Vanguard Magazine

Oct/Nov 2014

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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C COmmAND 16 OCTOBER/nOVEMBER 2014 a s Vanguard went to press, six CF-188 Hornets and a CC-150T Polaris aerial refueller departed 4 Wing Cold Lake for a forward operating base in Kuwait as part of Operation Impact. Days earlier, HMCS Toronto joined a NATO maritime stand- ing group on Exercise Nobile Justifi cation in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, part of an ongoing deployment under Operation Reassurance to respond to Russian aggression in the Ukraine. At the same time, off the west coast of Haida Gwaii, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria successfully orchestrated a multi-agency effort to steer a stricken and heavily-laden cargo and oil carrier into the Port of Prince Rupert. All in a week's work for Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC). In fact, since Canada Command, Canadian Expeditionary Forc- es Command and Canadian Operational Support Command were consolidated under the fl ag of CJOC in the fall 2012, the pace of operations has rarely receded, despite the end of Canada's combat and training missions in Afghanistan. That places signifi cant responsibility on the shoulders of CJOC's commander. In September, the organization marked its fi rst change of com- mand as LGen Stu Beare handed over the reins to LGen Jon Vance, recently deployed and then rapidly recalled from a four- month stint as deputy commander of Allied Joint Force Com- mand in Naples. The fi rst 30 days have hardly been calm. In addition to the management of more than a dozen ongoing missions around the world, as well as the deployment of air, land and sea assets on Op Reassurance, Vance has had to oversee the initial deployment of special forces and air force personnel to Iraq. Though the focus today is clearly on action, as CJOC's fi rst commander Beare put a premium on "understanding" and "pre- paredness." He asked mission commanders to understand the larger context of their operations and set out to make greater strategic use of liaison offi cers and military attachés – all to help CJOC better anticipate global events. Both General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, and Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, acknowledged the value of that approach. "Your ability to grasp the shifting security situation and an- ticipate a role for our armed forces, providing options for our government and maintaining the fl exibility to respond swiftly is a testament to your command," Lawson said. Added Nicholson: "This change of command ceremony is hap- pening at a time when news reports are constantly reminding us of the fl uidity of the geopolitical landscape. That is why the role of the commander of CJOC is as much about anticipating and preparing as it is about action." Though all speakers paid tribute to Beare's legacy, Beare himself gave credit to those who had shaped the thinking for CJOC, in- cluding past deputy chiefs of the defence staff and contributors to seven years of transformation efforts. He also acknowledged the importance of partnerships to CJOC's success: allies, other gov- ernment departments, regional joint task forces and, especially, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command – General Charles Ja- coby, commander of both, attended the ceremony. "The result is great teams and teamwork within the forces, across government, with allies and supported by generous host nations around the world," said Beare, who retired after 36 years of service. CJOC, he added, has been at its best when it has worked with others to "act as the sum of our parts." Beare did, however, recognize the challenge of consolidating the many functions of a new joint headquarters while simultane- ously conducting operations. "We built it as we were fl ying it, that is for sure," he said. "We did this through signifi cant headquarters downsizing and restructuring and we kept it fl ying with our new mission, even as mother nature and the adversary and new chal- lenges exercised their vote." Vance, who said he was humbled to be following in the footsteps of someone he called a personal hero, must nonetheless continue to meet an operational tempo even as resources remain static. "Having just returned from NATO service close to the epicen- tre of our most recent set of security crisis, and having been in the midst of operations and planning concerning North Africa, Syria, the Balkans, the Sahel, Iraq, I am well and truly convinced of the need for excellence in operations, one of our CDS's pillars upon which the CAF is built," he said. "Intelligent application of selective military power, combined with the full range of the all of the instruments of national and international power, will be the hallmark of operations to come in the years ahead." cJoc changes commander, not op tempo by Vanguard Staff

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