In support of the Canada First Defence Strategy’s roles of Defending Canada, Defending North America, and Contributing to International Peace and Security, the Canadian Forces (CF) initiated in 2009 to stand-up a robust, joint deployable command and control capability for land-based CF operations.
Supporting values domestically and internationally alongside our allies, Canada, as a global leader, needs to be at the “cutting edge” of joint doctrine and concepts, to be interoperable with allies, and able to leverage space capabilities and the synergy of its joint staff and forces.
Lessons learned throughout the missions in Newfoundland and Labrador, Haiti, Afghanistan, and during other national and international missions, have highlighted Canada’s increasing need to be prepared to provide command and control to joint forces during domestic and complex international missions. The re-establishment of this division provides the CF with the capacity to readily deploy, command, and control multinational joint task forces anywhere in the world, beginning in 2011.
As part of the design and planning process, the Canadian Forces examined existing structures and organizations, made recommendations to align and deliver on our obligations, and to use the best resources to do what the government expects us to do.
The 1st Cdn Div has its roots in 1914 when Canada went to war for the first time as a nation. Canada became a nation and took its rightful place on the world stage with the efforts of soldiers who won the day on Vimy Ridge and during the last 100 days of First World War.
The 1st Cdn Div was established three more times after the First World War: during the Second World War, once following the Korean War in 1954, and again near the end of the Cold War, in Kingston, Ontario in November 1989.
The red patch has long been a badge of honour for all members of the Canadian military. The “old red patch”, was worn for the first time during the Somme.
This tradition carried on throughout the intervening years and during the Second World War, the 1st Cdn Div earned more accolades from allies and enemy alike as the Germans nicknamed the Canadians of the 1st Cdn Div "the little red devils" attesting to its determination and skill during the Italian campaign. The distinctive red square shoulder patch of the 1st Cdn Div, which has been worn by its members since the organization’s inception, will continue to be used as a symbol of recognition today.
As expressed in the Canada First Defence Strategy, Canada will need to ensure that it is well positioned for future operations at home and around the globe. The 1st Cdn Div will contribute to this objective by renewing the CF’s command and control capability, ensuring the CF’s ability to effectively command major international missions, such as Regional Command (South) in Afghanistan, humanitarian operations like Haiti, or domestic missions like Joint Task Force-Games in Vancouver during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The 1st Cdn Div HQ is a fully deployable unit trained and enabled at an advanced state of readiness to lead CF operations at home and abroad.
The 1st Cdn Div assumes the tasks of Non-combatant Evacuation Operations and to deploy the Disaster Assistance Response Team. The 1st Cdn Div, built in part out of the CF JHQ, now assumes those tasks. The 1st Cdn Div has now three high-readiness tasks: Humanitarian Operations, such as those conducted in Haiti in 2010; Non-combatant Evacuations Operations for the safe evacuation of Canadians abroad, such as from Lebanon in 2006; and Full-Spectrum Operations, such as those in Afghanistan.
This initiative will also provide the foundation for a defence contribution to Canadian whole-of-government efforts. While largely weighted towards land operations, the headquarters will also be enabled by air, maritime and special operations elements to effectively command joint operations, potentially in a multinational environment.
The 1st Cdn Div located within Land Force Command at CFB Kingston and uses existing infrastructure and base support. The 1st Cdn Div reached initial operational capability in 2010, with full operational capability expected by 2012.
The HQ of the 1st Cdn Div has Division troops earmarked as enablers. These include 21 Electronic Warfare Regiment; 4 Engineer Support Regiment; 4 Air Defence Regiment; and a counter IED capability.