Canadian Armed Forces will support local governments says General J.H. Vance

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General JH Vance
Photo Wikipedia:General JH Vance

On March 27, a letter to the Canadian Armed Forces CAF) from the Chief of the Defence Staff regarding COVID-19 was released on social media. The letter General J.H. Vance encourage his troops to “Stay Fit to Fight”.

Vance explained that in this time of COVID-19 quarantine, CAF has scaled back virtually all activities in the CAF to help prevent the spread within the CAF and within our communities in Canada.

“Our method is to keep as many people isolated at home or in quarters as possible,” he stated.

The letter goes on to explain Operation Laser, with the main goal of the operation to be one geared to the support of Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal governments and agencies in their efforts to suppress the disease, to support vulnerable populations and to provide logistical and general support to communities.

“To do this we are now in the process of identifying the forces required, including our incredibly valuable Primary Reserves and Canadian Rangers,” stated Vance.  “These forces will be organized down to individual level into task forces able to deploy by sea, road or air to where they are needed.  More will come through the chain of command as we complete the work to identify and set the force.  The concept of employment of the force is being developed and will include Regular, Primary Reserve and Canadian Ranger.”

Vance explains Operation Laser and CAF protocols:

Operations

We will maintain our ongoing domestic and global operational commitments, although specific mission postures will be reviewed.  We will conduct expeditionary operations as safely as we can, but preventing spread and force protection is our main effort.  We will identify and make ready for action COVID-19 response forces in Canada under Op LASER and domestic response forces under Op LENTUS.  We will continue critical intelligence functions, including medical intelligence.  We will maintain our classified and unclassified networks.  And we will continue to take care of those of you who live in quarters on our bases, wings and schools, including food service and administrative support.  Our CAF medical system will continue to provide health services.  Strategic airlift operations to sustain and rotate deployed forces will continue.  Strategic and operational planning for future operations and personnel administration is well advanced.

Deployed operations will continue but will scale back to maintain force health and force protection.  Many of you will remain at home because of a delay in your rotation, and some of you will return from deployment early.  Re-setting operational rotations will be planned and communicated later when the situation in each of our deployed AORs stabilizes. All those who return will be subject to a 14-day quarantine, and then available for operational duties under Op LASER or Op LENTUS if required.  Details of where and how you will be quarantined will be given to you.  If you have recently returned and are at home, you are under full quarantine at home for 14 days and are not permitted to leave your residence.

Op LASER is the CAF operation responding to COVID-19 within Canada.  Our tasks will be geared to support Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal governments and agencies in their efforts to suppress the disease, to support vulnerable populations and to provide logistical and general support to communities.  To do this we are now in the process of identifying the forces required, including our incredibly valuable Primary Reserves and Canadian Rangers.  These forces will be organized down to individual level into task forces able to deploy by sea, road or air to where they are needed.  More will come through the chain of command as we complete the work to identify and set the force.  The concept of employment of the force is being developed and will include Regular, Primary Reserve and Canadian Ranger.  More on this next week.

Op LENTUS is the CAF operation to respond to domestic emergencies, like floods and forest fires, where civil agencies need CAF support.  Similar to the process for Op LASER, the forces are being identified and will be warned off and re-grouped in the days to come.  We are anticipating that Op LASER and Op LENTUS could run concurrently.

Many of you volunteer in your communities, and that is a very good thing.  Should you be placed on standby for CAF operations, volunteer work must be restricted to first responder duties only, such as ground search and rescue and volunteer fire-fighting.  You must be available for CAF operations and volunteer organizations must aware that your services may be required elsewhere at short notice.

There will be many differences in operational, training and administrative posture across Canada.  This is to be expected given the variance in demand across our Force.

Bottom line for operations – stand by and be ready.  Battle procedure will be quick and we will have to do much of the preparation in this dispersed posture we are in.  When it’s time, we will marshal forces, conduct reconnaissance and deploy as, where and when required.

The entire CAF Letter

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