General Jonathan Vance was appointed Canada’s new Chief of the Defence Staff during a change of command ceremony held Friday in Ottawa.
The ceremony marked the official transfer of command of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) from General Tom Lawson to General Jonathan Vance.
“I wish to thank General Lawson for his lifetime devotion to the CAF over his 40 years of distinguished military service, particularly as Chief of the Defence Staff during challenging times. I wish him and his family all good things in the future,” ” said Jason Kenney, National Defence Minister.
The event was presided over by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Jason Kenney, National Defence Minister and the Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence were also in attendance.
Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence stated General Lawson has made outstanding contributions to Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, not just in his three years as Chief of Defence Staff but also his four decades of distinguished service. He wished him well in his future endeavours.
“I am equally pleased to extend a sincere welcome to General Jonathan Vance to this prestigious position. The Chief of the Defence Staff represents the pinnacle of military leadership,” said Fantino.
Per the National Defence Act, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) has direct responsibility for the command, control, and administration of the Canadian Armed Forces, and is appointed by the Governor-in-Council, by recommendation of the Prime Minister.
The CDS also has a special relationship with the Governor General, who, as the Queens representative in Canada, exercises virtually all of the powers of that office under the Constitution and serves as Commander-in-Chief of the CAF.
General Lawson is retiring after 40 years of distinguished service in the CAF. His career began at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. Following his graduation, he served as a fighter pilot on the CF-104 and later on the CF-18.
He has held several commands and senior positions throughout his career, including Commanding Officer of 412 (Transport) Squadron in Ottawa, Commander of 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, Ontario, Commandant of RMCC, and Deputy Commander North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD).
“I will always remain extremely proud of the many accomplishments of the Canadian Armed Forces during the three years I served as CDS. I wish to thank our members and their families for their continued exemplary support and loyal service. I know that Canada’s forces will remain in good hands as General Vance takes command and I wish him the utmost success in the position,” said Lawson.
Vance joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1982 and, in 1986, upon graduation from Royal Roads Military College, was commissioned as an infantry officer into The Royal Canadian Regiment.
He commanded at all levels within the field force as well as 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Edmonton before deploying as Commander of Joint Task Forces Afghanistan and Kandahar in 2009, and again in 2010. General Vance also completed a tour as Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, in July 2014, before assuming the position as Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command later that year.
“I thank General Lawson for his valued contributions to the CAF. He has had an exceptionally long and productive career, filling a range of roles including scholar, pilot, commander and the most senior position in the CAF. I look forward to this rare privilege of commanding the men and women of our armed forces. I will do my utmost to care for our people and ensure operational excellence now and into the future. I am very pleased to be your new Chief of the Defence Staff,” said Vance.
This change of command comes at a time when the CAF are involved in two major military operations. Operation IMPACT is the Canadian Armed Forces contribution to the Middle East Stabilization Force the multinational coalition to halt and degrade the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Republic of Iraq and in Syria, while Operation REASSURANCE provides support to NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe.
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Top Photo: General Tom Lawson, outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada and General Jonathan Vance, incoming Chief of the Defence Staff, sign the Appointment Certificate during the ceremony for the Change of Command of the Canadian Armed Forces, on July 17, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario.
Photo: Cpl Darcy Lefebvre, Canadian Forces Combat Camera