According to Canadian media sources, Lieutenant-General Andrew Brooke Leslie, who had retired on last year, might succeed General Walter John Natynczyk as the Chief of the Defence Staff (CODS) of the Canadian Forces.Vice-Admiral Paul A. Maddison, the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy and Lieutenant-General Thomas J. Lawson, the Deputy Commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) are also reported to be in the contention for the top post.
One of the major disadvantages which Lt Gen Leslie may have to face is that he is also from the same branch of the Canadian Forces – the army, as that of Gen Natynczyk. Traditionally the post of CODS is rotated between Army, Navy, and the Air Force. However this tradition was interrupted in 2008, when Gen Natynczyk succeeded General Rick Hillier of the Canadian Army as the military chief.
The last General from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to become the CODS was General Raymond Henault, who retired in 2005. The Royal Canadian Navy is not having representation for the top post ever since Admiral John Rogers Anderson served as the CODS for a brief period in 1993. Vice-Admiral Larry Murray also served as the acting CODS for a brief period in 1996. If Lt Gen Leslie is appointed as the military head, then four out of the five recent postings for the CODS will be from the army.
It is not clear whether the appointment of Lt Gen Leslie will face any opposition from the military circles. Two years ago, Leslie was the author of a deeply unpopular defence report, which called for steep cuts in defence spending, including the reduction of staff. He had also proposed to cut down the number of civilian contractors hired by the Department of National Defence.
Lt Gen Andrew Leslie hails from a family which is distinguished for its military experience. He is the grandson of General Andrew George McNaughton, who became the Chief of the General Staff in 1929. His other grandfather, Brooke Claxton was the Canadian Minister of National Defence from 1946 to 1954.