Devlin named Canada's new army chief

Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin is the new commander of Canada's army and chief of the land staff, while his predecessor also begins an important new role.

Devlin succeeds Leslie, who becomes chief of Canadian Forces transformation

Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin has been named the new commander of Canada's army and chief of the land staff, while his predecessor also begins an important new role.

Devlin, who was appointed in a ceremony held in Ottawa Monday, is taking over from Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, who had held the post since 2006.

Leslie becomes the new chief of transformation for the Canadian Forces. He is to help shepherd the entire military toward its post-Afghanistan future at a time when the Conservative government is wrestling with an expected $49-billion deficit.

Leslie is being asked to rethink the entire force — from front-line fighting units right up to the number of generals in Ottawa.

When he took command four years ago, the army was understaffed, underequipped and overworked, Leslie said, adding that today's army is bigger and better equipped.

"As compared to four years ago, the army is over 3,000 regular forces soldiers bigger," he said. "Billions of dollars have been spent on equipment to better protect our soldiers as they close with and destroy a cunning and ruthless foe."

In 2006, the military had just been through a reorganization of its Kandahar headquarters. Several new commands were created, and military management took on a new shape.

Those high-level changes were designed by Gen. Walt Natynczyk, who became chief of the defence staff. Natynczyk has now asked Leslie to review those changes. Looking at the military from the top down, he's to figure out how to get more soldiers into the field.

"More sailors sailing, more air force folk out on the flight line, and so of necessity, where do you find those folk? What is it that they're doing [now]? How important is it, and where does it rack and stack in terms of a priority list?"

Leslie has so far been given no limits. The questions he'll ask will start at the top with how troops are commanded, and flow straight down to the muddy bottom, to how they're organized to fight. His changes could lead to a complete reorganization.

"Anything is possible," he said.

The job will take about a year and will end just as the top job as chief of the defence staff is expected to open up, putting Leslie in line for that position.

The commander of Canada's 2,800 military personnel in Afghanistan is Brig.-Gen. Jon Vance, who will hold that role until the fall.

Corrections

  • Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin was named the new commander of army and chief of the land staff. He is not the new commander of all Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, as incorrectly reported in an earlier version of this story.
    Jun 21, 2010 12:30 PM ET