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Chief of the Defence Staff

The Chief of the Defence Staff has primary responsibility for command, control and administration of the Canadian Forces and military strategy, plans and requirements. The Chief of the Defence Staff is 23rd on the Canadian Order of Precedence.



The Chief of the Defence Staff is appointed by the Governor-in-Council on the advice of the Prime Minister. The CDS also has a special relationship to the Governor General who, as the Queen's representative in Canada, exercises virtually all of her powers under the Constitution and, therefore, serves as Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces. Thus there is in formal terms, though not in practice, a direct "line of command" from the Head of State through the CDS to all the officers who hold the Queen's Commission and, through them, to all members of the Canadian Forces.

The Chief of the Defence Staff is charged with the command, control and administration of the Canadian Forces and advises the Minister on all these matters - including military requirements, capabilities, options and the possible consequences of undertaking or failing to undertake various military activities. Whenever required, the Chief of the Defence Staff advises the Prime Minister and Cabinet directly on major military developments. The CDS is thus the senior military advisor to the Government as a whole.

The Chief of the Defence Staff implements government decisions involving the Canadian Forces by issuing appropriate orders and instructions. The CDS is accountable to the Minister for the conduct of CF activities, as well as for the condition of the Forces and their ability to fulfil the military commitments and obligations undertaken by the government.

General Jonathan Vance

General Jonathan Vance
General Jonathan Vance
General Jonathan Vance has had a distinguished career in the Canadian Armed Forces with significant experience defending Canadian sovereignty at home and around the globe. He has previously served as Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples in Italy. He also served as Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, National Defence Headquarters as well as Chief of Staff Land Strategy, Canadian Army.

He assumed his position as Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command in September 2014. As part of his duties, he has overseen both the air and ground deployments against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) as well as Canada’s contribution to NATO in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

General Vance will provide strong leadership for the Canadian Armed Forces at a critical time in its history. His years working with key allied forces and partners, his combat experience, his strategic leadership, and his experience in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism warfare will help position the Canadian Armed Forces for continued success.

SOURCE: Department of National Defence.

See also
Former Chiefs of the Defence Staff
Canadian Armed Forces Council
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Army
Royal Canadian Navy
Disaster Assistance Response Team
Royal Canadian Air Force
Joint Task Force 2
Communications Security Establishment

External Links
Chief of the Defence Staff Official Website
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces Official Website
Learn more about joining the Canadian Armed Forces

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Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt