A number of changes are in the works for military brass, including the retirement of the head of the air force and the promotion of the first woman to run the personnel branch.

The country's top military commander, Gen. Tom Lawson, has announced a series of promotions and new postings, many of which take effect throughout the coming months.

The biggest change is the departure of Lt.-Gen. Yvan Blondin, a veteran fighter pilot who became head of the air force just over two years ago and was one of the biggest champions of the controversial F-35 program.

He will be replaced by Maj.-Gen. Mike Hood, who will get a promotion to lieutenant-general later in the year.

Hood's position, as director of the military's nerve centre at Strategic Joint Staff, will be filled by Maj.-Gen. Charles Lamarre, who led the task force that closed down Canada's mission in Kandahar.

It was also announced that Maj.-Gen. Christine Whitecross will take over as chief of military personnel, replacing Lt.-Gen. David Millar, who led efforts within National Defence to manage the suicide crisis among soldiers in 2013-14.

Whitecross has broken a number of barriers within the military, being the first female commanding officer of construction engineering unit and she was also the first female commander of the country's Joint Task Force North.

"I've never been comfortable with the phrase 'first female'," Whitecross told a internal National Defence publication last fall. "And I never engaged in women's issues until I became a (commanding officer) and had the opportunity to mentor. I realized that you can really make a difference by opening doors for people, which is so satisfying."

Whitecross becomes Canada's first female "three-leaf" general (a rough equivalent to a "three-star" general in the U.S.) Her new role includes managing mental health and harassment issues in the Canadian Forces.

Also, the military surgeon-general, Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier, will be replaced by Col. Colin MacKay.  Bernier is retiring from the regular force and transferring to the reserve force, but remains with the Royal Canadian Medical Service.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this Canadian Press story said that Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier was retiring. In fact, Bernier is transfering to the reserve force and remains with the Royal Canadian Medical Service.
    Feb 12, 2015 7:41 AM ET
With files from CBC News