Exercise Roguish Buoy 2016

Canadian Combat Diver Badge
Rubber suits and rubber guns
RB 2016 Enemy Force
Publication Date 
17 May 2016

Article by Capt H.J. Morrison

Exercise ROGUISH BUOY 2016 is a challenging exercise demonstrating the excellent underwater capabilities of Canada and our allies. Hosting such exercises ensures we are well prepared for a wide range of situations below the surface.”

-Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

Roguish Buoy is an annual international Army Diving exercise hosted by the Army Dive Centre (ADC), Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering. Roguish Buoy provides an opportunity for Canadian Dive teams to regain proficiency in their occupational specialty. This year, the exercise was conducted at 19 Wing Comox, and the training took place at Comox Lake. The training was focused on engineer reconnaissance and other tactical operations. The ADC and the greater Canadian Army diving community were fortunate to have hosted Allied nations, which included; Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

As members of the Royal Canadian Engineer Corps, Army Divers are expected to provide the Canadian Army with the ability to extend the land force engineer capability underwater.

Roguish Buoy was first conducted in 1979, in Chilliwack, B.C. as a means to ensure that combat dive teams maintain their ability to successfully conduct dive tasks on deployed operations. Over the years, Roguish Buoy has been held in various locations across the country.

Military dive teams from allied nations are invited to participate to encourage the development of international partnerships and to facilitate the transfer of technical knowledge and skills between countries. Due to the specialization of the Combat Divers, and the small number of qualified divers in both the Canadian Armed Forces and our NATO Allies, the importance of being able to work hand-in-hand cannot be overstated. Interoperability in procedures and equipment allows for integration and cooperation during deployed operations and enhances the Canadian Army’s ability to contribute to mission success in an international coalition.

Roguish Buoy 2016 was the last segment of a three-year effort designed to achieve the expansive training mandate of Combat Divers. To maintain proficiency in all Battle Task Standards (BTS), a three-year training cycle is implemented, wherein dive teams plan annual training to achieve proficiency in a subset of the BTS.

This year, the focus for Roguish Buoy was to prepare operational dive teams for engineer reconnaissance and other tactical operations. The intent was to progressively train from basic underwater team navigation to complex reconnaissance, obstacle emplacement and breaching operations in support of a notional Land Force manoeuvre element. The collective training exercise was led and planned by the ADC, and the training was delivered by the dive teams. As in past years, Allied dive teams were attached to Canadian teams based on language and diving specialties.

In pursuit of doctrine modernization, the ADC led the effort to finalize a draft of the new Combat Diver techniques, tactics and procedures (TTP) manual. The team leaders were critical to the success of this endeavor as they spearheaded the drafting of the individual chapters, and conducted conferences to discuss the best practices specific to each TTP topic. With continued effort, the TTP manual will provide a doctrinal reference on which to base team level planning and execution of combat diver tasks.

Roguish Buoy 2016 was a success due to the hard work by everyone involved. The training was challenging due to the complexity of the assigned tasks, the often inclement weather conditions and the limitations of internal communications capabilities. The cooperation and teamwork between and within Canadian and Allied teams allowed these real-world challenges to be met and overcome with confidence.
 
In future years, as the centre of excellence for Combat Diving, the ADC will continue to pursue excellence in training professional Army divers, providing guidance and direction on future capabilities and procurement, and developing doctrine and TTPs in order to support the CAF across the full-spectrum of operations. Roguish Buoy 2017 will be focused on expedient underwater construction and infrastructure repair as well as the clearance of underwater debris. This training will be conducted within a permissive operating environment scenario, and will be aimed at preparing dive teams to support deployed operations such as theatre opening and humanitarian assistance operations.