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NANOOK: An operation in silence

This weekend marked the halfway point of Operation NANOOK, an annual sovereignty operation that takes place in Canada’s North. Since the operation’s launch on August 16th, how has the task force fared in their mission?

With the upcoming election, it’s hard to say. Although NANOOK is usually widely publicized, the impending political storm is forcing those involved to keep their lips more or less sealed.

“It is paramount that Public Service Employees and Canadian Armed Forces members do not act in a way that could influence or be perceived as influencing the outcome of the federal process,” military spokesperson Anna Muselius said.

Regardless, we are able to put together a few – albeit vague – pieces of the puzzle.

This year’s operation is based out of Inuvik, a town just North of the arctic circle. From there, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) will participate in exercises to demonstrate the interoperability in the Arctic.

Climate change means that the Arctic is becoming increasingly navigable and its resources more accessible. Because of recent security and environmental threats, the mission will address issues such as the exploitation of Northern natural resources and increased air and sea traffic.

As of August 21, the forces will be staying in Fort Smith, NT. From now until the mission’s end on August 31, Operation NANOOK will test Fort Smith’s emergency preparedness and host a community day.

“Operation NANOOK is an excellent opportunity for the town of Fort Smith to test its emergency measures response and for us to pass our expertise on to the Canadian Armed Forces,” Mayor B.G Brake said. “Fort Smith has always taken the lead and has always had the most comprehensive Emergency Procedures plan, and consistently measures that plan against the newest innovation and planning enhancements.”

As for the ultimate results of this year’s mission, it looks like the rest of Canada will have to play the waiting game.

Author: Alexandra Sweny

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