While the Canadian Winter seems endless this year, 350 soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG) are now in Norway for an international military exercise called Exercise COLD RESPONSE. More cold for the Canadians I guess, eh?

Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, Commander of the Canadian Army said:

“During Exercise COLD RESPONSE 14, Canadian Army soldiers respond to various challenges with speed, precision, and flexibility. Training is the centre of gravity for Army readiness and it is constantly being tested, adapted and refined to reflect our evolving operating environments. I commend the soldiers taking part in this physically and mentally demanding exercise for their continued dedication in ensuring we fully achieve our goals, both today and tomorrow.”

For 13 days, more than 16,000 soldiers from 16 different nations will face Norway’s cold-weather environment. The exercise will be held in the Harstad region, approximately 1,400 kilometers north of Norway’s Capital, Oslo.

In addition to Norway, 15 nations are taking part in the exercise: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, France, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and USA.

It is also a huge challenge for the 26,000 strong Norwegian military as it will be their largest live-fire exercise.

Cold Response was first held in 2006. This year’s exercise will mark the sixth edition and will be the largest of them all.

The Canadians will be leading one of the Multinational Battalion Groups consisting of Canadian and Norwegian Infantry troops. Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Jourdain, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion Royal 22e Regiment will be the commanding officer of the Battalion Group.

“This high-calibre exercise allows us to train with our allies in a winter warfare setting. Exercise RAFALE BLANCHE, held in Beauce, Quebec, in February 2014, served as preparation for 3rd Battalion Royal 22e Régiment. All members of the Battalion are ready and anxious to take up the challenges,” said Lt. Col. Jourdain

Sponsored by NATO, EX CR14 is a multi-national, joint exercise featuring land, air and sea elements. It provides an arena for participating forces to enhance war-fighting skills and to exercise all aspects of operations at the tactical level.

“As the host nation, we are proud to welcome so many proficient and skilled people. Together we can enhance and reinforce each other’s capabilities, thus ensuring that we have the best possible preparation for when things get serious,” said Morten Haga Lunde, Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters.

Multinational Exercise such as Cold Response are vital to NATO countries as it provides valuable training while learning to work with other countries. The Canadians, while being one of the few Arctic countries, will learn valuable lessons and relations between them and Norway will become stronger as they continue to work together.