The Canadian Armed Forces is shrinking its footprint in the Middle East to free up troops for missions in Europe and elsewhere.
Vice Admiral Bob Auchterlonie revealed the plan in an interview with The Canadian Press as the military is grappling with staffing shortages and growing demand in other parts of the world.
Auchterlonie said Canada will maintain a presence in the Middle East, including a logistics hub in Kuwait and military training missions in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
But he said the number of personnel deployed to the area, which has been steadily declining since Iraq was liberated from the militant group Daesh in 2017, is poised to fall further.
Auchterlonie says the cuts are designed to help the military spend more troops in Europe, where the Canadian Army is facing some new demands due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Increased needs abroad as well as at home, where the military is often asked to help with disaster relief, coincided with a staffing shortage that commanders have described as a crisis.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 19, 2023.