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Chief of the Defence Staff (Canada)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chief of the Defence Staff
Chef d'état-major de la Défense
Emblem of Chief of the Defence Staff (Canada).svg
Badge of the Chief of the Defence Staff
General Jonathan Vance CMM MSC CD

since 17 July 2015
Her Majesty's Canadian Armed Forces
TypeCommissioned Officer
StatusCurrently constituted
Reports toCommander-in-Chief
Term lengthAt Her Majesty's pleasure
First holderFrank Robert Miller
DeputyVice Chief of the Defence Staff
WebsiteOfficial website

The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS; French: Chef d'état-major de la Défense) is the second most senior member of the Canadian Armed Forces (after the commander-in-chief) and heads the Armed Forces Council, having primary responsibility for command, control, and administration of the forces, as well as military strategy, plans, and requirements. The position is held by a senior member of one of the three main branches of the Canadian Armed Forces. The current CDS, since 17 July 2015, is Jonathan Vance.[1]


Until 1964, there existed a Chief of the Naval Staff, as head of the Royal Canadian Navy; a Chief of the General Staff, as head of the Canadian Army; and a Chief of the Air Staff, as head of the Royal Canadian Air Force. A position known as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee existed from 1951 to 1964, which had a loose coordination function, although it lacked the command and control responsibilities of the later position of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).[2] Only two officers served in the role in its 13 year history:

The position of Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the positions of the three service chiefs were abolished in 1964 and replaced by the position of CDS. This change was based on a white paper initiated by Paul Hellyer, Minister of National Defence in the Cabinet headed by Lester B. Pearson.[3] Following the tabling of the white paper, the minister introduced legislation that took effect in August 1964. The newly established Chief of the Defence Staff was to "head all of Canada's military forces, backed by a defence headquarters that was integrated and restructured to reflect six so-called functional commands, replacing eleven former service commands. Functional described a command that was non-geographic and beyond any particular service or traditional arm."[3] In May 1967, Bill C-243 was passed by parliament and was effective as of 1 February 1968. The law dissolved the three armed services and created the Canadian Armed Forces under the command of the CDS.[4]

In 2011, the three functional commands—named Maritime Command, Land Force Command, and Air Command—had their original names reinstated, becoming once again the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force, respectively.[5]

Rank and command

The Chief of the Defence Staff follows in rank only the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, who appoints the CDS and is the person from whom the CDS receives his or her orders.[6] In practice, the commander-in-chief—the Canadian monarch, represented by the governor general—typically acts only on the advice of his or her ministers of the Crown, meaning the CDS normally reports directly to the Minister of National Defence.[6]

The CDS has been charged with four main priorities, each having multiple sub-priorities: The first is to conduct operations, which includes the successful implementation of domestic and international operations, protection of the forces through a culture of risk management, and ensuring that recruitment is at a level required to sustain the operational forces at full potential to meet their commitments.[7] Secondly, the CDS is expected to expand the regular and reserve forces to meet international and domestic obligations, which means the management of the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group so as to streamline the enlistment process of new forces members.[7] The third task is to implement the national defence strategy as outlined by the Queen-in-Council, requiring both the acquisition of new equipment and the strengthening of diplomatic relations via the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and North American Aerospace Defence Command."[7] Lastly, the CDS must enhance the forces' programme delivery while optimising the use of resources.[7]

The CDS is also the Chair of the Canadian Forces Decorations Advisory Committee, which reviews and recommends to the governor general members of the forces eligible to receive decorations for valour, bravery, and meritorious service, as well as Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendations.[8] This committee mirrors that for the Order of Military Merit, of which the CDS is ex-officio a member and the Principal Commander.[9]

Separately, the CDS presents the Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation (French: Mention élogieuse du Chef d'état-major de la Défense) to recognise activity or service beyond regular expectations.[10][11] It can be presented to members of the Canadian Forces, civilian members of the Defence Team (in an overseas operation), and members of an allied foreign military (whose actions benefited Canada).[11] The insignia for wear has the form of a gold bar bearing three gold maple leaves and the award comes with a scroll bearing the citation.[11] The CDS also awards the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service, which is given by the CDS on behalf of the entire forces.[12]

