Top ranks of Canadian Forces get shake-up with new army, navy commanders

Canada's top general is shaking up the highest ranks of the Canadian Forces with the appointment of new commanders for the army and navy in the wake of a series of high-profile retirements.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman promoted as military's second in command

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance has announced changes to the top ranks of Canada's military. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Canada's top general is shaking up the highest ranks of the Canadian Forces with the appointment of new commanders for the army and navy following several high-profile retirements.

"I offer my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all those completing their honourable and selfless service to Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces," Gen. Jonathan Vance said in a statement announcing the departure of seven senior officers.

"I also extend my congratulations to those taking on new appointments and responsibilities. I have the utmost confidence that you will continue to serve and lead beyond expectation in your new positions."

The current commander of the navy, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, will serve as second in command of the Canadian Forces, taking over the job of vice chief of the defence staff at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman will serve as second in command of the Canadian Forces, taking over the job of vice chief of the defence staff at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa. He is the outgoing commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. (Canadian Forces)

The man he is replacing, Lt.-Gen. Guy Thibault, will retire from that position after three years on the job.

Rear Admiral Ron Lloyd, a former commander of the Pacific fleet and the current chief of staff development, will take over for Norman as commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Maj.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk, a veteran of the Afghan conflict and the army's outgoing chief of defence intelligence, will replace Lt.-Gen. Marquis Hainse as commander of the Canadian Army. 

Hainse, who was once touted as a possible successor for Gen. Tom Lawson, will be sent to Brussels where he will serve as the Canadian military representative to NATO headquarters.

Wynnyk will also be elevated to the rank of lieutenant-general, the second highest officer rank after general.

The shake-up comes six months after Vance took over for Lawson, who retired from the Canadian Forces last summer.

After Lawson announced his plans to step down last spring, the military released a report on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the military. Vance said as he assumed the role of CDS that he would tackle the issue of misconduct in the military "very personally and very quickly."

The new leadership will also oversee a shift in Canada's role in combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as the Liberal government is moving ahead with plans to pull back Canada's CF-18 fighter jets from the region.

In a one-on-one interview with CBC News, Gen. Jonathan Vance, the new chief of the defence staff, says fear of abuse or harassment 'degrades' the military. 0:50

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