New Director for Canadian-led Ministerial Liaison Team in Iraq

News Release

July 13, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Brigadier-General (Brig.-Gen.) Steven Whelan assumed the lead of the Global Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team (MLT) today in Baghdad, Iraq. Brig.-Gen. Whelan takes over from Brig.-Gen. David J. Anderson who has held the director’s position since the launch of the MLT in March 2016.

The Canadian-led MLT provides strategic advice and assistance to Iraq’s Ministries of Defence, Interior, Health, and Peshmerga, as well as the National Security Advisor and the Prime Minister’s National Operations Center to further synchronize Coalition and Iraqi security forces efforts to defeat Daesh in Iraq.

The MLT and other commitments from the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) Operation IMPACT continue to play a significant role alongside Coalition partners by supporting Iraqi security forces, conducting air operations, and providing strategic military support to the Government of Iraq. 


“With his extensive operational experience and international expertise, Brigadier-General Whelan is well suited to take the direction of the Ministerial Liaison Team in Iraq and he will be a great leader to this multinational team of high-level advisors. I would also like to thank Brigadier-General Anderson for his dedication as the first Ministerial Liaison Team Director, providing outstanding leadership, contributing to develop key military leaders and helping build institutional capacity.”           

—    Lieutenant-General Stephen Bowes, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command

“It is a privilege for me to continue Canada’s commitment to our Iraqi partners in this special role. Brigadier-General Anderson did set the conditions for the continued success of the Ministerial Liaison Team and I look forward to working with my United States and international colleagues at Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve as well as with Iraq’s ministry representatives, who are all making great progress to ensure the ultimate defeat of Daesh.”

—    Brigadier-General Steven Whelan, Incoming Director, Ministerial Liaison Team

“As I complete my tour in this position, it is important to highlight the progress that Iraqi forces have made over the past year. Over the last year, Daesh has lost close to 75% of the territory that it once controlled in Iraq, and this is largely due to the growing effectiveness and unquestioned bravery of Iraqi security forces. I wish Brigadier-General Whelan the best as he brings his own expertise and experience to the mission—he is absolutely the right man for this job.”

—    Brigadier-General David J. Anderson, Outgoing Director, Ministerial Liaison Team

Quick Facts

  • Like his predecessor, Brig.-Gen. Whelan holds the title of CJ-7, Director of Training. This position is responsible for the MLT, as well as for the Coalition’s train and equip enterprise through the Partner Force Development Cell, which are both part of the US-led Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve.

  • Brig.-Gen. Whelan comes to his current position with extensive operational experience. During his career, he deployed to Cyprus, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and to the West Bank as Canadian Task Force Commander, working for the United States Security Coordinator who is responsible for Palestinian Security Sector Reform on behalf of the U.S. Secretary of State.  

  • In Canada, Brig.-Gen. Whelan commanded the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, and most recently, served as the Deputy Commander and subsequently Commander of Military Personnel Generation in Kingston, Ontario. He is a recipient of the Order of Military Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, several Commendations, and the Legion of Merit from the Armed Forces of the United States.

  • During the past year, as part of the Government of Canada’s continued contribution to multinational efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh, the CAF added a highly capable Role 2 medical facility, an All-Source Intelligence Centre, and a tactical aviation detachment of CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Op IMPACT. These components, amongst the other capabilities deployed under Op IMPACT, such as the Air Task Force-Iraq and the train, advise and assist mission with Iraqi security forces, are part of the CAF’s commitment to a unified, stable, and secure Iraq.

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