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Canada commands NATO naval group

HMCS Halifax departed its namesake home port of Halifax, Nova Scotia on 1 January 2021, and replaced HMCS Toronto, which deployed with SNMG1 from July to December 2020. Halifax is now the flagship for the SNMG1 command team and headquarters staff throughout the remainder of its deployment.

On 18 January 2021, Commodore Bradley Peats of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) officially assumed command of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) from Commodore José António Mirones of the Portuguese Navy during a change of command ceremony held in Lisbon, Portugal today.

Change of Command Cmdre Peats Cmdre Mirones
18 Jan 2021 – Commodore Bradley Peats (left) of the Royal Canadian Navy, and Commodore José António Mirones of the Portuguese Navy, exchange a Covid-friendly elbow bump during a Change of Command ceremony held aboard HMCS Halifax in Lisbon, Portugal. (CAF Photo: Sailor First Class Bryan Underwood)

"In an uncertain global environment, we are proud to contribute to NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Western and Northern European waters, including the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Norwegian Sea, and their maritime approaches,” said Commodore Bradley Peats in a press release.

SNMG1 is one of four NATO Standing Naval Forces (SNF) that provide the Alliance with a continuous naval capability and presence which forms the core of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (Maritime). NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s international security policy and is one of Canada's most important multilateral relationships. Canada’s membership in the Alliance enables meaningful cooperation with Allies and partners to strengthen transatlantic defence and security, preserve the rules-based international order, and lead or otherwise contribute to international peace, security and stability efforts abroad. 

Canada is committed to NATO’s principle of collective defence, which is at the heart of the Alliance’s founding treaty. The CAF is proud to lead or otherwise make substantive and enduring contributions to the cooperative defence activities of NATO in the air, on land, and at sea. Since 2014, the Canadian Armed Forces have deployed Royal Canadian Navy frigates on a persistent rotational basis to be employed for exercises and operational tasks in the NATO Maritime Command's areas of responsibility.

Standing NATO Maritime Group One is a multinational deterrent force that carries out a robust programme of operational deployments as well as complex training exercises and events with national navies to build and maintain the highest levels of readiness, interoperability and war fighting capabilities.

HMCS Halifax executes a pass exercise while training with FGS Spessart, HNLMS De Provincien, HNLMS Karel Doorman, HNLMS Van Spejik and BNS Godetia off the coast of the Netherlands in the North Sea during Operation Reassurance on 1 February 2021. (Canadian Armed Forces photo: Sailor First Class Bryan Underwood)

NATO Standing Naval Forces presence and activities promote and preserve unfettered access to the global ocean commons and help maintain freedom of the seas and freedom of navigation throughout all international waters which is central to the Alliance’s security and economic prosperity. Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Halifax is currently deployed with Standing NATO Maritime Group One as part of Operation Reassurance, Canada’s contribution to NATO regional assurance and deterrence measures.

Canada last commanded a Standing NATO Maritime Group from June to December 2019, when Commodore Josée Kurtz commanded SNMG2.