What is the Naval Security Team (NST)?

LINK - April 2017 / May 31, 2017

By Chantal Crépeau, NAVRES HQ, in collaboration with LCdr Chura, OIC NST

The Naval Security Team (NST) is a modular, scalable, flexible, and deployable naval team providing enhanced force protection (FP) for the safety and security of deployed Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships and personnel at home or overseas. When the responsibility of force protection is placed on the ship's company, it can be challenging to maintain over time and reduces the availability of personnel to support other tasks, such as ship maintenance. The NST seeks to address this issue by providing an extra layer of enhanced land and sea-based FP capability and expertise to support deployed RCN assets and operational requirements for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) missions.

The NST will deploy in support of Government of Canada missions, where it will be responsible for force protection and liaising with host nations while also providing support and intelligence required in foreign ports, over short, medium, and long term deployments. It is capable of operating at home and abroad throughout the year.

The inaugural team is to be deployed in the spring and summer of 2017.


The NST is located at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt and reports directly to the Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific. The unit consists of a standing core of six personnel that maintains continuity, provides subject matter expertise, conducts planning and scheduling, trains personnel, and addresses emergent needs. Additional personnel will be activated from the Primary Reserve Class A community to augment the core team during missions. The number of these additional personnel will vary based on the requirements of specific missions, but will typically range between thirty and seventy people. Selected personnel will train for and deploy on individual missions, and then will be stood-down when the mission has been completed. When fully constituted, the NST comprises a command and control element, a tactical boat section, a land-based force protection section, a port inspection diver section, and a naval service support team.


The NST strive to anticipate and dissuade threats, integrate its operations in consultation with port authorities, and support the CAF as required.

The team is trained to provide an adaptable response to maritime threats including terrorist or criminal activity, sabotage or espionage, underwater explosives, hostile watercraft, and bombs. Other considerations and concerns include accidents, civil disorders, as well as the posture and attitude of local community. The NST is self-sustaining and able to operate in established or rudimentary sea ports.

Capability and Equipment

In order to respond to a wide variety of missions around the globe, the NST must be capable of fulfilling multiple responsibilities, including maritime surveillance and information collection, increasing the awareness of CAF presence and building trust among local mariners, harbour and unit protection, naval diplomacy, public service and assistance to law enforcement agencies when requested, as well as search and rescue.

The NST is trained to conduct local FP operations to address asymmetrical threats in and around sea ports where RCN ships may be located. They work in partnership with other government departments and agencies to enable a coordinated response to any threat at home or overseas.

When deployed, the team carry small arms, ammunition, pyrotechnics, as well as communications and personnel protection equipment.

Training and Selection

The NST is mainly composed of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Primary Reserve Force members and is supported by Regular Force members when required.

Training is conducted by the NST command team based out of CFB Esquimalt, and include national and regional Naval Reserve Exercise & Training events, NST specific events, Global Engagement opportunities, CAF and international exercises, and operations. Team members are trained to meet specific mission requirements, such as use of force, rules of engagement training, advanced weapons training, small boat tactics, communications, deployed logistics, and liaison skills.

Naval Reservists who have completed Basic Military Qualification, as well as their occupational training, can apply for the NST. Any new training requirements will be determined based on the identification of new skillsets needed for NST personnel, and new courses will be developed to address any gaps in occupation training. As well as maintaining their annual regenerative training requirements, qualified personnel selected for individual missions will then participate in a month-long NST Collective Training and validation serial immediately prior to deployment.

When fully constituted, the NST is comprised of a Command and Control Element, a Tactical Boat section, a land-based Security section, a Port Inspection diver section, a Naval Service support Team, and, a power generation and maintenance/repair team.

And a fully constituted deployed team will be comprised of 129 peoples: the core team (6), a handful of regular force trades that the reserve doesn't hold such as traffic technician, military police (MP), electrical technician (ET), Hull tech and Weapons Engineering Technician (WENG), and the remainder of the positions will be filled by class A reservists across all trades and ranks.

Interested in taking up the challenge?