidders and a contract is to be awarded in the summer. The requirement for 100 new vehicles.


In an interview last year, Col. Mike Day, head of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said the existing fleet of Humvees will continue to be used as his personnel become proficient on the new vehicles. He noted the new vehicles will be available for use for various units in the command.


For logistics purposes, the command is also looking for a vehicle fielded by a number of countries so that parts would be readily available.


Col. Day noted that the requirements for the new vehicles mention that they have to be capable of being transported by helicopter. “I think that type of tactical force projection is a critical component,” he said. “Use Afghanistan as an example; use any other part of the world. Do you want to fly for an hour or do you want to drive for a day?”


Stephen Priestley, a researcher for the Canadian-American Strategic Review website at Simon Fraser University, said that the Supacat Jackal appears to meet the various criteria that Canada’s special operations command needs. He noted that the Supacat variant selected by Australia comes with the option of a bolt-on chassis that can convert the basic four-by-four vehicle into a six-by-six speciality vehicle. Such a conversion can be done in several hours.


Col. Day said the next major purchase for his Ottawa-based command will be to replace its fleet of rigid hull inflatables that are used for domestic counter-terrorism missions. He did not provide a timeline on when the replacement of those boats might happen.




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.


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© Canwest News Service 2008


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.



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© 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.


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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.



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