A new secret commando unit will begin operating out of CFB Petawawa
in Ontario by year's end and see its ranks swell to 750 strong, according to
the force's new commander.
Col. David Barr said the first soldiers vying for a coveted spot on the special
regiment will first have to complete a gruelling 16-week elite training session
beginning in April in Petawawa.
Barr said he expects about 260 soldiers of that first group will meet the "high
standard" set during the course and will then participate in some fall
training before being deemed ready to conduct operations abroad.
"It will better enable us to counter, fight and defeat the terrorist threat
at home and abroad," Barr told reporters yesterday after being sworn in
as the first commander of the Canadian special operations forces command.
He said the first pool of soldiers will mostly be plucked from existing units
located at CFB Petawawa.
The regiment is being created to complement the secretive Joint Task Force,
whose commandos are now hunting down Taliban and al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan.
"It allows us to have JTF 2 do the real precision work, but be supported
by special operators that they work with, they train with, that they have confidence
in," Barr explained.
The regiment will also be deploying clusters of its members to conduct secret
missions abroad without JTF 2 members.
JTF 2 is itself in the midst of a massive recruiting effort as the military
moves to double the unit's numbers in an effort to increase its phalanx of assaulters
and support staff.
All soldiers working under the Canadian special operations forces command,
including JTF 2, the special operations regiment, the 467 helicopter squadron
in Petawawa and the joint nuclear biological, chemical squadron in Trenton,
Ont., will wear tan berets.
Barr said the creation of a special operations regiment has the Canadian
Forces following in the footsteps of other militaries that discovered in recent
years a need for a multi-tasking specialized unit that can provide muscle in
missions abroad, support special forces soldiers and deploy in small units of
about 12 soldiers to tackle tough jobs abroad.