Joint Task Force 2

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Joint Task Force 2
Deuxième Force opérationnelle interarmées (French)
JTF2 Patch.svg
Founded1 April 1993
Country Canada
TypeSpecial operations force
RoleSpecial operations
Part ofCanadian Special Operations Forces Command[2]
Garrison/HQOttawa, Ontario (Dwyer Hill) [3]
Motto(s)Latin: facta non verba, lit.'deeds not words' &
Latin: ubique, lit.'everywhere'
DecorationsUnited States Presidential Unit Citation
LGen Michael Rouleau, OMM, MSC, CD
Col Barry MacLeod[citation needed]
LCol Ray Romses[5]
HeaddressTan beret

Joint Task Force 2 (JTF 2; French: Deuxième Force opérationnelle interarmées, FOI 2) is an elite special operations force of the Canadian Armed Forces, serving under the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. JTF2 is known to work with other special operations forces such as Delta Force, Seal Team Six the British SAS and the British SBS. The unit has distinguished itself as a world-class special operations unit.[6][7][8]

Serving as the centrepiece of Canadian special operations, JTF 2 is primarily tasked with counter-terrorism operations, both domestic and abroad, and specializes in direct action, special reconnaissance and surveillance, hostage rescue, protective security, foreign internal defence and other high-value tasks.[9] Much of the information regarding JTF 2 is classified, and is not commented on by the Government of Canada.[10]


Major-General Nicolas Matern, right, former commander of Joint Task Force 2 and deputy commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command

In 1992, Deputy Minister of Defence Robert Fowler announced he was recommending to Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn that he disband the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) and create a new military counter-terrorism group. The decision was made largely because the Canadian Forces offered a greater pool of recruits for the program than civilian police forces, and it stemmed the public uproar about police being taught to use primarily lethal means.[11]

In early 1993, the unit was activated with just over 100 members, primarily drawn from the Canadian Airborne Regiment and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.[11] They were given the SERT facility on Dwyer Hill Road near Ottawa as their own base of operations, and permanently parked a Greyhound bus and a DC-9 aircraft on the grounds for use in training.[11]

Its first scheduled action was Operation Campus, the protection of highways and water treatment plants around the Oka reserve while a police force tried to "crack down on smuggling" on the native reserve, immediately following the Oka crisis. However two daily newspapers in Quebec revealed the operation just days before it was to go into action, and it was cancelled.[11] The federal budget of December 2001 allocated approximately $120 million over six years to expand unit capabilities and double its size to an estimated 600 personnel, as part of the overall plan following the attacks of September 11, 2001.[12]

Battle honours[edit]

Joint Task Force 2's motto is facta non verba, Latin for "deeds not words".[13] JTF2 does not carry individual battle honours, but instead also shares the motto ubique ("everywhere") with The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery and the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers.[14]



JTF 2 forces were inserted into Bosnia, operating in two- to four-man[15] teams hunting for Serbian snipers who were targeting UN forces at the sniper alley.[11] They were scheduled to free approximately 55 hostages in Operation Freedom 55, but the mission was cancelled as the Bosnian Serbs released all the prisoners voluntarily.[11]


In 1996, JTF 2 deployed to Haiti to advise the security forces of President René Préval on methods to repel the revolutionary army, train local SWAT teams and raid weapons smugglers in Port-au-Prince.[11]

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,[16] JTF 2 was also in Haiti at the time that Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted from power in 2004. They protected the Canadian embassy and secured the airport.

War on Terror[edit]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and the American declaration of a War on Terror, approximately 40 JTF 2 soldiers were sent to southern Afghanistan in early December 2001 to be part of Task Force K-Bar, under the command of Captain Robert Harward. The Canadian public was not informed of the deployment. However, in Sean M. Maloney's book Enduring the Freedom, it was reported that JTF 2 was secretly deployed without Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's permission in early October 2001.[17][18][19] Under Task Force K-Bar, JTF 2 worked extensively with the U.S. 3rd Special Forces Group; one of their first missions in Afghanistan was what Harward described as "the first Coalition direct action mission since the Second World War." The joint operation with a team of Green Berets targeting a Taliban command node almost ended in disaster when a Chinook carrying JTF 2 operators was forced to make a hard landing near the target site.[17] While serving with Task Force K-Bar, Harward also stated that the JTF 2 team under his command was his first choice for any direct action.[20]

