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The Road to High Readiness – Ensuring Our Soldiers are Prepared

By Lieutenant Nadine Abou Rjeily, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Canadian Division Headquarters –

As of 1 July, 2019, the 4th Canadian Division (4 Cdn Div) became the Division responsible for preparing soldiers to deploy on international and domestic operations in 2020/2021. Soldiers at the Division are undergoing a yearlong training program known as the Road to High Readiness (RTHR) to ensure they are ready to deploy.

“The Road to High Readiness is a training concept designed to provide soldiers with the training and equipment necessary to support the Government of Canada’s United Nations and NATO commitments overseas, as well as Domestic Operations. It ensures soldiers are ready to deploy on national and international operations that are both planned and unexpected. By completing the Road to High Readiness training program, they maintain a high level of proficiency and readiness in a changing security environment,” said Brigadier-General Conrad Mialkowski, Commander of 4th Canadian Division and Joint Task Force Central.

What is the Road to High Readiness?

The Canadian Army uses a three-year cycle that rotates throughout the Divisions. 3 Canadian Division is currently in High Readiness, with its members deployed on missions and operations around the world. 4 Cdn Div is embarked on RTHR and 2 Canadian Division is in the support phase.

The RTHR training is completed in three distinct phases:

Step One: Crawl. Each Unit goes through individual decentralized training exercises in order to receive validation in their respective fields of expertise. For example, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment is participating in Unit level engineering exercises before moving on to the second Phase, while the Royal Canadian Dragoons’ exercises are heavily based on artillery drills and attacks.

Step Two: Walk. This is the UNIFIED RESOLVE series. Exercises UNIFIED RESOLVE I, II and III (Ex UR I, II, and III) consist of Professional Development sessions, including lectures, and computer-assisted exercises directed towards the staff and the commanders of the various headquarters throughout 4 Cdn Div. The computer-generated scenarios include realistic simulations to which commanders must respond, testing their command and control capabilities. During the Walk Phase, members of 3 Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) train with our allies on the Joint Readiness Training Centre Rotation (JRTC) in order to achieve the required validation in Force on Force training. JRTC is an American-led multinational exercise conducted in a challenging, realistic training environment with participation from other nations. Members of 3 RCR are employed at Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE after completion of JRTC.

Step Three: Sprint. The first two Phases of training culminate in two high intensity exercises at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright, Alberta, in spring 2020: Exercises SHARPENED TOMAHAWK and MAPLE RESOLVE (Ex MR). Over 2,000 soldiers make the journey from Petawawa to Wainwright to train in live and simulated scenarios over a period of several weeks, in an austere environment and under various weather conditions.


The main objective of the third Phase is to provide the collective training and evaluation opportunity for the members of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG), which will become 4 Cdn Div’s High Readiness Brigade in 2020/2021.

“During Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 20, members of 2 CMBG hone their skills to fight and win in the worst case while inculcating a mindset of adaptation that allows our soldiers to operate in lower intensity, stability operations. This type of training exercises tests everyone in the Brigade, physically, mentally and cognitively and contributes directly to our readiness. Its multinational character further enhances learning and improves interoperability,” mentioned Colonel Jason Adair, Commander of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.




Major Baybrook is briefing Comd of 1 (CA) MND on the operations on the battlefield during Exercise UNIFIED RESOLVE Stage III in Kingston on February 10, 2020. Photo: Master Corporal Jennifer Evans, Garrison Petawawa Imaging. ©2020 DND/MDN Canada.

Upon the completion of Ex MR, 2 CMBG is reconfigured into specific units in order to deploy primarily on three operations: REASSURANCE, UNIFIER and IMPACT.

Those deployments begin shortly after 1 July, 2020, as 4 Cdn Div and 2 CMBG move off the Road to High Readiness and into the High Readiness state.

Task Force Tomahawk Background

The Tomahawk originates with the Algonquin people as a light, versatile weapon and tool that can be taken on long journeys inland by foot, portage, or canoe. It was later refined into a strong, light, metal weapon and tool used at war and in times of peace.

The Tomahawk is a useful tool in peace because of it’s ability to move quickly and to strike decisively at a key place. The Tomahawk also has an important ceremonial role: it is a significant demonstration of friendship.

On 30 September, 2019, 2 CMBG stood up as Task Force Tomahawk (TF Tomahawk) in a ceremony involving the Algonquin of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation in Petawawa. During this ceremony, the elders confirmed the use of the Tomahawk as the Task Force’s emblem, for its significance as both a weapon and a tool.

Garrison Petawawa Imaging. ©2020 DND/MDN Canada

Drawing inspiration from the rich culture of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, TF Tomahawk is built upon the foundation of an agile, integrated, scalable, combined arms team. True to its name, TF Tomahawk is committed to rapidly adapting to new technology platforms, tactics, and knowledge, thus cementing its place as an adaptive learning organization with a high degree of tactical and operational flexibility.

2 CMBG Commander, Colonel Adair stands up Task Force TOMAHAWK during a ceremony held on September 30 2019 in Petawawa. Photo: Garrison Petawawa Imaging. ©2019 DND/MDN Canada.

Road to Mental Readiness

The health and wellbeing of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members is an essential component of operational readiness. In 2015, a complimentary program was established in order to promote physical fitness and positive mental health. The program is known as Mission: Ready. It provides soldiers and their families, as well as civilian employees, with the resources and support programs made available by the Department of National Defense. Readiness and Resilience are two essential qualities for a healthy, fit soldier armed with a warrior spirit who is ready to perform on operations.

“For the Canadian Armed Forces to be successful, our military personnel must have the education, training, skills and experience to function in today’s environment,” indicated Retired General Thomas Lawson in 2013 in his appointment as Chief of the Defense Staff (2012-2015). “As well, they must be mentally and physically fit to meet the rigours of military service. Collectively, we are committed to reinforcing our mental health programs and support services to meet the increasing complexities and demands of military service today,” he added.

In order for the CAF to remain a Strong, Proud, and Ready institution, a state of readiness not limited to physical training is required.

Description of 4th Canadian Division

4 Cdn Div is one of the five major formations that report to Canadian Army Headquarters in Ottawa. 4 Cdn Div is responsible to provide combat ready land forces in accordance with assigned tasks, conduct general purpose training in preparation for various land operations, and provide support services to other organizations as directed or as mutually arranged. It includes all Regular and Reserve Force Units in Ontario.

The mission of 4 Cdn Div is to generate and maintain, at designated states of readiness, combat ready, multi-purpose land forces to meet Canada’s defence objectives, both at home and abroad. Members of 4 Cdn Div take part in continuous, challenging, individual and collective training to prepare them to achieve this mission.

4 Cdn Div is spread across 46 Ontario communities and comprises more than 15,000 men and women, including 26 First Nations’ Patrol Groups in Northern Ontario. Within the NCR, 4 Cdn Div has a headquarters for the 33 Canadian Brigade Group (CBG), which will be part of the Road to High Readiness.


Related Links

4th Canadian Division

2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group

31 Canadian Brigade Group

32 Canadian Brigade Group

33 Canadian Brigade Group

Op REASSURANCE (Central and Eastern Europe)

Op UNIFIER (Ukraine)

Op IMPACT (Middle East)

Mission: Ready

4th Canadian Division Facebook

4th Canadian Division Instagram

4th Canadian Division Twitter

This post is also available in: Français (French)

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