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NEWS | April 28, 2011

New York National Guard to host US/Canada senior military leader conference

By Army Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg New York National Guard

LATHAM, N.Y. - General officers from the military forces of Canada and the United States will meet here April 29-30 to improve interoperability and joint training opportunities between the two countries.

The annual gathering for the Canada-U.S. Army Reserve General Officer's Conference includes leaders from the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, U.S. Army North, U.S. Northern Command and the Canadian Land Reserves.

Army Guard members from most of the states that border Canada are expected to attend.

The Northern Command Deputy Commander, Army Lt. Gen. Frank J. Grass will join Canadian Brig. Gen. G.J.P. O'Brien, director general of the Canadian Land Reserves, among nearly 75 participants.

This will be the first such gathering hosted by Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of the New York National Guard.

The theme for this year's conference is Homeland Defense. The group will learn about the structure and organization of U.S. Northern Command and its counterpart, Canada Command.

The goal is to develop better relationships for cross-border engagement.

New York Guard members from the Joint Force Headquarters will provide an overview of the state's domestic operations plans, exercises and capabilities.

The New York Army National Guard has a long history of coordinating support for domestic emergencies with Canadian forces, said Army Brig. Gen. Renwick Payne, director of the joint staff for the New York National Guard.

New York hosted the multistate, multiagency domestic emergency response exercise Vigilant Guard in Western New York in 2010, coordinating for the potential response of Canadian forces in a notional earthquake scenario.

Both New York and Canadian forces also responded to the widespread power outages in their own regions following the ice storm that struck across southern Canada and Northern New York in 1998.

Canadian aviators also trained alongside aircrews from Rochester for two-weeks in January 2009, shortly after the New York Army National Guard Soldiers had returned from a 10-month deployment in Afghanistan, the same destination the Canadians were headed for.
Most recently, New York Army National Guard Soldiers conducted winter survival training with counterparts from the Canadian Army Reserve as part of Operation Wolf Pack Endeavour 2011, a winter warfare training exercise run by the Canadian Army Reserve March 7 to 21.

During this year’s conference, Canadian and U.S. Army representatives will receive briefings on various topics including the status of their particular branches, domestic operations overviews and training plans.