Canada - leading nation of eFP battlegroup in Latvia
Canada and Latvia enjoy excellent relationship. Canada was the first G7 country to recognize the restoration of Latvia's independence in 1991, and one of the first countries to ratify Latvia's accession to NATO in 2004.
Canada is a leading member of NATO that has always deployed our troops and equipment when and where they are needed most. The Government of Canada is committed to taking concrete action so that Canadians – and people around the world – can feel safe and secure in their communities.
Over 1,000 soldiers from seven NATO nations participated in a ceremony today at Camp Ādaži, Latvia, to mark the standup of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup in Latvia.
The battlegroup will operate in concert with the Latvian Land Forces Infantry Brigade. The eFP battlegroup is commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wade Rutland and is comprised of soldiers from Albania, Canada, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain.
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and Raimonds Vejonis the President of the Republic of Latvia, attended the ceremony Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, and General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of the Defence Staff represented Canada at the welcome ceremony of eFP battlegroup in Latvia on June 19, 2017.
With this event all NATO eFP battlegroups are now in place in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, as agreed upon by NATO Heads of State and Government at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016.
The establishment of the eFP battlegroup in Central and Eastern Europe is fully aligned with Canadian new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, which underscores the Canadian Government’s commitment to lead NATO efforts to deter and defeat potential adversaries to support global stability.
In light of continued international instability, NATO Allies decided at the July 2016 Warsaw Summit to further strengthen the Alliance posture in order to deter possible aggression against NATO members. The most visible element of this strengthened deterrence and defence posture is the establishment of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Central and Eastern Europe.
These multinational battlegroups demonstrate the enduring strength of the transatlantic bond and the commitment and cohesion of the Alliance. They are part of the Alliance’s response to the Russian government’s decision to use military force against its neighbours, and its military buildup in the region. The eFP battlegroups are defensive in nature, proportionate to the changed security environment, and are fully in line with NATO’s international commitments. They aim to prevent conflict and preserve regional stability.
NATO eFP battlegroups have also been established in Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, and are led respectively by the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States.
This deployment is part of Operation REASSURANCE, the Canadian Armed Forces’ support to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. The assets deployed under Operation REASSURANCE represent Canada’s largest sustained presence in Europe in more than a decade.
Since 2014, Canada has actively participated alongside our NATO Allies in measures to maintain security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe — through partnering, training, exercises, and other operational tasks.
The Canadian Armed Forces is contributing up to 450 troops to the battlegroup, including headquarters staff, an infantry company with Light Armoured Vehicles, military police, and logistical and communications support.
The majority of the Canadian soldiers currently deployed in Latvia are from 3rd Canadian Division, based in Edmonton, Alberta