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News | Dec. 9, 2019

Canadian NORAD Region hosts first Arctic Airpower Seminar

By Canadian NORAD Region Public Affairs

Two senior officers from the New York Air National Guard of the United States Air Force visited Winnipeg, Man., on November 19 and 20 as part of the first official 1 Canadian Air Division / Canadian NORAD Region (1 CAD/CANR) Arctic Airpower Seminar. 

Colonel Michele Kilgore and Colonel Clifford Souza, Commanders of the 109th Airlift Wing and 109th Operations Group respectively, engaged in discussions with a diverse group of operators, specialists and advisors to talk about training and operational opportunities that would benefit the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and its United States Air Force (USAF) allied partners.

Brigadier-General Ed “Hertz” Vaughan, Deputy Commander CANR and Deputy Combined / Joint Forces Air Component Commander for 1 CAD/CANR, hosted the two-day seminar. A partnership last September between the RCAF and the 109th Airlift Wing executing Operation BOXTOP, the mission to bring supplies to Canadian Forces Station Alert, prompted him to invite members of the 109th to the seminar to exchange information on various processes and objectives. 

“The Arctic is critically important to the security and defence of North America, and our ability to survive and operate in the Arctic domain are essential parts of our daily mission at 1 CAD/CANR,” said Brig.-Gen. Vaughan. “We established this series of seminars to help build relationships and deep dive into the specific of polar logistics and sustainment. Forging partnerships across Arctic communities, mission stakeholders, and allied forces are requirements for success.” 

The RCAF is no stranger to binational operations. Every day, military personnel and defence team members from Canada and the United States work together to protect and defend North American airspace through the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) mission. 

Comprising more than 40 per cent of Canada's land mass (and 75 per cent of Canada’s coastline) and about 120,000 inhabitants, the Arctic is undergoing significant change. Retreating ice cover is opening the way for increased shipping, tourism, and resource exploration, increasing interest in the region.

Following the presentations and discussion sessions, seminar attendees had the opportunity to visit with members of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, a unit that routinely deploys north in support of Canada’s NORAD and search and rescue commitments, to learn more about the role they play in the daily delivery of air power in the North. 

“The Arctic can be a complex, harsh and unforgiving location to operate in if one isn’t prepared to face its challenges,” said Brig.-Gen. Vaughan. “These seminars permit us to learn from our partners and allies as we continue developing the skills, technology, and relationships to work effectively in a polar environment. I look forward to the our next seminar in Yellowknife, focused on energy security at remote locations, and many more seminars to come. ”