Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement announcing the upcoming appointment of the new Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS):
“I am pleased today to announce that Lieutenant-General Jonathan Vance, CMM, MSC, CD, currently Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, will be appointed Chief of the Defence Staff. He will replace General Tom Lawson who has been serving in the position since October 2012. The change of command ceremony and Lieutenant-General Vance’s promotion to the rank of General will take place in the coming weeks.
“Lieutenant-General Jonathan Vance has had a distinguished career in the Canadian Armed Forces with significant experience defending Canadian sovereignty at home and around the globe. He has previously served as Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples in Italy. He also served as Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, National Defence Headquarters as well as Chief of Staff Land Strategy, Canadian Army.
“He assumed his position as Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command in September 2014. As part of his duties, he has overseen both the air and ground deployments against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) as well as Canada’s contribution to NATO in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
“Lieutenant-General Vance will provide strong leadership for the Canadian Armed Forces at a critical time in its history. His years working with key allied forces and partners, his combat experience, his strategic leadership, and his experience in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism warfare will help position the Canadian Armed Forces for continued success.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank General Tom Lawson for his 40 years of service to Canada and for his exemplary leadership. Since his appointment as CDS in late October 2012, General Lawson has led the Canadian Armed Forces through a challenging but positive period, which included the deployment of: the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; land, air and maritime forces in support of NATO Reassurance Measures in the face of Russian aggression; Canadian Armed Forces personnel in support of the International Coalition against the so-called Islamic State; and medical specialists into Sierra Leone to help address the spread of the Ebola virus.
“Through all of these demanding assignments, I could always count on clear and thoughtful advice from General Lawson, stemming from his experience, sound judgement, professionalism and unwavering dedication to both Canadian Armed Forces personnel and to keeping Canadians safe at home and abroad. His legacy at the Department of National Defence will live on in these accomplishments and in the reforms and initiatives he championed to ensure our Forces remain the best in the world.”