First time in 20 years Canadian Armed Forces Member to Take Top Spot at NATO Defense College

The Canadian Armed Forces top female officer, LGen. Christine Whitecross, was recently appointed as the new Commandant of the NATO Defense College in Rome.

“I am humbled to have been considered and selected as the next Commandant for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense College in Rome, to begin in summer 2017.

“As the third Canadian Commandant leading the College since its foundation, this role presents a unique opportunity to represent Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces abroad. Since joining the Alliance in 1949, Canada has played a substantial role in the military-political strategies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Among my chief priorities will be building and further strengthening our relationships with all countries in the defence network, and moving the organization into a future of strategic and operational success,” said Whitecross, Commander of Military Personnel Command.

Whitecross, who joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1982, has served in a variety of high-ranking posts and deployments throughout her career, including the United Nations Protection Force, in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia; Commander, Joint Task Force (North), Yellowknife, NWT; and Deputy DCOS Comms, ISAF HQ, Kabul Afghanistan.  Most recently, she was serving as the Commander of the Canadian Forces Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct.

“In assuming my new responsibilities, I will draw on my past experience, and in particular my role as Commander of Military Personnel Command within the Canadian Armed Forces. As Commander of Military Personnel Command, I recognize the value of solid foundational training and professional development for all leaders as well as institutional excellence.

“My life’s passion has been to create a more respectful and inclusive environment for everyone. As the first woman appointed to be the Commandant of the College, I’m honoured, and I look forward to representing all Canadians and the Canadian Armed Forces in a manner that reflects our best values,” added Whitecross in a statement.

Whitecross will be the first Canadian to head the NATO school in more than 20 years. In 1992 Lt.-General (ret.) Richard Evraire held the post. Whitecross is also the first woman to be appointed Commandant of the NATO Defence College.

“My predecessor, Poland’s Major General Bojarski, has reinforced the role of the NATO Defense College as an indispensable part of NATO, as well as its training and educational significance for tomorrow’s leaders, both military and civilian, who have gone on to work at NATO Headquarters and its Commands.

“The College fosters strategic level thinking on political-military matters and prepares selected officers and officials for important NATO and NATO-related multinational appointments, conducts academic studies and research in support of the Alliance’s wider goals, and supports an active outreach program with other educational institutions,” stated Whitecross.


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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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