Intelligence Operators were key contributors to the Land Component Command element deployed to Operation NANOOK

Article / August 15, 2017 / Project number: 17-08-15-op-nanook

Master Corporal Molly Woodgate, 3 Intelligence Company Halifax

Corporal Gregory Arsenault and Corporal Iain MacSween provided the intelligence support for the land component of Operation NANOOK 2017 (Op NANOOK 17) in Labrador.  The annual operation is held in the Canadian North, where all three environments of the military come together to work on joint defensive and security scenarios. For the first time this year, Op NANOOK was held in two locations: Rankin Inlet, Nunavut and on the northern coast of Labrador from August 14 to 25. 

The two corporals are a part of 3 Intelligence Company Halifax (3 Int Coy), and on the operation they were researching various sources to brief their Commander on weather, terrain and enemy factors.

Captain Erik Harris was in charge of operations for the Land Command Component (LCC) and he worked closely with Cpl Arsenault and Cpl MacSween. He said they did a good job using information they received and relaying it in reports. “The entire scenario was driven by whatever information was coming down and they were probably responsible for 99 percent of the narrative of the scenario,” said Capt Harris.

During Op NANOOK 17, there was no official enemy, but the defensive scenarios created an enemy situation for the soldiers so they could practice tactical procedures to protect Canadian sovereignty. Cpl Arsenault and Cpl MacSween, in support of Joint Task Force Atlantic (JTFA), created the enemy situation by utilising information coming from the soldiers in the field and researching various sources about the environment. Cpl MacSween found the element of creating an accurate scenario the most difficult part of the operation.

“Becoming acquainted with not only populations, but towns, cultures and just making sure you have as big of a picture as possible to feed off of because it’s so different up here, and it requires a lot of time and effort to truly understand the place,” said Cpl MacSween.

As per doctrine and provision of enhanced situational awareness, these junior Non-Commissioned Members provided intelligence briefs to the Commander of the LCC, Lieutenant-Colonel Roch Couturier, each day in the morning and evening about the status of the soldiers, weather and terrain. Cpl Arsenault also briefed the Commander of 5th Canadian Division (5 Cdn Div), Brigadier-General Derek Macaulay, when he visited the operation.

“You’ve got to know what you’re saying, you’ve got to understand what’s going on the ground,” said Cpl Arsenault.

Additionally, Cpl Arsenault and Cpl MacSween were involved in the deployment of the 3 Int Coy truck-mounted intelligence processing shelter, marking the first time the shelter has been deployed by air in support of an operation. It also proved the deploy ability of shelter into an austere environment. This enabled advancement of the land domain awareness intelligence sense function, which incorporates full-motion video from aerial assets and first line analysis for onward transmission to decision makers.

For Cpl Arsenault and Cpl MacSween there were also many highlights from Operation NANOOK. For Cpl MacSween, participating in the community relations day at 5 Wing Goose Bay base gave him the opportunity to interact with the public. “Just being able to get out there and speak to people of the community, having them stop by the hangar and see what we do and giving them some information about the cool stuff we do in the military that we take for granted was great,” he said.

Cpl Arsenault enjoyed working with the different elements of the military and seeing how they all communicate with each other. “It’s the first time for me that I’ve been on an operation with Navy and Air Force personnel, so just meeting and chatting with them and finding out what they do and how they do it was very informative,” he said.

Both Cpl Arsenault and Cpl MacSween are from 3 Intelligence Company Halifax. This specialized unit is the main Army intelligence support for 5 Cdn Div and JTFA. 3 Int Coy is actively recruiting individuals looking for a challenge in a specialized career, to find out more information, please contact Sergeant Desilets at Lana.Desilets@forces.gc.ca, or 902-722-4220.

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