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Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, hold a news conference at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa on Feb. 14, 2012. (CHRIS WATTIE/Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, hold a news conference at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa on Feb. 14, 2012. (CHRIS WATTIE/Chris Wattie/Reuters)

MacKay secures German staging base for post-Afghan missions Add to ...

The Canadian government says a German airport will serve as the European post in its global network of “strategic hubs” to support Canada’s troops in whatever foreign missions come after the war in Afghanistan.

After meeting with his German counterpart Tuesday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced that the European operational support hub will be located at the Cologne-Bonn airport.

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This location is part a growing network of warehouses and airfields around the world that will ensure the military has a global reach for future missions.

Logistics is always one of the biggest challenges for the Canadian Forces: finding ways to supply the bullets, beans and bandages needed for operations on other continents.

Since 2009 the Forces have operated a trial European hub at the U.S. Air Force base at Spangdahlem, Germany, about 30 kilometres northeast of Trier. This small detachment helped funnel Canadian supplies and soldiers to the war in Afghanistan.

Canada’s combat mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan ended in 2011.

The Cologne-Bonn hub will become part of a web of global staging locations to help supply troops in future conflicts.

Last summer Canada struck a deal with Kuwait to open a hub in the Gulf country to replace a once-secret Canadian base in the United Arab Emirates.

The Kuwait agreement gave Canada access to two ports, one military and one civilian, a civilian airport, a military air field and barracks. It is helping supply the Canadian military’s one remaining Afghanistan assignment: training Afghan soldiers and police.

Canada needed a Mideast hub after the United Arab Emirates kicked the Forces out of Dubai staging base in the fall of 2010. The UAE asked Canada to leave Camp Mirage after the two countries failed to agree on what additional landing rights Emirati air carriers should be granted in Canada.

Canada and Germany have worked as allies for more than 60 years and Germany helped Canada secure Leopard II tanks for the war in Afghanistan.

“It is a pleasure to build on the long-standing relationship that Canada has developed with Germany as Allies through NATO, and in operations such as Afghanistan,” Mr. MacKay said Tuesday after speaking to German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière.

Canada has also reportedly talked to Jamaica about establishing a hub there and eyed other locations including Singapore and South Korea as well as an African post such as Senegal, Kenya or Tanzania.

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