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Chief of the Defence Staff Set to Retire

Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) General Wayne Eyre announced his plans to retire this summer. After three years in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) top position, the General announced his retirement plans in January 2024.

“Next month will mark my third year as CDS. Last summer, I informed the Government of my intent to retire in the early summer of 2024 and proposed a deliberate transition plan with stability of the CAF as its overarching principle,” stated CDS General Wayne Eyre in a message to the Defence Team.

With retirement on the horizon, the General noted that to facilitate his plans and ensure an “orderly and deliberate handover,” he has asked that a successor be identified as soon as possible.

“For the multiple cascades, this change will generate as part of the active posting season, as well as a suitable preparation period for my successor, a best practice from a number of our allies,” stated the General.

Chair of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Rob Bauer (centre) and Chief of the Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre (right) visit the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. Image courtesy CAF.

Time As CDS

Appointed as Acting CDS on Feb. 24, 2021, at the time a lieutenant general, General Eyre left his post as Army Commander to fill the Canadian Armed Forces’ top position.

He was eventually promoted to General six months later, on Aug. 20, 2021, and on Nov. 25, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced General Eyre was appointed Chief of the Defence Staff.

General Eyre noted, “The last three years have been characterized by multiple crises and challenges, and an unrelenting demand for CAF support. In all, you, the members of the Defence Team, have delivered magnificently.”

He closed his message, “Rest assured that my foot will not come off the gas until my last day as your CDS. It has been, and continues to be, an honour to lead the Canadian Armed Forces.

“Defence Team – thank you for all that you do for our country.”

The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) General Wayne Eyre, CMM, MSC, CD is greeted by Operations Officer for Operation UNIFIER-UK, Captain Ekam Uppal, on 28 October 2022 in the United Kingdom. Photo: Corporal Eric Greico, Canadian Armed Forces Photo.

About General Eyre

General Wayne Eyre grew up near Wadena, Saskatchewan, and spent his high school years in Medicine Hat, Alberta. When he was 12, he joined Army Cadets and later attended Royal Roads Military College and Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston.

CAF Top Positions Timeline

  • June 2016 Appointed Deputy Chief Military Personnel
  • May 2018 Deputy Commander Designate of United Nations Command (UNC) Korea
  • June 21, 2019: Appointed Chief Military Personnel
  • August 20, 2019: Appointed Army Commander
  • February 24, 2021: Appointed Acting Chief of the Defence Staff
  • August 20, 2021: Promoted to General
  • November 25, 2021: Appointed Chief of Defence Staff
Then Deputy Commanding General, Operations for XVIII Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Brigadier-General Wayne Eyre accompanies members of the 82nd Airborne Division onboard a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft. The American troops and Canadian Armed Forces General will be parachuting from the Canadian aircraft as part of the Joint Operational Access Exercise (JOAX) being held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Career Highlights

Upon commissioning in 1988, he joined the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). Over a 36-year career, General Eyre has held deputy command and command positions, which included:

  • Commanding Officer, the 3rd Battalion PPCLI,
  • Commander 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group,
  • Commander 3rd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force West,
  • Deputy Commanding General – Operations for XVIII (US) Airborne Corps,
  • Deputy Commander of Military Personnel Command, and
  • Commander of Military Personnel Command, for a short time,
Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) from all nations participating in the Arctic CHODs 2022 take a group photo at Signal Hill in St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador on 8 August, 2022. Left to right: Ms. Bryndís Kjartansdóttir Director General, Directorate of Security and Defence Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, General Mark A. Milley Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff for Canada, General Flemming Lentfer Chief of Defence of Denmark, General Timo Kivinen Chief of Defence of Finland, and Major General Odd-Harald Hagen Norwegian Defence Attaché to the U.S. and Canada. Photo: MCpl Matthew Tower, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Canadian Armed Forces Photo,

General Eyre deployed to Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia, and twice to Afghanistan with the Canadian Operational Mentor and Liaison Team in Kandahar. In addition, he advised the 1-205 Afghan National Army Brigade in combat and as the Commanding General of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan.

In 2018, he was appointed Deputy Commander Designate of United Nations Command (UNC) Korea. He was the first non-US General Officer to hold the post in its 68-year existence.

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