Jasen Sagman Maritime Nation

Canada`s Commitment to Maritime Peace and Security in the Arabian Sea

Canada’s Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson and Chief of the Defense Staff General Tom Lawson recently returned from a week-long visit to Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed on Operations ATTENTION and ARTEMIS. The purpose of this visit was to provide the Minister and Chief an opportunity to meet and thank military personnel for their commitment, hard work, and dedication on behalf of the Government of Canada This article will seek to contextualize this visit by providing a brief background of the Operations mentioned, particularly as they relate to the NATO Council of Canada`s Maritime Security Program.

While both Operations are of utmost importance and significance to Canada`s national security, this article will focus primarily on Operation ARTEMIS, simply due to its correlation to maritime security. First, however, a brief background on Operation ATTENTION.

Operation ATTENTION is Canada`s participation in the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. The operation was formally activated on 21 November 2009 with the mandate of consolidating, standardizing, and strengthening the training and professional development of the national security forces of Afghanistan. The operation has a legislated personnel cap of 950 Canadian Armed Forces members, and is slated to run until the successful transfer of responsibility to the Afghan forces – expected sometime in 2014.

Operation ARTEMIS is Canada`s participation in maritime security and counter-terrorism in the Arabian Sea, the purpose of which is to demonstrate solidarity with our allies in the quest for peace and security in the maritime environment of the greater Middle East region.

Article Picture

This particular operation is part of Canada`s overall commitment to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), an international naval partnership that provides security for civilian maritime traffic in the waters of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden, and the Arabian Sea.

First formed in February 2002, the CMF is organized into three principal task forces: CTF-150 (Maritime Security & Counter-Terrorism); CTF-151 (Counter-Piracy), and; CTF-152 (Persian Gulf Security Cooperation). Of the 29 nations who contribute ships and personnel to the CMF, Canada, Pakistan, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, currently compose the core of CTF-150.

At the centerpiece of Operation ARTEMIS is Canada`s commitment to CTF-150, HMCS Toronto. With a crew of 225 personnel, her mission is to detect, deter, and protect against terrorist activity, which she does with the help of an on-board CH-124 Sea King helicopter air detachment, and an unmanned aerial vehicle detachment.

HMCS Toronto has been committed to this operation since she left home in Halifax on 14 January 2013, and will remain committed until the fall of 2013.

In addition to HMCS Toronto, Operation ARTEMIS involves a team of three Royal Canadian Navy personnel deployed at the NATO Shipping Centre, part of the Maritime Component Command Headquarters in Northwood, England. Originally deployed in 2009, the purpose of this mission is to assist the multinational effort of ensuring the safe passage of merchant shipping through the waters off the Horn of Africa, in the Gulf of Aden, and in the Indian Ocean

One important note to leave you with is that Canada’s participation in the Combined Maritime Forces is purely voluntary. In fact, no nation is ever asked to carry out any duty that it is unwilling to conduct.

Jasen Sagman
Jasen Sagman is currently pursuing an M.A. in Global Diplomacy from the University of London, SOAS. He works for a Member of Parliament in Ottawa, and holds an Honours B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto. His research interests include terrorism and counter-terrorism, Israeli security, and Canadian foreign policy. He has previously researched for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.