Wed, Feb 04, 2009 - Page 19 News List

US military involved in Winter Games security

AP , VANCOUVER

The US military will be cooperating with its Canadian counterparts to provide security for next year’s Winter Olympics.

Canadian Forces officials said on Monday that the combined operations fall under the provisions of the joint North American Aerospace Defense Command, said Canadian Rear Admiral Tyrone Pile, commander of Joint Task Force Games.

“They have to be involved,” Pile said. “We share a common border with them.”

Pile said the US would contribute Coast Guard and Navy vessels, but there would be no US troops involved on Canadian soil.

Full details of security measures are not being released for operational security reasons.

The news of the US involvement comes two weeks after Colonel Christopher Coates said the air force, like other branches of the military, would be forced to juggle its resources during the Olympics.

Coates, the commander of Canada’s air wing in Afghanistan, said the Canadian military did not have enough helicopters to meet its commitments in Afghanistan and provide security for the Games.

But Pile said both domestic security and operations abroad will be “appropriately resourced.”

The announcement of US involvement comes as more than 1,000 soldiers, police officers and other security staff converged in the Vancouver area for a massive security planning exercise.

Exercise Silver is the second of three test runs being held for the Games and will involve live what-if scenarios on weather, terrorism, earthquakes and other possible threats to the Games.

Up to 4,000 Canadian soldiers could be on the ground in Vancouver for the Games.

The entire security operation for the Games is being overseen by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in an integrated security unit.

Altogether, about 8,000 security personnel will be involved in policing the Games.

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