Politics

Former deputy NORAD commander leaving military after having an affair while in U.S.

A senior Canadian military officer has announced his departure from the armed forces after an affair he had with an American civilian became public.

Lt.-Gen. Christopher Coates announced his pending departure in a message to service members this morning

Col. Christopher Coates talks to media at the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on April 6, 2009. Coates, since promoted to Lt.-Gen, resigned from the military Monday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrice Bergeron)

A senior military officer who had an affair while serving as deputy commander of North America's early warning system is leaving the military.

Lt.-Gen. Christopher Coates announced his pending departure in a message to service members this morning, weeks after the affair with an American civilian — while he was second-in-command at NORAD headquarters in Colorado — became public.

The Department of National Defence has said Coates did not violate any rules as the civilian was not under his command, and that he reported the affair to American and Canadian officials.

The affair still cast a spotlight on Coates, who was not mentioned in the military's recent round of postings and retirements for senior military officers, raising questions about his future.

Coates returned to Canada from Colorado last year to take over as commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, which is responsible for running all military operations in Canada and around the world.

In his message to the troops, Coates says his decision to leave the military was his alone and that he made it for personal reasons and in the best interests of the Canadian Armed Forces.

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