Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Transfer of Authority Ceremony

August 4, 2020 – Defence Stories

Photo caption

Gen Vance addresses the gathering and those watching on the live stream. The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Change of Command parade takes place at Carling Campus in Ottawa, Ontario on 15 July, 2020. Photo: Corporal Tori Lake, NCR Imaging Services - CFSU(O) © 2020 DND-MDN Canada

On July 15, 2020 Lieutenant-General (LGen) Mike Rouleau assumed responsibility as the 27th Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) joining a distinguished list of people to hold the position of second in command of the Canadian Armed Forces. LGen Rouleau’s appointment as VCDS follows the retirement of LGen Jean-Marc Lanthier who departs the office and the military after over 30 years of dedicated service.

LGen Lanthier leaves a legacy of service to Canadians and to Canada, having previously held command positions from his early career with 12e Régiment blindé du Canada and 5e Groupe-brigade mécanisé du Canada culminating in his appointment as commander of the Canadian Army. During those years, he participated in six international deployments and two domestic operations including in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Haiti. For his service he was recognized as a Commander of the Order of Military Merit and was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the United States Legion of Merit (with oak leaf).

LGen Rouleau brings to the office a wealth of knowledge and experience acquired during his 32 years of service both within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and as an emergency response officer for the Ottawa Police Services. He has made a global impact for Canada and Canadians, having commanded in Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Africa. Holding degrees from University of Manitoba, Royal Military College of Canada, and Harvard University, LGen Rouleau embodies the warrior scholar.

Photo caption

LGen Rouleau addresses the gathering and those watching on the live stream. The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Change of Command parade takes place at Carling Campus in Ottawa, Ontario on 15 July, 2020. Photo: Corporal Tori Lake, NCR Imaging Services - CFSU(O) © 2020 DND-MDN Canada

The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Vance, presided over the transfer of authority in the presence of the Deputy Minister, Ms Thomas, the Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, LGen Allen, the Chaplain General, MGen Chapdelaine, the Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence, Mr Rochette, the Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Guimond, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Chief Warrant Officer, CWO Colbert, and the Canadian Joint Operations Center Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Grégoire.

With strict limits on indoor gatherings at the moment, the Transfer of Authority between LGen Lanthier and LGen Rouleau looked a little different to previous ceremonies. There were no crowds of well-wishers, family, and friends present. Instead, the Defence Team and members of the public across the country and around the world were invited to watch the ceremony live as it streamed on a CAF Facebook page. To be able to accommodate ceremonies like this while being able to ensure Health Protection Measures for COVID-19, Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa) created a multipurpose space at National Defence Headquarters (Carling) where participants were able to maintain two metres distance and sanitation routines were ensured pre- and post-event.

The CDS, the DM, the Chaplain General, and the incoming and outgoing VCDSs spoke during the event which has been viewed more than 30,000 times on social media offering words of thanks, reflection, and commitment to the defence of Canada.

LGen Lanthier

“Pam, Vicky, Gaby: it has been an exciting life, and WE could not ever have accomplished what we have done without YOUR love, support, patience, encouragement, and your faith in me.  You are so resilient and have always been my greatest supporters. 

“To our sailors, soldiers, aviators, special operators and public servants, I owe you the greatest debt of gratitude … You make this country proud, you make all of us proud.”

Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister

“Jean-Marc, Minister Sajjan sends his greeting and his thanks. He sends his thanks to you for your exceptional service as well as a welcome to you, General Rouleau for what is ahead.”

General Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff

“This year has been a reminder that we live in a complex and dynamic world, where unforeseen circumstances can force considerable change upon us. Facing this reality, and persistent challenges from adversarial actors, the CAF must continue to evolve and adapt. The VCDS position is integral to that, and I can think of no one better to take up this challenge than LGen Mike Rouleau. ”

LGen Rouleau, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

“I will work hard. I will work right. And as a big organization we will no doubt make mistakes. But when we do we will identify them, own up to them, and correct them.

“…[My] tenure will be characterised by collaboration, transparency, strong truths, and trust. Through robust management and stewardship practices we will push for the most sustainable and balanced enterprise possible, always remembering that at the end of the day we serve those who deliver operational effects in the land, air, maritime, space, and cyber domains and that in a pan domain context.”

You can view the livestream of the VCDS ToA on the CAF Facebook page here.

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