In addition, Caribbe fosters interagency cooperation on
both sides of the border for the RCN and Canadian government. Relationships have formed with the Department
of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Agency and
U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Canadian counterparts of those organizations also are involved in Caribbe
and have created similar relationships.
Caribbe also has played a key role in the Canadian
defense policy’s stated aim of contributing to the protection of North America.
“Caribbe is like our NORAD,” said Newton, refer-
ring to the joint U.S.-Canada organization, the North
American Aerospace Defense Command. “It’s the
defense of North America, the security of Canada and
the greater continent.”
The relationships being built by Caribbe, however,
go beyond the U.S.-Canada nexus. The RCN has devel-
oped links with counterparts in Colombia, Jamaica,
Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Chile and Brazil.
“It creates a hemispheric regional desire to cooperate, interoperate and move forward as a major defense
and security initiative,” Newton said.
Caribbe also provides valuable training for the RCN,
particularly in the winter months when being at sea on
the coasts of Canada can be difficult. During the operation, the RCN also takes advantage of getting
involved in the U.S. Navy’s carrier battle group work-ups that take place off Florida, Newton said.
Canada has not set an end date for Caribbe and
plans on contributing from year to year.
Newton said Operation Artemis is similar in many
ways to Caribbe, but is taking place in the Arabian Sea,
10,000 miles away from Canada. The drug seizures being
conducted under that operation are related to the international counterterrorism mission because the proceeds
of such illicit cargo are believed to finance al-Qaida and
other terror groups. Piracy is another target for Artemis.
The overall naval effort in the region comes under
Combined Maritime Forces with its headquarters in
Bahrain. Combined Maritime Forces is commanded by
U.S. Navy VADM John W. Miller, who also is the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
(NAVCENT) and the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
The frigate HMCS Regina joined Operation Artemis
on Feb. 15, replacing HMCS Toronto, which had been
operating in the region since February 2013. During its
time, Toronto’s crew intercepted and destroyed a number
of narcotics shipments totaling more than 8. 5 metric
tonnes (roughly 9. 4 tons).
Newton said one of the key aspects of Artemis in the
international engagement arena is that it brings
Canada recognition among its maritime allies.
“First and foremost, we get the recognition as a highly
capable maritime force able to deploy on relatively short
notice over long distances and sustain itself,” he said.
“You really get this trusted partnership that the
Canadians will hold up their end no matter how trying.”
Artemis also has allowed Canada to develop or further move its relationships with nations in the region
such as Bahrain, Oman, Djibouti, Kuwait, Seychelles,
Tanzania and the United Arab Emirates.
The other aspect of the operation is that it puts the
country’s naval and overall military sustainment capabilities to the test.
“Every time you go on operations, you are pushing
your system to be as effective and combat-capable as
possible,” Newton said. “You can never get that kind of
activity out of simulation and just doing it amongst
yourselves at home.”
Last summer, the RCN conducted a crew swap for
HMCS Toronto while it was assigned to Artemis in the
Arabian Sea. Beare noted he was impressed by how
smoothly that process went over such a considerable
distance, with the crews being flown to and from
“That was enabled by our relationships with U.S.
Central Command and NAVCENT and the host nation
Kuwait, and our own operational strategic sustainment
machine,” he said.
Artemis will come to a close in spring 2015 and questions have been raised about whether Canada will continue projecting a maritime presence into the region.
Beare said the Canadian government has not given
specific instructions yet in that regard, but he noted Canada has had similar naval task forces operating in the area
since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
“If the world remains as volatile and unpredictable
then as it is now, the merits of continuing to provide for
the maritime security in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea,
and around the Horn of Africa, from a multinational perspective will probably still be there,” Beare said. ■
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / MARCH 2014
Members of the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS
Toronto’s naval boarding party board a suspected drug smuggling
vessel while a CH-124 Sea King helicopter provides security
during Operation Artemis Jan. 17 in the Arabian Sea.