Canada hosts NATO National Reserve Forces Committee

Brigadier-General Jaromir Alan (Czechoslovakia), the NATO National Reserve Forces Committee Chairman receives the traditional white Smithbilt hat from Dode Stiles of Calgary Tourism during the White-Hat Ceremony, which was conducted during a meet-and-greet at the Military Museums on July 10 in Calgary, Alberta. Photo: Cpl I. Thompson.
Brigadier-General Jaromir Alan (Czechoslovakia), the NATO National Reserve Forces Committee Chairman receives the traditional white Smithbilt hat from Dode Stiles of Calgary Tourism during the White-Hat Ceremony, which was conducted during a meet-and-greet at the Military Museums on July 10 in Calgary, Alberta. Photo: Cpl I. Thompson.

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NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s security, and is one of our most important relationships outside of North America. In support of the Government of Canada’s steadfast commitment to the Alliance and its important role in international security and defence, Canada hosted the NATO National Reserve Forces Committee’s (NFRC) Summer Congress Meeting in Calgary, Alberta from July 10 to 14.

The NFRC provides NATO with policy guidance concerning the potential contribution of Reserve Forces to NATO’s defence interests including the training, readiness and use of Reserve Forces to accomplish NATO missions.

“Reserve members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that enrich and strengthen our militaries, and help the Alliance, and its member states, achieve success on domestic and international operations,” said Major-General Paul Bury, Canadian Head of Delegation and Chief of Reserves and Employer Support. “The National Reserve Forces Committee is a great example of NATO Allies and partners working together with a specific focus on the key importance of Reserve Forces. The Canadian Armed Forces is proud to host our NATO Allies and partners in Canada this year. Working alongside our NATO Allies and partners we will build a stronger Reserve Force to meet current and future security and defence challenges.”

More than 47 delegates from 19 Allied and partner nations participated in the four-day conference, where delegates discussed a variety of topics such as reserve force policy implementation, training, challenges facing reservists, and employer engagement for reservists who wish to deploy on international and domestic operations.

Hosting the NFRC Summer Congress meeting provided Canada with the opportunity to remain at the fore of Alliance activities, including those related to the contribution of Reserve Forces to military operations; a key priority highlighted in Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, which outlines a new vision for Canada’s Reserve Force.

Quick Facts
  • The NFRC is an inter-allied joint committee that reports to the NATO Military Committee and is composed of senior officials responsible for Reserve Forces of each member states.
  • All NATO Allies having a reserve component in their armed forces are members of this committee, including some NATO partner nations.
  • The overarching NRFC objectives are to provide policy advice to the Military Committee; strengthen the preparedness of Allies’ Reserve Forces; and ensure awareness of Reserve Forces by external organizations.
  • This was the first time that Canada has hosted an NFRC Summer Congress meeting since its inception in 1981.
  • The current Chairmanship of NRFC is held by the Czech Republic. With the increased reliance by member nations themselves there has been a significant increase in Reserve Force support to NATO operations.
  • Strong, Secure, Engaged commits to significant additional investments in defence – consistent with the NATO trend of reversing declining expenditures in order to meet the commitments agreed to in the Defence Investment Pledge in Wales.
  • Canada’s Reserve Force forms an integral part of the Canadian Armed Forces working alongside the Regular Force on both national and international operations, making substantial contributions to the safety and security of Canada and its citizens.
  • Through Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada will:
    • Increase the size of the Reserve Force by 1,500 to 30,000, to ensure it can meet its full operational potential;
    • Align Primary Reserve compensation and benefits with Regular Force members where duties are similar;
    • Assign the Reserve Force new roles that provide full-time capability to the Canadian Armed Forces through part-time service, such as light urban search and rescue, intelligence operators, and cyber operators;
    • Employ the Reserve Force to deliver select deployed missions in a primary role such as Canadian Armed Forces capacity building;
    • Ensure Reservists are appropriately trained, prepared and equipped in sufficient numbers to be ready to contribute to operations at home and abroad;
    • Offer full-time summer employment to Reservists in their first four years with the Reserves commencing in 2018; and
    • Attract and retain top quality candidates, while reducing the length of the recruitment process for Reservists to a matter of weeks.
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