NATO Operations

NATO is an active and leading contributor to peace and security on the international stage. Through its crisis management operations, the Alliance demonstrates both its willingness to act as a positive force for change and its capacity to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. 

Since its first major peace-support operation in the Balkans in the early 1990s, the tempo and diversity of NATO operations have increased. NATO has been engaged in missions that cover the full spectrum of crisis management operations-from combat to peacekeeping, to training and logistics support, to surveillance and humanitarian relief.

Today, 138 000 military personnel are engaged in NATO missions around the world, successfully managing complex ground, air and naval operations in all types of environments. These forces are currently operating in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa. 


Rebuilding a country that was devastated by thirty years of conflict is a long-term undertaking that requires the participation of many countries and partners. Canada’s significant contributions to Afghanistan is part of a broader international effort that includes more than 60 nations and implementing partners. 

Canada's goal in Afghanistan between now and 2014 is to help Afghans rebuild their country into one that is better governed, more stable and secure and, most importantly, is never again a safe haven for terrorists. Learn more about Canada’s Engagement in Afghanistan.

The Balkans 

Canada has been engaged in peace support operations in the Balkans since the early 1990s, first in the UN-led Protection Force and subsequently in the NATO-led Intervention Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

From 1992 to 2004, some 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel served in Bosnia. In 1999, Canada intervened in the Kosovo crisis, first through participation in the NATO-led air campaign and then with a contribution of 1,400 troops to the NATO-led multinational force in Kosovo (KFOR). Canada is committed to the security of the Balkans, and currently contributes ten Canadian Forces personnel to KFOR headquarters in Pristina. 

Canada supports stabilization and normalization, including the building of tolerant, democratic and multi-ethnic societies in the Balkans region. Canada’s contribution is driven by its interest in regional security and the rule of law, as well as its commitment to multilateral peace support operations and the effectiveness of the United Nations, NATO and other organizations active in the region. Visit the NATO web site to learn more.

Libya - Operation Unified Protector

Following the Gaddafi regime’s targeting of civilians in February 2011, the United Nations called on the international community to protect the people of Libya, under UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973. 

Acting on the basis of the UN mandate and with broad-based regional support that included Arab partners, the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector (OUP), under the command of Canada’s Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, protected civilians and civilian populated areas from attack or the threat of attack, and enforced an arms embargo and no-fly zone. OUP successfully concluded on October 31, 2011. 

Canada is proud of its contribution to this effort through NATO and of the role played by Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard and all Canadian Armed Forces and diplomatic personnel who contributed to OUP. 

Canada will continue to support Libya’s efforts to build a more stable society that is founded on respect for human rights and the rule of law. To that effect, Canada has committed up to $11.5 million to assist Libya in clearing explosive remnants of war, including landmines, and recovering and securing conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction remaining from the Gaddafi regime. Visit the NATO web site to learn more.

Operation Allied Provider 

The increase in piracy since 2006 is of particular concern to the Alliance. NATO views piracy as a threat to international peace and security as well as to legitimate commercial activity. Canadian ships HMCS Winnipeg and HMCS Fredericton have contributed to NATO counter-piracy operations.

From October to December 2008, under Operation Allied Provider, NATO escorted World Food Programme- and African Union-contracted supply ships en route to Somalia. This was NATO’s first anti-piracy operation and resulted in the safe shipment of over 30,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Somalia. 

From March to August 2009, NATO conducted naval counter-piracy activities off the coast of Somalia under Operation Allied Protector. This was followed by Operation Ocean Shield, which has been extended until the end of 2014. Visit the NATO web site to learn more.

Operation Active Endeavour 

NATO’s counter-terrorism operation in the Mediterranean, Operation Active Endeavour (OAE), monitors shipping and provides escorts to non-military vessels from the Suez Canal through the Strait of Gibraltar. The operation evolved out of NATO’s immediate response to the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. 

HMCS Ville de Quebec completed a deployment with OAE in December 2008. Following the conclusion of OUP, HMCS Vancouver joined OAE from November 2011 until January 2012 when it was replaced by HMCS Charlottetown. HMCS Charlottetown participated in the operation between January and April 2012. Visit the NATO web site to learn more.