DT News: LGen Chris Whitecross on commanding the NATO Defense College under the circumstances surrounding COVID-19

Video / July 16, 2020


(Jeff) Lieutenant-General Chris Whitecross recently transferred command of the NATO Defense College in a ceremony held in Rome, Italy.

Lieutenant-General Whitecross, who assumed command of the college over 3 years ago, now looks forward to her upcoming retirement following a storied military career during which she was frequently recognized for her service with Canadian Armed Forces, NATO, and in various command positions.

Good day, ma’am. Thank you very much for joining us.

Can you tell us a little bit about what's it been like commanding the NATO Defence College in the present circumstances, say compared to the pre-COVID environment?

(LGen) In terms of the environment obviously everything had to go online. We had to bring in some special programs, the IT systems, and then the e-learning concept. And then we had to teach while we were actually conducting a course. It was almost like building an airplane while you’re flying it. So we’re trying to put all the components together in order to make it effective.

(J) So ma’am as you’ve moved through the ranks as one of the Canadian Armed Forces’ top leaders, how has the organization evolved to become more diverse and representative organization since you joined?

(LGen) Full integration and inclusivity is a Force enabler. It makes us a better military, it makes us a better country and it makes us solve problems in ways we weren’t able to do in the past. And I think that is the fundamental change that has set the Canadian Armed Forces up for success in the future.

(J) Ma’am, do you have any advice for anyone who is considering a career in the Canadian Armed Forces?

(LGen) Oh absolutely, I think it’s been a tremendous career for me and many of my colleagues. When people ask me – I do a lot of speaking engagements. I speak to a lot of youth groups, I speak to a lot of business men and business women. You know, when they ask “Do you think a career in the military is a good idea?” My answer, automatically, is “Absolutely”. I mean, if you’re looking for an environment where you can work hard, play hard, be involved in important issues of the day, of leading men and women in uniform, of doing interesting jobs and motivations. All that kind of stuff, my answer is absolutely and fundamentally “Yes”.

(J) Thank you very much, ma’am, Lieutenant-General Whitecross. Congratulations on an exceptional career and thank you very much for joining us.

(LGen) It’s completely my pleasure.

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