Canada will assume command of a new NATO training and capacity building mission in Iraq for its first year, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced, on July 11, during the “Our Shared Global Values” engagement event just before the NATO Summit.
Canada’s leadership of this new NATO training mission will complement the country’s existing efforts in the Global Coalition Against Daesh, transitioning its support for Iraq to meet present needs and solidify gains.
Under Operation IMPACT, the Canadian Armed Forces is already providing training and assistance to the Iraqi security forces and helping regional forces build their capacity. Canada is also currently contributing mobile training teams to NATO’s counter-improvised explosive device capacity building efforts for Iraq.
Iraq faces significant challenges in rebuilding the capacity of its security forces. Canada’s contribution will help build security capacity and improve democratic governance. As part of this mission, up to 250 Canadian Armed Forces members will join partner countries in helping Iraq build a more effective national security structure and improve training for Iraqi security forces.
Canada’s leadership role will start in Fall 2018 and run to Fall 2019. Troops will be deployed to Baghdad and the vicinity. Canada’s contribution will also include the deployment of up to four Griffon helicopters to support NATO activities.
“Since NATO’s creation in 1949, Canada has played a strong and active role in missions to advance peace and security for our citizens and people around the world. We are proud to take a leadership role in Iraq, and work with our Allies and the Government of Iraq, to help this region of the Middle East transition to long-lasting peace and stability”, said Trudeau.
Last year, the Government of Canada unveiled Strong, Secure, Engaged – a comprehensive, ambitious, once-in-a-generation defence policy which includes historic new funding for Canada’s military. The new defence policy represents an increase of more than 70% of Canada’s defence budget between 2016 and 2026, and will give Canada’s armed forces the capability to be even more active beyond its borders, and expand its active leadership in NATO.
Canada, along with 11 other countries, founded NATO in 1949 on the fundamental values of democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law.
For more than six decades, NATO has proven itself as a major contributor to international peace, security, and stability.