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The Inaugural Norway-Canada Gauntlet Seminar

December 12, 2023

Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, describes the Arctic as an “important international crossroads where issues of climate change, international trade, and global security meet.” Accordingly, it promises to increase its military presence in the Arctic and to work cooperatively with Arctic partners. Norway places a similarly high priority on partnering with allies to realize its Arctic policy goals centred on security, stability, and interest-based bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation. What lessons can allies and partners learn and apply from diverse experiences in a time of intensifying great power rivalry and in the face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine? How does strategic competition over resources and supply chains affect security requirements in the Arctic and High North? How is climate change shaping the strategic and operating environments? Does hybrid warfare heighten the risk of conflict escalation in the High North?

The Gauntlet Seminar is named in honour of the Norwegian, Canadian, and British ‘Operation Gauntlet’ in 1941. Canadian Brigadier Arthur Potts led a successful but little-known combined operation by a small task force in the Spitsbergen (Svalbard) archipelago. After extensive planning and political conversations between Allied civil and military authorities, the operation was re-scaled so that a small, mixed task force would destroy mining and communications infrastructure on this remote cluster of islands, repatriate Russian miners and their families to Russia, and evacuate Norwegian residents to Britain. While a modest non-combat mission, Operation Gauntlet represented Canada’s first expeditionary operation in the Arctic, yielding general lessons about values, representation, and unity.


The formal panels and workshop sessions are:

Keynote Speakers: Heather A. Conley, MGen Elisabeth Michelsen, Jonathan Quinn

Panel on Norwegian and Canadian Perspectives: MGen Odd-Harald Hagen, Paal Sigurd Hilde, Andrea Charron, Jackie Jacobson


This event is in-person and invitation only.


Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, ON, Canada