OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 27, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, made the following statement today:
"Our Canadian Forces are leaders both here at home and on the world stage. The calibre of our personnel is world-class, and our men and women need and deserve a leader in uniform who reflects and upholds that high standard. They have had that type of leadership to date and I'm pleased to tell you that that will continue.
Today, I'd like to introduce Canadians to Lieutenant-General Tom Lawson, who will be the new Chief of the Defence Staff to the Canadian Forces, and the top soldier for our country. Those in uniform will be familiar with Lieutenant-General Lawson. He is a 37-year member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and will now assume the highest rank within the Canadian Forces.
Lieutenant-General Lawson is an exceptional, dynamic leader who brings a great deal of domestic, international and operational experience to the table. He has the respect of his peers, the admiration of his subordinates and our allies, and the complete confidence of both the Prime Minister and myself.
Throughout his time in uniform he has been deeply committed to the service of Canada through the Canadian Forces, and has consistently proven himself to be proficient and professional in everything he does.
He has had a diverse and storied career which has included, among many other posts and responsibilities, time as a fighter pilot defending our skies and those of our allies, as Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, and most recently as Deputy Commander of NORAD, North America's aerospace defence command located in Colorado Springs.
In my time as Minister of National Defence, I have heard time and time again from personnel of all ranks about the extremely personal bonds that he's developed with colleagues, staff and former Royal Military College students, and about the lasting, positive impressions he's made on all of those who have had the good fortune of serving with him.
And in my estimation they're absolutely right.
Lieutenant-General Lawson is coming into the role at an important time within the Canadian Forces' history - a time of continued adjustment and defence transformation to meet the needs of our times and of the future, be they along the vast horizon of the Arctic tundra, in the military training schools of northern Afghanistan, or on seas and waterways near and far.
And like General Natynczyk before him, our new Chief of Defence Staff has some big combat boots to fill.
General Natynczyk, of course, has been an outstanding leader and champion for the Canadian Forces in every sense of the word.
He has been extraordinarily effective, compassionate, and hands-on leader who has delivered for the Forces, and thanks in no small part to his commitment and dedication, the Canadian Forces have vaulted forward in their capabilities to defend Canada and its interests domestically and around the world. He has been particularly effective in promoting the interests of military families and our ill and injured.
In passing command to Lieutenant-General Lawson, the Prime Minister and I are very confident in the strong guidance that our personnel have received under his predecessors will continue, and that our Government's goals will continue to be achieved.
I am delighted to welcome him to the position, and I look forward to working with him more closely in his new role as Canada's top military commander.
Tom: I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your wife Kelly the very best as you prepare for your move. I'm sure that your wife and your sons Benjamin, Neil and Jack - two of whom are also, I note, members of the Royal Canadian Air Force - are extremely proud of you, as all Canadians are this day."