April 2, 2014. David Pugliese - Defence Watch
By Major Sebastien Niles, Joint Counter Explosive Threat Task Force and Samantha Bayard, Army Public Affairs
Halifax, Nova Scotia — Skilled members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) detect, disable and exploit explosives devices on international deployments and, if called upon by civilian authorities, at home, which keeps their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, as well as nearby civilians, safe.
This expertise was essential during deployment in Afghanistan and skilled specialists will be in demand for future conflicts as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) become more prevalent.
On a yearly basis, Exercise Ardent Defender trains CAF operators to be prepared for the emerging threats seen abroad and in our own country.
This year, Exercise Ardent Defender 2014 (Ex AD 14), now underway, is training Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operators in Halifax. The Royal Canadian Navy will host the joint exercise with participants from the Canadian Army the Royal Canadian Air Force and members of Canadian Law Enforcement and representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden.
Ex AD 14’s focus will be the explosive threat to maritime transportation including ships, ports and cargo.
The maritime threat is very real, both at home and abroad. Threat networks are moving IED materials by sea with other illegal materials and can be expected to use IEDs to protect their interests at docks, or may disrupt commerce by attacking docks and sea lanes.
Abroad, the military may also be exposed to the explosive threat during boarding operations or alongside in a foreign port.
Last year’s Exercise Ardent Defender was the first of its kind, held in late May at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. Over two weeks, Ex AD 13 provided highly experienced and qualified two-person teams from all 12 CAF EOD/IEDD units—a total of 24 operators—an opportunity to develop their own skills, broaden their understanding of the complex, evolving global threat, and collaborate with members across the three military environments.
Operators watched demonstrations of tactics, techniques, and procedures required to use new equipment such as the Large Vehicle Borne IED disruptor. They participated in challenging tactical scenarios based on a South American insurgent threat.
Ex AD 13 offered a non-threatening training climate where the emphasis during tactical scenarios was on cultivating learning by encouraging the operators to try innovative solutions.
Future Ardent Defender exercises will also grow in size as international military teams from the United States, other allies and partner nations, Global Engagement Strategy partner nations, and Law Enforcement Agency teams are invited.