Force Protection in Fiji – Naval Security Team deploys

LS Sarah Trull, LS Jason Rupke, and LS Dan Bussel, members of the Naval Security team,  supervise the loading of their equipment into a C17 Globemaster.The plane transported the equipment and members to Fiji for their Force Protection role in Operation Projection. Photo by Lt(N) Melissa Kia

LS Sarah Trull, LS Jason Rupke, and LS Dan Bussel, members of the Naval Security team, supervise the loading of their equipment into a C17 Globemaster.The plane transported the equipment and members to Fiji for their Force Protection role in Operation Projection. Photo by Lt(N) Melissa Kia

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Canada’s Naval Security Team (NST) have commenced a five-week deployment to provide force protection for HMCS Vancouver on its upcoming port visit to Fiji.

Approximately 54 members of the NST will fly to the South Pacific’s scenic archipelago from Victoria International Airport aboard a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) air bus this week. Their deployment is part of Operation Projection, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operation to conduct training, exercises and engagements with foreign navies and other international security partners.

The NST provides naval reservists opportunities for real-world, expeditionary operations around the world. Their primary activities will be supporting the security needs of Vancouver and its crew, at sea and on land, by providing protection from threats with the Republic of Fiji Navy at controlled access points, said Lieutenant (Navy) Kay van Akker, NST Executive Officer.

“The mandate of the NST is mission dependent based on identified security needs of Canadian warships going into foreign ports,” said Lt(N) van Akker. “We work across multiple units and branches of the Canadian Armed Forces to achieve this goal.”

Prior to their deployment, the NST completed five weeks of training in Victoria. The group is comprised of six full-time reservists based in Esquimalt, with the remainding 65 made up of Class ‘A’ Naval Reservists representing 18 Naval Reserve Divisions across Canada.

The CAF already has boots on the ground in Fiji, with a CAF advance party of 15 navy logisticians and army engineers who set up accommodations for the NST, including construction of a large tent city to house Canadian personnel in the capital city Suva.

Last Thursday, an additional seven members of the NST departed for Fiji from Patricia Bay aboard a C17 Globemaster. The giant military transport plane was also loaded up with the team’s equipment, including its tactical operations centre and two Defender Class Protection vessels.

Along with providing force protection, the NST will participate in a bilateral military exercise with Vancouver and members of the Republic of Fiji Navy as part of the CAF’s Building Partner Capacity initiative.

Lt(N) van Akker says the deployment will also involve discussions and collaboration with Fiji’s navy on techniques and tactics for naval and deployed force protection.

Lt(N) van Akker and other members of the team are also serving as consultants and mentors to the Republic of Fiji Navy regarding gender integration; especially relevant now as the first 12 women were enrolled into their navy in February.  Lt(N) van Akker was part of a 12-member team, eight male and four female, that made an initial trip to Fiji in August 2017 to conduct force generation training with the Republic of Fiji Navy. At that time she conducted workshops geared to open discussions about gender in operational military forces that included advice and discussions about Canada’s female integration into its military.

“We have also entered into conversations with them about their integration process [for women] along with any concerns and uncertainties. I will be looking forward to see how the integration has been progressing.”

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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