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News | June 21, 2010

Canadian Navy participates in Frontier Sentinel 2010

By U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. – – A senior representative of the Canadian Maritime Forces Command (CMFC) discussed the importance of bilateral ties between Canadian and U.S. forces at exercise Frontier Sentinel, an exercise designed to mitigate a waterborn terrorist threat in U.S. and Canadian coastal waters, June 4-11.

The nearly 2,500 U.S. and Canadian service members and dozens of civilian agencies participating in exercise Frontier Sentinel 2010 are operating out of a necessity born from shared borders and coasts, said Cmdr. Rob Green, coastal/mine warfare operational test and evaluation officer at the Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"This is an incredibly complex exercise drawing on the expertise of more than a dozen American and Canadian agencies, joint assets and an integrated command team," said Green. "In the face of this complexity, we are proving once again that Canadians and Americans can stand shoulder to shoulder against shared adversity. You would be hard pressed to find any two nations in the world that can operate together this seamlessly."

Green, along with Canadian Navy assets, including the Kingston-class maritime coastal defence vessels HMCS Glace Bay (MM 701) and HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707), are participating in Frontier Sentinel 2010, the seventh iteration of the Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet-sponsored exercise.

The exercise was designed to practice, evaluate and make recommendations to the existing plans, treaties and standard operating procedures for a bilateral response to maritime homeland defense and security threats to North American maritime security.

The exercise took place in the Atlantic Ocean, from the Virginia Capes and into the Chesapeake Bay.

According to Green, Glace Bay and Goose Bay proved instrumental in the scenario-driven exercise, working jointly with U.S. Navy amphibious assets in numerous mine hunting and mine countermeasure efforts, from identification of suspect shapes below the sea surface through to simulated detonation of underwater explosives marking the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.

Glace Bay and Goose Bay are multipurpose vessels, built and launched in the mid-1990s. Classified as mechanical minesweepers, the two ships serve a number of purposes, including coastal surveillance, sovereignty patrol, route survey and training, said Green. Green also said that the scenario in which the two vessels participated included a jointly-conducted search for possible explosive devices.

"We, in Canada, are very happy to participate in this exercise," said Green. "We're glad to be here. During the scenario it was essentially a request for assistance from the American authorities that Canada supply mine countermeasure assets in a domestic threat."

Green said the unique attributes of the two ships significantly enhanced mission effectiveness, adding that Glace Bay carried a route survey payload which allowed significant ocean mapping and identification of potential mines, while Goose Bay transported a six-man combat dive team capable of performing disposal of any mines located.

Additionally, both Goose Bay and Glace Bay can be outfitted with a submersible, a remotely operated underwater vehicle capable of reaching depths of 2,200 meters.

Green said the importance of the Frontier Sentinel 2010 scenario could not be understated, citing the shared borders and coastlines between Canada and the United States as a direct reflection of the military and economic partnership the two countries enjoy.

"We're hand-in-hand in this together," said Green. "This is a very important scenario. Approximately 90 percent of all Canadian and U.S. trade across the world comes by ocean. Any threat to shutting down our ports is very serious and we train to counter that."

Green, who worked on the Frontier Sentinel 2010 control staff, said participating in the exercise proved vital for the continued development of interoperability between Canadian and U.S. forces, something he feels enhances the capability of both countries.

"We've worked with American forces in the past, and this represented another opportunity for us to improve on our own tactics and techniques and improve on our interoperability with American forces," said Green.