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December 29, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

Navy commander Art McDonald named next head of the Canadian Armed Forces

By Lee BerthiaumeThe Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The federal Liberal government has tapped a sailor to steer the Canadian Armed Forces, appointing Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice-Admiral Art McDonald as the next chief of the defence staff.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced McDonald's appointment during one of his regular COVID-19 updates on Wednesday, ending months of speculation about who would succeed Gen. Jonathan Vance as Canada's top military commander.

“In his new role as chief, Vice-Admiral McDonald will oversee the work of the Canadian Armed Forces, including on vaccine rollout through Operation Vector,” Trudeau said in reference to the military's role distributing COVID-19 vaccines across Canada.

“I know that Vice-Admiral McDonald's leadership and expertise will be invaluable as the armed forces continue to work around the clock to keep Canadians safe.”

A former frigate captain who oversaw part of Canada's humanitarian response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 before commanding the country's Pacific fleet, McDonald will be the first naval officer to serve as the permanent defence chief since 1993.

A change of command ceremony is planned for the week of Jan. 11, when McDonald will formally take over from Vance.

Wednesday's announcement followed months of speculation around who would succeed Vance, who first announced in July that he was planning to retire after more than five years at the helm.

Much of the speculation had revolved around whether Trudeau would appoint Canada's first-ever female chief of the defence staff by tapping Lt.-Gen. Christine Whitecross for the job.

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