Command of the Global Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team (MLT) was handed over to BGen. Steven Whelan in Baghdad, Iraq on July 14.
Whelan takes over command of the MLT from BGen. David J. Anderson, who held the position since the launch of the team in March 2016.
“As I complete my tour in this position, it is important to highlight the progress that Iraqi forces have made over the past year. Over the last year, Daesh has lost close to 75% of the territory that it once controlled in Iraq, and this is largely due to the growing effectiveness and unquestioned bravery of Iraqi security forces. I wish Brigadier-General Whelan the best as he brings his own expertise and experience to the mission—he is absolutely the right man for this job,” said Anderson.
The MLT is a Canadian-led initiative that provides strategic advice and assistance to Iraq’s Ministries of Defence, Interior, Health, and Peshmerga, as well as the National Security Advisor and the Prime Minister’s National Operations Center to further synchronise Coalition and Iraqi security forces efforts to defeat Daesh in Iraq.
BGen. Whelan comes into his new position with years of operational experience. He has been deployed to Cyprus, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and to the West Bank as Canadian Task Force Commander, working for the United States Security Coordinator who is responsible for Palestinian Security Sector Reform on behalf of the U.S. Secretary of State.
Domestically, Whelan has commanded the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.
Most recently, he served as the Deputy Commander and subsequently Commander of Military Personnel Generation in Kingston, Ontario.
Whelan is a recipient of the Order of Military Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, several Commendations, and the Legion of Merit from the Armed Forces of the United States.
“It is a privilege for me to continue Canada’s commitment to our Iraqi partners in this special role. Brigadier-General Anderson did set the conditions for the continued success of the Ministerial Liaison Team and I look forward to working with my United States and international colleagues at Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve as well as with Iraq’s ministry representatives, who are all making great progress to ensure the ultimate defeat of Daesh,” said BGen. Whelan.
In his new position, Whelan holds the title of CJ-7, Director of Training, a position responsible for the MLT, as well as for the Coalition’s train and equip enterprise through the Partner Force Development Cell. Both are part of the US-led Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.
“With his extensive operational experience and international expertise, Brigadier-General Whelan is well suited to take the direction of the Ministerial Liaison Team in Iraq and he will be a great leader to this multinational team of high-level advisors. I would also like to thank Brigadier-General Anderson for his dedication as the first Ministerial Liaison Team Director, providing outstanding leadership, contributing to develop key military leaders and helping build institutional capacity,” said LGen. Stephen Bowes, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command.
In the last year, Canada’s continuing contribution the multinational effort against Daesh has seen the addition of a highly capable Role 2 medical facility, an All-Source Intelligence Centre, and a tactical aviation detachment of CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Op IMPACT.