Chiefs of the Defence Staff

No. Portrait Name Took office Left office Time in office Home Province Defence branch Appointed by Prime Minister Ref
1Miller, Frank RobertAir Chief Marshal[a]
Frank Robert Miller
196419661–2 years British ColumbiaRoyal Canadian Air ForceVanier, GeorgesGeorges VanierLester B. Pearson[13]
2Allard, Jean VictorGeneral
Jean-Victor Allard
196619692–3 years QuebecCanadian ArmyVanier, GeorgesGeorges VanierLester B. Pearson[14]
3Sharp, Frederick RalphGeneral
Frederick Ralph Sharp
196919722–3 years SaskatchewanAir CommandMichener, RolandRoland MichenerPierre  Trudeau[15]
4Dextraze, Jacques AlfredGeneral
Jacques Alfred Dextraze
197219774–5 years QuebecMobile CommandLéger, JulesJules LégerPierre  Trudeau[16]
5Falls, Robert HilbornAdmiral
Robert Hilborn Falls
197719802–3 years OntarioMaritime CommandLéger, JulesJules LégerPierre  Trudeau[17]
6Withers, Ramsey MuirGeneral
Ramsey Muir Withers
198019832–3 years OntarioMobile CommandSchreyer, EdwardEdward SchreyerPierre  Trudeau[18]
7Thériault, Gérard Charles ÉdouardGeneral
Gérard Charles Édouard Thériault
198319862–3 years QuebecAir CommandSchreyer, EdwardEdward SchreyerPierre  Trudeau[19]
8Manson, Paul DavidGeneral
Paul David Manson
(born 1934)
198619892–3 years British ColumbiaAir CommandSauvé, JeanneJeanne SauvéBrian Mulroney[20]
9de Chastelain, JohnGeneral
John de Chastelain
(born 1937)
1989January 19933–4 years AlbertaMobile CommandSauvé, JeanneJeanne SauvéBrian Mulroney[21]
10Anderson, JohnAdmiral
John Rogers Anderson
(born 1941)
January 1993December 199311 months British ColumbiaMaritime CommandHnatyshyn, RayRay HnatyshynJean Chrétien[22]
9de Chastelain, JohnGeneral
John de Chastelain
(born 1937)
January 1994December 19951 year, 11 months AlbertaLand Force CommandHnatyshyn, RayRay HnatyshynJean Chrétien[21]
11Boyle, Joseph Édouard JeanGeneral
Joseph Édouard Jean Boyle
(born 1937)
January 19968 October 19969 months OntarioAir CommandLeBlanc, RoméoRoméo LeBlancJean Chrétien[23]
-Murray, LarryVice-Admiral
Larry Murray
(born 1937)
8 October 199617 September 1997344 days OntarioMaritime CommandLeBlanc, RoméoRoméo LeBlancJean Chrétien[24]
12Baril, MauriceGeneral
Maurice Baril
(born 1943)
17 September 199728 June 20013 years, 284 days QuebecLand Force CommandLeBlanc, RoméoRoméo LeBlancJean Chrétien[25]
13Henault, RaymondGeneral
Raymond Henault
(born 1949)
28 June 200117 June 20053 years, 354 days ManitobaAir CommandClarkson, AdrienneAdrienne ClarksonJean Chrétien[26]
14Hillier, RickGeneral
Rick Hillier
(born 1955)
17 June 20051 July 20083 years, 14 days Newfoundland and LabradorLand Force CommandClarkson, AdrienneAdrienne ClarksonPaul Martin[27]
15Natynczyk, WalterGeneral
Walter Natynczyk
(born 1957)
1 July 200829 October 20124 years, 120 days ManitobaLand Force Command/
Canadian Army
Jean, MichaëlleMichaëlle JeanStephen Harper[28]
16Lawson, Thomas J.General
Thomas J. Lawson
(born 1957)
29 October 201217 July 20152 years, 261 days OntarioRoyal Canadian Air ForceJohnston, DavidDavid JohnstonStephen Harper[29]
17Vance, JonathanGeneral
Jonathan Vance
(born 1964)
17 July 2015Incumbent4 years, 328 days OntarioCanadian ArmyJohnston, DavidDavid JohnstonStephen Harper
Justin Trudeau