Several months later, The Globe and Mail published an image on its front page showing operators in distinctive forest-green Canadian Forces combat uniforms delivering captured prisoners to the Americans. This prompted an outcry in Parliament as MPs were never informed these operations were underway. Vice Admiral Greg Maddison was called before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to address claims that Minister of Defence Art Eggleton had purposely misled the public and the government, even failing to inform the Prime Minister that JTF 2 had been operating in Afghanistan.[18] Segments of the Canadian media made much of the special forces handing over detainees, particularly those who may have been sent to Guantanamo Bay. In January 2002, JTF 2 deployed reconnaissance teams to the series of caves discovered in Zhawar Kili, just south of Tora Bora. Airstrikes hit the sites before SOF teams were inserted into the area. A platoon from SEAL Team 3, including several of their Desert Patrol Vehicles, accompanied by a German Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) element and a Norwegian SOF team, spent some nine days conducting extensive site exploitation, clearing an estimated 70 caves and 60 structures in the area, recovering a huge amount of both intelligence and munitions, but they did not encounter any al-Qaeda fighters. In March 2002, JTF 2 reconnaissance teams took part in Operation Anaconda; they also conducted close protection tasks and participated in numerous direct action missions, allegedly including the siege at Mirwais hospital in Kandahar, where a US Army Special Forces operational detachment-A (SFODA) killed a group of al-Qaeda terrorists hiding in a hospital ward; JTF 2 also carried out numerous operations with the New Zealand Special Air Service. JTF 2's first rotation was completed when they returned to Canada in May 2002, to be replaced by a second, shorter term, deployment until October 2002.[21]

In 2004, an estimated 40 members of JTF 2 serving with Task Force K-Bar were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by the U.S. government for service in Afghanistan.[20] Very little is known on JTF 2 operations in Afghanistan, but during a conference the former Chief of Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, stated that JTF 2 was in "high demand" and that they were considered to be "world class". He went on to say that the unit was providing direct support to the Afghan government and was targeting the Taliban leadership in southern Afghanistan. He stated that "trying to help neutralize those leaders is a key part of their role and that's what they will continue to do."[22]

On 26 November 2005, members of the terrorist group Swords of Righteousness Brigade – a small offshoot of possibly Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI), Ansar al-Islam (AAI), Army of Islam, or a cover name for their abduction cells, or freelance cash criminal abductors – kidnapped four members (two Canadian, one British and one American) of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Baghdad, Iraq. In response, Task Force Knight — the British special forces task force in Iraq — initiated Operation Lightwater; spearheaded by B Squadron, 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (SAS), the aim of which was to find and recover the hostages; a small team of JTF 2 and Canadian intelligence experts joined the task force for the operation whilst the United States provided technical intelligence to the operation. Together the force carried out relentless raids across the city, building up a picture by exploiting intelligence in the search for the hostages, eventually on the 23 March 2006 the three remaining hostages were rescued by the SAS.[23][24][25] The Pentagon and the British Foreign Office both commented on the instrumental role JTF 2 played in rescuing the British and Canadian Christian Peacemaker Team that were being held hostage in Iraq. Involvement of JTF 2 was not confirmed by Canadian officials.[26]

There has been much speculation in the Canadian media on possible JTF 2 operational deployments. As of 2001, the unit had 297 members, but by the end of the year, with the War on Terror becoming a reality, the federal government announced their intentions to increase it to 600 members within four years.

As of 2014, the unit was believed to be in Iraq as training personnel, under the Canadian Operation Impact which is part of Operation Inherent Resolve.[27][28][29] The Canadian Government has not denied or confirmed JTF 2's involvement.[30]

In June 2017, it was reported that a JTF 2 sniper in Iraq had shot and killed an ISIL fighter from a distance of 3,540 metres (2.20 mi), setting a world record for the longest confirmed kill. The shot was taken from a high-rise building using a standard Canadian military issued McMillan Tac-50 rifle, a .50 caliber (12.7×99mm) anti-materiel rifle commonly used by snipers in an anti-personnel role. The Canadian Forces designation is the C15 Long-Range Sniper Weapon (LRSW).[31]

Other actions[edit]

Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden also confirmed that JTF 2 would take a role in securing the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics.[32]

