Redistribution of RCN Assets

A Command Perspective / August 20, 2013

The comment below is in reaction to a series of news reports and commentaries by Defence stakeholders in August 2013 who recommended that the RCN should transfer warships from Halifax to Esquimalt Harbour.

“The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) recognizes the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region for Canada and is committed to building and enhancing relations with key defence and security allies in this part of the world.  In fact, the size and capabilities of the RCN’s Pacific fleet have been increased considerably since the 1990s in response to the changes occurring in the Pacific region.

The RCN takes an active role in building strong and lasting relationships with coalition partners by participating in multinational exercises, operations and good-will deployments in the Pacific region, such as the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise and WESTPLOY. These activities improve our ability to work together in response to various operational scenarios – from the provision of humanitarian aid and disaster relief to full-combat operations.

There are no plans to redistribute RCN ships from the Atlantic fleet to the Pacific fleet as the current distribution meets our strategic and operational requirements. As seen in recent deployments overseas, our ability to deploy our ships abroad when and where needed on behalf of the Government of Canada is not restricted by where our ships are based.

In the last decade, the Canadian Government has repeatedly deployed the Canadian Armed Forces to the Middle East and to the Caribbean and these regions will remain the most likely areas of operations for the CAF for years to come. We can deploy RCN assets from either coast to any maritime area of operations in the world.  In fact, Halifax and Esquimalt-based ships have deployed routinely over this period to these areas of interest on a regular basis. We expect to employ the same flexibility should the demands of engagement in the Pacific increase in the future.

Any future decision regarding the regional placement or redistribution of RCN ships will be based on strategic and operational considerations as well as the availability of logistical and maintenance support.”

Vice Admiral Mark Norman
Commander Royal Canadian Navy