The former head of Canada's spy agency is bringing those skills to a new role in the government: national security adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Richard Fadden was the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service from 2009 to 2013 before being named deputy minister of National Defence, the top civil service role in the department, in May, 2013.

The national security role will allow the long-time bureaucrat to apply lessons from both those roles.

Fadden has worked for the federal government since 1977, including two years with the Privy Council Office, the department of the civil service that works most closely with the Prime Minister's Office. Fadden was deputy clerk there from 2000 to 2002, including several months where he "assumed the additional duties of security and intelligence coordinator," according to a news release from the PMO.

Fadden raised controversy in 2010 after telling CBC News that some provincial politicians had "developed quite an attachment to foreign countries."

"There are several municipal politicians in British Columbia and in at least two provinces there are ministers of the Crown who we think are under at least the general influence of a foreign government," Fadden said in the exclusive interview. He had previously named China as an aggressive recruiter in Canada.

Joining Fadden as deputy national security adviser is the PCO official responsible for the government's border action plan, David McGovern. Both men assume their new roles on Jan. 19.

Harper's office announced a number of changes in the highest ranks of the public service on Tuesday, including:

  • George Da Pont, currently deputy minister of health, becomes deputy minister at Public Works.
  • Simon Kennedy, currently deputy minister for International Trade, replaces Da Pont at Health.
  • Christine Hogan, currently foreign and defence policy adviser to Harper, replaces Kennedy as deputy minister for International Trade.

And Shared Services Canada, which connects the federal government's IT, human resources and other services, will have a new chief operating officer as of Feb. 2, the news release said.

John A. Glowacki Jr. will replace Grant Westcott in the job.​