See also


  1. ^ This rank was used during the 20th century existence of the Royal Canadian Air Force and replaced with the rank of general in 1968 with the unification of the Canadian Forces. See Category:Canadian Forces Air Command generals for such officers. Miller was one of only two Canadian Air Chief Marshals, the other being Lloyd Samuel Breadner


  1. ^ Brewster, Murray (17 July 2015). "New defence chief pledges to end misconduct". CanWest. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  2. ^ Canadian Army (1949–1964), "Fonds of the Chief of the General Staff", in Department of National Defence (ed.), Histories > DHH Historical Research Centre > Research > DHH Archive Database > Reports > Miscellaneous Reports/Documents > DHH Archival Database Extract (PDF), Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, p. 40, 97/10, retrieved 22 September 2009
  3. ^ a b Government of Canada. "Canadian Military History Gateway > Volume 3 (1872–2000) > CHAPTER 7: From Cold War to Present Day > Unification > Hellyer's Integration of the Three Services". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 4 July 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  4. ^ Government of Canada. "Canadian Military History Gateway > Volume 3 (1872–2000) > CHAPTER 7: From Cold War to Present Day > Unification > Implementing Unification". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 4 July 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  5. ^ Fitzpatrick, Meagan (16 August 2011). "Peter MacKay hails 'royal' renaming of military". CBC. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b Department of National Defence. "CDS Home > Responsibilities > CDS – Responsibilities". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d "Chief of the Defence Staff > Priorities > About the CDS – Defence Priorities for 2009–2010". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  8. ^ Department of National Defence (2007), Honours & Recognition for the Men and Women of the Canadian Forces (PDF), Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, p. 105, archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2009, retrieved 22 September 2009
  9. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > National Orders > Order of Military Merit". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 3 August 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  10. ^ Government of Canada (2013), Honours and Recognition for the Men and Women of the Canadian Armed Forces (PDF), Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, p. 17, retrieved 16 November 2015
  11. ^ a b c Department of National Defence. "Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  12. ^ Department of National Defence 2007, p. 80
  13. ^ Legault, Albert (1992). A Diplomacy of Hope: Canada and Disarmament. McGill-Queen's Press. ISBN 0-7735-0955-0.
  14. ^ "General Jean-Victor Allard". Virtual Museum of Canada. Archived from the original on 26 February 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  15. ^ Preston, Richard (1991). To Serve Canada. University of Ottawa Press. ISBN 0-7766-0327-2.
  16. ^ Horn, Bernd (2007). Loyal service: Perspectives on French-Canadian Military Leaders. Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 1-55002-693-3.
  17. ^ Martell, Paul (1974). World Military Leaders. Bowker. ISBN 0-8352-0785-4.
  18. ^ "General Ramsey M. Withers". Conference of Defence Associations. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  19. ^ Marsh, James (2006). The Canadian Encyclopedia. Hurtig Publishers. ISBN 0-88830-330-0.
  20. ^ "Gen. Paul D. MANSON". Canadian Who's Who 1997. Retrieved 21 March 2009.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ a b Bernd, Horn (2001). Warrior Chiefs: Perspectives on Senior Canadian Military Leaders. Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 1-55002-351-9.
  22. ^ "Admiral John R. ANDERSON". Canadian Who's Who 1997. Retrieved 21 March 2009.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "General Joseph Édouard Jean BOYLE". Canadian Who's Who 1997. Retrieved 21 March 2009.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ "Vice-Admiral Larry MURRAY". Canadian Who's Who 1997. Retrieved 21 March 2009.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Assumption of Command of Lieutenant-General J.M.G. Baril". Governor General of Canada. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  26. ^ "NATO Biographies: Chairman of the Military Committee, General Raymond Henault". North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  27. ^ "CBC News in Depth: Gen. Rick Hillier". CBC. 15 April 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  28. ^ "Deputy Minister General (retired) Walt Natynczyk". Veterans Affairs Canada. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  29. ^ "General Thomas J. Lawson named Canada's New Chief of Defence Staff". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  30. ^ "New defence chief pledges to stamp out sexual misconduct". Global News. Retrieved 17 July 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 3 April 2020, at 23:00
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