Military’s annual sovereignty operation underway in the NWT

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An annual military operation that focuses on Arctic sovereignty got underway in the Northwest Territories Tuesday.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and handful of Northern partners will spend the next two weeks conducting Operation Nunakput across four NWT communities.

Click: Photos from Operation Nunakput 2015

Typically, the exercise is conducted along the Mackenzie River but this year’s operation will focus on the South Mackenzie River and Great Slave Lake regions.

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Operation Nunakput consists of a series of marine patrols and search and rescue exercises. Training will take place in Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Simpson and Lutselk’e until July 20.

The purpose of the operation is to assert sovereignty on behalf of the federal government and enhance interoperability between participating agencies.

“It improves our cooperation and collaboration with whole-of-government operations and allows us to maintain interoperability with our Northern partners,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Terence Cross with Joint Task Force North.

“It also allows us to focus on some specific areas that our partners are more responsible for.”

Approximately 100 people are expected to take part in this year’s event, including members of the Canadian Rangers, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the RCMP and the Canadian Coast Guard.

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There will also be representatives from a handful of government departments.

“These are all organizations that we work with regularly but we don’t actually know how it is they do their specific work,” said Cross.

“This helps us get to know our partners a little better and shows the communities that we are out here to help them in the North.”

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