This is a 4-part article about the Canadian Special Operations Command (CANSOFCOM).
First one is all about the Canadian Special Operations Regiment. While this is only an introduction of CSOR, I will closely monitor the news about them and write more as the information becomes available to the general public as most of their actions are still classified due to the constant GWOT threats.
Personally, I hate the GWOT term but I am writing it so most of the people understand what I am saying.
In 2005, Canada’s new defense policy included a concept consisting of a Special Forces Command named CANSOFCOM. Although Canada’s JTF2 were already operating since the mid-1990s, CANSOFCOM was an answer to provide an international response to the GWOT.
With its history going back to the First Special Service Forces (FSSF), commonly known as the Devil’s Brigade, the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) has been at the tip of the Canadian Spear in today’s GWOT.
CSOR’s flag proudly shows the FSSF battle honours and their Special Forces Operators carries their spirit within.
The CSOR’s concept of operation is very similar to the US Army’s 75h Ranger Regiment and the British Special Forces Support Group who both support high-level special forces unit. CSOR’s role is not limited to a supporting role.
“In the main, the Canadian Special Operations Regiment enables special operations and, specifically, JTF2; thus, JTF2 can focus on the precise tasks for which they are so well selected and trained. However, particularly in out-of-area operations, we see that the Canadian Special Operations Regiment would be the more appropriate organization to put to the task.” (Colonel Barr, commander CANSOFCOM, in Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, 27 November 2006.)
CSOR is capable of operating independently with limited logistical support. While Direct Action (DA) is their bread and butter, they are also called upon to train other country’s Special Forces, support other CANSOFCOM elements and provide some special reconnaissance. They are actively training Mali, Jamaican and Afghan SOF since 2006.
Back in 2011, they were sent to Mali to train their military against Al Qaeda militants. Although they were not directly involved in direct combat, they provided training in communications, planning and first aid which would prove very useful on the battlefield. A small team was also sent to northern Mali to train the country’s Special Forces. Another team was in Bamako at the same time providing CT skill training along with officer’s training.
“This is exactly the place we should be in terms of trying to develop a counter-terrorism capacity in the Sahel and in North Africa,” said Brigadier General Denis Thompson, head of the Ottawa-based Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. “This is a natural fit for us.”
While Mali is an example of CSOR’s capabilities, their main battleground has been Kandahar, Afghanistan since 2006. Although it is very hard to come across examples of CSOR’s action, there is one that made it in the Ottawa Citizen.
In May 2011, The Kandahar Provincial Response Company (K-PRC), comprised primarily of Afghan National Policemen who were trained and mentored by members of CANSOFCOM, responded to a shooting at an Afghani Police checkpoint just outside the K-PRC compound.
CSOR’s mentor moved to the city center to conduct a reconnaissance of the building the American Force Commander ordered to clear. In the next 24 hours, the K-PRC would be facing one of their greatest challenges in a mazes of shops and alleyways that would bring both the Afghanis and their mentors to reach their limits. I am giving you the link to the article in the Ottawa Citizen so you can fully appreciate all the awards that were given to these soldiers.
CANSOFCOM’s units tends to be very secretive about their operations and training. It is, in my opinion, the same for CSOR and the US Army 75th Ranger Regiment who aren’t frequently in front of the camera. But recently, they came out with an informative video about their capabilities. It is a start I guess …