JTF 2 has also acted as bodyguards to Canadians travelling abroad, notably accompanying Lieutenant-General Maurice Baril and Raymond Chrétien to Zaire in November 1996.[11] When photographs provided to the media were revealed to show the faces of JTF 2 forces, they were redacted and reissued with the faces removed.[11] In 1998, they accompanied General Roméo Dallaire to Tanzania where he was due to testify against a Rwandan Hutu official accused of complicity in the 1994 genocide.[11][33] They similarly accompanied war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour into Kosovo.[11] In early November 2000, Conservative Defence Critic David Price stated that JTF 2 had been deployed to Kosovo, however, this was denied by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Defence Minister Art Eggleton.[34]

The unit was believed to be operating with the Special Air Service and Special Boat Service in Operation Mobile, the Canadian operation in the 2011 Libyan civil war.[35]

In August 2021, JTF-2 and CSOR operators were deployed to Afghanistan to evacuate staff from the Canadian Embassy in Kabul.[36]

In May 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Ukraine to show solidarity and to witness the war for himself, alongside members of the cabinet. As part of the security detail, they were accompanied by members of JTF2.[37]

Unit accountability[edit]

On 21 December 2006, a Federal Court judge rejected a request to proceed with a court martial against an unnamed JTF 2 officer, accused of assaulting and mistreating a subordinate. Because court martial requests require that the accused be named, the judge suggested that they explore other avenues to proceed with the court martial.[38]

JTF 2 has acknowledged the death of one member. Master Corporal Anthony Klumpenhouwer, 25, died on April 18, 2007, after falling off a communications tower in Kandahar, Afghanistan.[39] In 2010, the investigation into Klumpenhouwer's death was completed, and revealed that he had been knocked unconscious by a surge of electricity.[40]


Operators use a range of weapons including:

