Chief of the Defence Staff - Biography

General W.D. EYRE, CMM, MSC, CD

-General W.D. EYRE

Gen Eyre was appointed acting Chief of the Defence Staff on 24 February 2021.

Gen Eyre grew up on a farm near Wadena, Saskatchewan, and spent his high school years in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He joined Army Cadets at age 12 and has been in uniform ever since.

Gen Eyre attended Royal Roads Military College (RRMC) Victoria and Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston. Upon commissioning in 1988 he joined Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and has had the great privilege of spending the majority of his career in command or deputy command positions, including commanding 3rd Battalion PPCLI, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, 3rd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force West, Deputy Commanding General – Operations for XVIII (US) Airborne Corps, Deputy Commander Military Personnel Command, Deputy Commander United Nations Command in Korea, and for a short time Commander of Military Personnel Command. He became Commander Canadian Army on 20 August 2019.

Operationally, Gen Eyre has commanded a rifle platoon with the United Nations Force in Cyprus; 2PPCLI’s Reconnaissance Platoon with the UN Protection Force in Croatia (including the Medak Pocket); a rifle company in Bosnia with NATO’s Stabilization Force; the Canadian Operational Mentor and Liaison Team in Kandahar, Afghanistan advising 1-205 Afghan National Army Brigade in combat; as the Commanding General of NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, where he oversaw the force generation, institutional training, and professional development of the Afghan National Security Forces; and as the first non-U.S. Deputy Commander of United Nations Command Korea in its 69 year history, and as such is the most senior Canadian officer ever permanently stationed in the Asia Pacific region. Among various domestic operations, he was the military liaison to the Government of Manitoba for the 1997 floods, commanded a company fighting the 1998 BC forest fires, commanded the Task Force that secured the 2010 G8 Summit, and commanded the military response to both the 2015 Saskatchewan wildfires and the 2016 Fort McMurray evacuation.

As a staff officer, Gen Eyre has served with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Land Force Western Area Headquarters, in the Directorate of Defence Analysis at NDHQ, and as the J3 of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification Course, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the U.S. Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting, and the U.S. Army War College. He holds a Bachelor of Science and three Masters Degrees (Military Studies, Operational Studies and Strategic Studies). His decorations include the Order of Military Merit in the rank of Commander, the Meritorious Service Cross, the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation, the Chief of Defence Staff Commendation, the Order of National Security Merit from South Korea and was three times awarded the U.S. Legion of Merit, including at the rank of Commander.

Admiral Art McDonald, CMM, MSM, CD

A Bluenoser born in New Waterford, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in 1967, Admiral Art McDonald became Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) and assumed command of the Canadian Armed Forces 14 January 2021, becoming the 20th CDS. Prior to his appointment as CDS, Adm McDonald commanded the Royal Canadian Navy from 2019 to 2021. He had also previously commanded at the ship (HMCS HALIFAX 2007-2009), Operations Group / Fleet (Maritime Operations Group Five 2010-2011), and Formation (Maritime Forces Pacific and Joint Task Force Pacific 2016-2018) levels.

After completing basic Naval Warfare Officer training and then becoming an Above Water Warfare specialist in the early nineties, he spent most of the next two-decades as a sea-going officer while serving in HMC Ships VANCOUVER, HALIFAX, MONTREAL, and CALGARY, with the Canadian Fleet Pacific staff, as Executive Officer in REGINA 2003-2005, and as Commanding Officer in HALIFAX 2007-2009. In so doing, he deployed repeatedly – including three Arabian Gulf and one Adriatic Sea tours - and also circumnavigated the globe (CALGARY, 1995). As a Capt(N), he was the Maritime Component Commander of Canadian Joint Task Force (Haiti), leading sea-based humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He then commanded a seven-ship combined, multi-national Task Group in the High Arctic later in 2010 during the annual Op NANOOK. Later, as a RAdm, he also led the CAF’s recurring Op LENTUS responses to historic fires and floods in BC while commanding Joint Task Force Pacific 2016-2018.

As a staff officer, Adm McDonald served four tours on the Naval Staff in National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. In addition to service as Deputy Commander RCN 2018-2019, he was Director General Naval Force Development (DGNFD) 2013-2016, Director Naval Requirements (DNR) 2012-2013, and Executive Secretary to the Chief of the Maritime Staff 2005-2007.

A 1990 graduate of the Royal Military College (RMC) of Canada who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Military and Strategic Studies and a Masters of Defence Studies, Adm McDonald is also a graduate of the 2003 Canadian Forces College (CFC) Command and Staff Course, the 2012 CFC National Security Studies Programme, and the 2014 US GOFO Capstone Program. A 2016 alumnus of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies, he is also a graduate of the Senior Executives in National and International Security program at Harvard University (2017).

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