Military Wiki
Canadian Special Operations Forces Command
Active 2006–present
Country  Canada
Branch Canadian Armed Forces
Type Special Operations
Role To provide operational commanders with agile, high-readiness Special Operations Forces capable of conducting special operations across the spectrum of conflict at home and abroad.
Size Classified
Nickname(s) Silent Professionals
Motto(s) Viam Inveniemus – "We Will Find A Way"
Brigadier-General D.W. Thompson, OMM, MSC, CD
Headdress Tan beret

Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) (French language: Commandement des Forces d'opérations spéciales du Canada; COMFOSCAN), is a command of the Canadian Forces. It is responsible for all special forces operations that are capable of responding to terrorism and threats to Canadians and Canadian interests around the world.[1]


CANSOFCOM is composed of:

CANSOFCOM also employs an integrated operating concept that combines the capabilities of all units in a Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) capable of completing assigned missions and tasks. Therefore, depending on the tasks at hand, various combinations of personnel from JTF 2, CSOR, 427 SOAS and CJIRU are assembled into a Special Operations Task Force, as appropriate, to accomplish assigned missions.

The Commander selects which task force or team will be deployed based on several criteria, including: the scope of the problem; the required response time; what effect needs to be achieved; and the level of precision required.

Based on the requirement to respond to specific standing tasks assigned to the CAF by the GoC, such as respond to a terrorist attack, an international crisis or a CBRN threat, CANSOFCOM has developed several standing Special Operations Task Forces:

  • Immediate Response Task Force (IRTF). The IRTF is the highest readiness task force available to the Government of Canada; it is deployed on extremely short notice to address issues that could affect national interests. It is composed of personnel from all CANSOFCOM units and is led by JTF 2. Its primary focus is counter-terrorism operations, domestic or international. Tasks include, but are not limited to: Hostage rescue, direct action, CBRN response, sensitive site exploitation, counter-proliferation, maritime special operations.
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Task Force. This Task Force is based on the personnel and capabilities of CJIRU and includes the CANSOFCOM contribution to Canada’s National CBRNE Response Team, led by the RCMP. The CBRN Task Force provides a short notice response to crisis or major events within Canada and is primarily focused on counter-terrorism that involves Chemical, Biological, Radiological and/or Nuclear elements. It provides technical response to CBRN incidents and can be enabled by the capabilities of other CANSOFCOM units as required. At the request of the Government of Canada, the CBRN Task Force can also conduct counter-proliferation operations and be deployed internationally. Tasks include, but are not limited to: Reconnaissance, surveillance, sampling, limited decontamination for Task Force personnel and sensitive site exploitation.
  • Task Force Arrowhead. TF Arrowhead is a scaleable, agile force able to respond to threats and incidents around the globe on short notice. While it is internationally focused, it can also be deployed in Canada. It is a high readiness SOTF capable of quickly deploying to a crisis for short periods of time. It is composed of personnel from all four units in the Command and is led by CSOR. TF Arrowhead represents an initial response that could be a pre-cursor to the deployment of another SOTF or conventional task force. Tasks include, but are not limited to: Direct action, CBRN response, sensitive site exploitation, counter-proliferation, support to non-combatant evacuation operations, special protection operations.
  • SOF Teams. Small teams of CANSOFCOM personnel perform tasks that fall outside the scope of the three standing task forces. SOF teams generally deploy for short periods of time, typically not longer than six months. SOF teams are made up of personnel and capabilities from all four units. Tasks include, but are not limited to: Defence, diplomacy and military assistance, strategic advice, planning and liaison, strategic reconnaissance and security support to operations of other Government of Canada organizations.

The IRTF, CBRN Task Force, Task Force Arrowhead and the SOF teams do not represent the full extent of CANSOFCOM capabilities; CANSOFCOM is capable of generating additional forces for specific needs as required.[2]

Core tasks

CANSOFCOM's core tasks are: to provide the Canadian Forces with a capacity to prevent and react to terrorism in all environments, to provide the CF with a capability to perform other missions as directed by the Government of Canada, such as direct action (DA), special reconnaissance (SR), defence diplomacy and military assistance (DDMA), as well as special humanitarian assistance (such as the evacuation of non-combatants).[3]

Commanding officers

On September 12, 2005, Colonel David Barr was appointed the provisional commander of the CANSOFCOM. During his tenure as commander, Colonel Barr also deployed to Afghanistan as commander of the Canadian special operations task force in Operation Enduring Freedom.[4]

Major-General D. Michael Day, OMM CD – Commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command 2007–2011

Brigadier-General D.W. Thompson, OMM MSC CD is the current commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, appointed in April 2011.[5]

The current command sergeant major is Chief Warrant Officer John H. Graham, MSM CD.[6]


With operational uniforms, all members of CANSOFCOM wear the tan beret, regardless of their environment (navy, army or air force), with the badge of their personnel branch or, for Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and Royal Canadian Infantry Corps members, the badge of their former regiment.[7]

With ceremonial and service dress, navy members wear service caps with tan bands, army members wear tan berets and air force members wear blue wedge caps with a tan insert.[8]

See also

Notes and references

External links

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