JTF 2 uses the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) special operations version.[52] A replacement project was cancelled in 2010.[53] In 2016, the DAGOR (Deployable Advanced Ground Off-road) vehicle by Polaris Defense was awarded the Ultra-Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV) contract to provide 78 vehicles to CANSOFCOM.[54][55]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions - Joint Task Force 2". Department of National Defence. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Joint Task Force 2". Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  3. ^ Pugliese, David (6 June 2014). "JTF2 to stay in Ottawa for at least another five years". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  4. ^ "What were members of Canada's special forces doing at the Freedom Convoy occupation?".
  5. ^ "Biography BGen Ray R. Romses, OMM, CD". Army Cadet History. Army Cadet League of Canada. Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  6. ^ Atlamazoglou, Stavros (3 February 2020). "Canadian soldier serving in a Tier 1 SOF unit kicked out of the military for theft". SOFREP. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  7. ^ "JTF2/Special Forces". Canadian Foreign Policy Institute. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  8. ^ Freeze, Colin (7 December 2010). "Silent killers: Secrecy, security and JTF2". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Types of jobs". Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  10. ^ "JTF2 at close range". 8 March 2002. Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Boer, Peter (2005). "Joint Task Force Two". Canadian Spies and Spies in Canada. Edmonton: Folklore Publishing. ISBN 978-1-89486-429-9.
  12. ^ "JTF 2: The Future". Department of National Defence. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  13. ^ JTF2 SOA manual 2016
  14. ^ "South-West Asia Theatre Honours". Government of Canada. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  15. ^ Morisset, Denis (2018). Nous étions invincibles [We were invincible] (in French). Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec: Les Éditions JCL. ISBN 978-2-89431-669-6.
  16. ^ "Joint Task Force 2: Canada's elite fighters". 15 September 2010. Archived from the original on 11 August 2021.
  17. ^ a b Neville, Leigh (2015). Special Forces in the War on Terror. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8.
  18. ^ a b Lang, Eugene & Stein, Janice Gross (2007). The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar. Toronto: Viking Canada. ISBN 978-0-67006-722-0.
  19. ^ Maloney, Sean M. (2005). Enduring the Freedom: A Rogue Historian in Afghanistan. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books Inc. ISBN 978-1-57488-953-6.
  20. ^ a b Woods, Allan (25 April 2010). "'Canada's elite commandos and the invasion of Afghanistan'". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  21. ^ Neville, Leigh (2015). Special Forces in the War on Terror. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. pp. 49–50, 77–78. ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8.
  22. ^ "JTF2 scopes trained on Taliban elite". 28 March 2007. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  23. ^ Urban, Mark (2012). Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq. New York City: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-1-250-00696-7.
  24. ^ Nance, Malcolm W. (2014). The Terrorists of Iraq: Inside the Strategy and Tactics of the Iraq Insurgency 2003-2014. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-49870-689-6.
  25. ^ "Swords of Righteousness Brigade". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium.
  26. ^ "JTF2 Rescue". CBC News. 23 March 2006. Archived from the original on 26 September 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  27. ^ Makuch, Ben (19 January 2015). "Canadian Special Forces Shot At ISIS Terrorists In Iraq". VICE Canada. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  28. ^ Fisher, Matthew (28 April 2015). "'The Canadians are among our most important guys': Peshmerga praise elite commandos in fight against ISIL". National Post. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  29. ^ Pugliese, David (18 December 2015). "Canada's biggest test yet: CF-18s, special forces help fight off massive ISIL surprise attack". National Post. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  30. ^ Lester, Normand (22 December 2014). "Feds deny Canadian JTF2 snipers fighting Islamic State". Toronto Sun. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  31. ^ Fife, Robert (22 June 2017). "Canadian elite special forces sniper makes record-breaking kill shot in Iraq". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  32. ^ "Counter-terror to secure the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games". Retrieved 7 June 2011.[dead link]
  33. ^ Hennessy, Michael A. "Operation "Assurance": Planning A Multi-National Force for Rwanda/Zaïre" (PDF). Canadian Military Journal (Spring 2001): 11–20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  34. ^ "Chrétien denies Canadian commandos in Kosovo". CBC News. 10 November 2000. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  35. ^ Cohen, Tobi (2 March 2011). "Canadian warship en route, JTF2 sent to Libya". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 9 March 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  36. ^ Graham, Karen (13 August 2021). "Canada sending special forces to close Afghan embassy". Digital Journal.
  37. ^ "How Justin Trudeau's people arranged his whirlwind visit to a Ukraine at war". CBC News. 9 May 2022.
  38. ^ MacCharles, Tonda (22 December 2006). "'Secret' soldier can't be charged". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
  39. ^ "Secret ramp ceremony for Canadian soldier who died in fall". CBC News. 20 April 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  40. ^ "Klumpenhouwer awarded medal for sacrifice". Listowel Banner. 9 June 2010.[dead link]
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i Domisiewicz, Rafał (July 2007). "Czarne Diabły ruszyły na wojnę" [Black Devils moved to war]. Raport Magazine Online (in Polish). Archived from the original on 19 July 2011.
  42. ^ a b Neville, Leigh (2016). Guns of Special Forces 2001–2015. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword. ISBN 978-1-47388-101-3.
  43. ^ "New rifles delivered for Canadian Forces sniper teams". 10 December 2020.
  44. ^ a b Pugliese, David (8 October 2005). "Canada: JTF2 buys new guns; regular troops make do". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  45. ^ Taylor, Scott (17 October 2005). "Don't just equip JTF-2". Esprit de Corps. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007.
  46. ^ a b "DND 101 - Canadian Forces Small Arms – Specialist Weapons – A Visual Guide". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016.
  47. ^ Brewster, Murray (30 June 2021). "Pistol misfire that injured soldier was an unpredictable accident: Special forces report". MSN.
  48. ^ (29 June 2022). "Canadian Special Operations Forces Command statement on bringing weapon fleet into service following the unintended discharge of a holstered pistol during training". Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  49. ^ "Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) Weapons (Canada)". Military Archived from the original on 20 April 2021.
  50. ^ "לכוחות מיוחדים: צבא קנדה רכש טילי ספייק של רפאל". 21 November 2019.
  51. ^ "More of the Same". Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  52. ^ Pugliese, David (26 November 2014). "Special Ops: Wishlist of new gear". Esprit de Corps. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016.
  53. ^ "Special Operations Vehicles (Special Reconnaissance and Quick Reaction vehicles) - Notice of Proposed Procurement". Canadian American Strategic Review. August 2008. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016.
  54. ^ "Polaris Wins Canadian Special Forces Ultra-Light Combat Vehicle Contract". Polaris (Press release). 20 December 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  55. ^ Pugliese, David (15 December 2016). "Canadian special forces get new ultra light vehicles". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2 April 2017.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°07′49″N 75°56′46″W / 45.13028°N 75.94611°W / 45.13028; -75.94611