CBRN operators of the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU), who provides all the CBRN response for the Canadian Special Operation Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) and the Canadian Armed Forces participated in international Eager Lion exercise in Jordan. In fact, more than 12,500 personnel from 20 countries were training together.

The exercise goal was to reinforce military relations between the countries while demonstrating their engagement for the regional security and stability.

According to the Star and Stripes, Eager Lion includes field training, multiple live-fire exercises, reconnaissance training, and Harrier, Cobra and Osprey aircraft. Even though the exercise is taking place in multiple locations across Jordan, officials said no forces will be deployed near Syria’s border.

In the course of Eager Lion, CBRN operators from both Canada and Jordan trained together in different chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear scenarios.

Canadian, Jordanian SOF conduct CBRN training during Eager Lion 2014
CJIRU Operators alongside their Jordanian counterpart. Courtesy of Sgt. Melissa Parrish, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, US Army

While CANSOFCOM has been really quiet about the involvement of the CJIRU, Sgt. Melissa Parrish of the 22ND Mobile Public Affairs Detachment of the US Army openly wrote about them.

“This exercise is to showcase their tactical expert ability with the CBRN equipment they have been training on,” said Chris Nodal, the CBRN warrant officer in charge of technical proficiency. “We wanted them to be comfortable with the equipment and confident with their capabilities. They learned how to use Chemical detection equipment and sampling equipment and today they are taking the lead on this exercise.”

Canadian SOF teams have been working with the Jordanian military for over a year. The Canadian Special Operation Regiment have been participating in Jordan’s Annual Warrior Competition for the last 2 years, a clear sign of the good relationship between the Canadian and Jordanian military.

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Courtesy of Sgt. Melissa Parrish, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, US Army
CJIRU Operators alongside their Jordanian counterpart. Courtesy of Sgt. Melissa Parrish, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, US Army

The CJIRU engagement in Eager Lion was not a mentorship but a joint training where Jordanians had the lead, according to Capt. Chris Wood, CANSOFCOM commander on the ground for the CBRN exercise.

 “Jordan is a very capable nation,” said Wood. “It has been a great experience to work with the Jordanians in their country. They are motivated and put in the extra hours to accomplish the mission. They are ready for any mission put in front of them.”

CJIRU TASKS AND MANDATES

The CJIRU mission is pretty simple: To provide specialized, timely and agile Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defence (CBRN) response to the Government of Canada.

The events of September 11, 2001, led to the immediate CBRN response capability of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to be assigned to a new dedicated high readiness unit, the Joint Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defence Company (JNBCD). Since February 1, 2006, this unit has been a part of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). Its name was officially changed to the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CJIRU-CBRN) in September 2007. CJIRU has three key mandates:

  • Respond to CBRN events in conjunction with other elements of the National Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Response Team;
  • Provide an agile integral part of the CANSOFCOM Immediate Reaction Task Force (IRTF); and
  • Specialized support to CAF expeditionary operations.

CJIRU – CBRN is an integral component of CANSOFCOM, and provides a rapid response capability for SOF missions throughout the world.

CJIRU Operators during a training in Canada. Courtesy of DND.
CJIRU Operators during a training in Canada. Courtesy of DND.

Domestically, CJIRU – CBRN is a branch of the CBRNE Response Team in association with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), responsible for CBRN counter-terrorism operations. Additionally, they provide direct and indirect CBRN support to CANSOFCOM operations.

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Internationally, CJIRU-CBRN provides CBRN support to CAF elements in all theatres of operations.

In conclusion, while CANSOFCOM try to sweep all their actions under the rug, the Canadian population is getting increasingly interested in their actions. I do think it is important thing to keep it quiet when it comes to Special Operations, for OPSEC and PERSEC issues, but by giving out some informations, it keep the rumours at the lowest level possible. Canada’s SOF are top class and what they do should be told, at least in some parts, to the Canadian population.

(Featured Image courtesy of Sgt. Melissa Parrish, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, US Army)