Good afternoon, Madam Chair and members of the committee.
I am Major-General Jocelyn Paul, and I am the Director General of International Security Policy at the Department of National Defence.
This means I am responsible for managing our defence and international security relationships and providing advice on international defence relations.
I am here with Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau, Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command.
I am also joined by Sandra McCardell, director general of the Middle East bureau, and Mr. Giles Norman, the executive director of security and defence relations, both from Global Affairs.
It's a pleasure to be here today.
My intent is to provide you with a high-level overview of Operation Impact before turning to General Rouleau, who will provide you with more details on the dynamics in theatre.
Operation Impact is the military component of Canada's whole-of-government response to Daesh in Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
Through this strategy, Canada is investing up to $3.5 billion over five years to help set the conditions for security and stability and to reduce human suffering.
Under this strategy, the Canadian Armed Forces contributes to the Global Coalition against Daesh. We contribute to NATO mission Iraq, and we also provide bilateral training and assistance to both Jordan and Lebanon. While distinct, these activities all work towards the common objective of strengthening the capacity of regional security forces, so that they can contain the threat posed by Daesh.
Let me take a few minutes to walk through each of these activities.
The Coalition was established in 2014 and includes 82 member countries and organizations committed to tackling Daesh on all fronts.
In addition to military operations, it includes four civilian-led lines of effort. The first one is stabilizing liberated areas. Second is preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. Third is dismantling Daesh financing and economic infrastructure. Fourth is countering Daesh propaganda.
Countries may contribute to one or more of the coalition's lines of effort based on their expertise and capabilities. Canada is one of the few coalition members that contributes to all five lines of effort: military and civilian.
While NATO had been working with the lraqi security forces for some time, NATO Mission Iraq was established in 2018 to complement the Coalition's counter-Daesh operations.
NMI, the NATO mission in Iraq, is a non-combat training mission focused on strengthening the capacity of Iraq's Ministry of Defense, the office of the national security adviser and relevant national security institutions. More than 20 countries contribute to NMI. We are proud to have led that mission for its first two years.
Canada also deploys training and assistance teams to Jordan and Lebanon to strengthen their capacity to withstand Daesh and the spillover effects of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
This regional capacity building includes the delivery of training, infrastructure development and equipment. In all of these efforts, we respect the sovereignty of our partner nations. I would emphasize that we are in Iraq at the invitation of the government.
Since we first deployed to Iraq in 2014, the Coalition and the lraqi security forces have made tremendous progress in the fight against Daesh. But our mission is not over, and the Coalition and NATO are at an important juncture.
As the threat landscape in Iraq changes and the needs of our partners and forces evolve, both missions will have to adapt together. In February, NATO defence ministers agreed in principle to expand the NATO mission in Iraq so that it can take on some of the coalition training activities. We expect that these deliberations will be iterative and Iraqi-led.
I would like to close with a reminder that, while we are here to talk about Operation Impact, the military is only one piece of the puzzle. Through our whole-of-government initiatives, and in collaboration with allies and partners, we are working to set the conditions for long-term success so that our regional partners can tackle the maligned ideology that has created so much suffering in the region.
I trust that this context is helpful, and I thank you for your attention. I will now turn the floor to General Rouleau.