Major Stephen Barfoot observes outerspace for National Defence

Major Stephen Barfoot is currently serving in the Department of National Defence as project manager for a space-based optical sensor that’s job is to collect observations from outerspace.

OTTAWA—Major Steven Barfoot is 34-years-old and was born and raised on Manitoulin. The son of Bryan and Barbara Barfoot of Nameless Lake, Major Barfoot attended C.C. McClean Public School in Gore Bay, followed by Manitoulin Secondary School before he enrolled in the Royal Military College of Canada.

“I decided to join the military for the unique opportunities and the privilege and honour to serve Canada as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces,” Major Barfoot told The Expositor.

He began his military career as an Officer Cadet when he enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2001 and graduated as a Second Lieutenant in 2005.

“From there I successfully completed my air traffic control course and qualified as a terminal controller in Greenwood Air Force Base in Nova Scotia in 2007,” he explained.

Shortly after, Major Barfoot was promoted to Lieutenant and then to Captain in 2008. In 2009, he volunteered for a one-year assignment to Thule, Greenland as a Crew Commander in Space Operations.

“From there I was posted to Colorado Springs as a Flight Commander,” he continued, noting that he returned to Canada in 2013 as the Watch Officer for the Canadian Space Operations Centre in Ottawa.

He was promoted to his current rank of Major in 2015 and deployed to Kuwait on Operation IMPACT as the Joint Space Support Team Officer. Operation IMPACT is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) contribution to the Middle East Stabilization Force, the multinational coalition to halt and degrade Daesh (ISIS). Under Operation IMPACT, the CAF conducts air operations, provides training and assistance to the Iraqi security forces, provides capacity building capabilities to regional forces and supports the coalition with highly-skilled personnel such as Major Barfoot.

“I’m currently working in Ottawa at the Department of National Defence (DND) Headquarters as the Project Director for the follow-on capability to Sapphire—DND’s only space based optical sensor that collects space observations.”

When asked what Remembrance Day means to him, Major Barfoot responded, “To me, it means an opportunity to reflect upon the sacrifices that so many Canadians have made to defend and fight for our values and freedom. This is a time to remember those we lost in battle, as well as honour and thank our veterans for their service.”