Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's finally, finally official: JTF 2 moving to Trenton

It's been virtually certain for quite some time, but at last the dance of putting on the seven (whatever) construction veils is over with this:
The secretive special forces unit known as Joint Task Force 2 is moving to CFB Trenton.

Northumberland-Quinte West MP Rick Norlock's announcement Friday ends more than two year of speculation the unit would be moving to the country's largest air force base.

"It's been the worst kept secret,'' admitted Norlock at a hastily called press conference at Quinte West city hall.

A $300 million training centre will be constructed on property recently purchased by the federal government just north of the base.

Another $200 million is being spent on new infrastructure, including new hangars and related buildings to support new strategic airlift capabilities of the air force.

The move is expected to be completed over the next two to three years.

JFT 2 is currently based at Dwyer Hill near Ottawa. The unit is outgrowing its present location.

The announcement [DND news release here, plus Backgrounder here] comes days before Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to call a federal election for Oct. 14 [also now official].

During the 2006 federal election campaign, Harper promised an airborne unit would be located at the base [actually the promise was for a "rapid reaction" reborn airborne battalion; this move of JTF 2 is not the same thing, but beats the hell out of the stupid campaign promise, one of several].

"I've been pressing the defence minister to make the announcement,' said Norlock. "It was part of our campaign platform in 2006 and it's only appropriate we live up to that commitment now. We had to clear the air and get rid of the question marks surrounding the rumours.''

The federal government is in the process of acquiring another 220 acres of land, but Norlock said the 200- plus acres already purchased is enough to house the unit that specializes in counterterrorism operations.


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