A battle-tested CDS: General Johnathan Vance
A battle-tested CDS: General Johnathan Vance

In a recent interview with the National Post’s long-time columnist/war correspondent Matthew Fisher, new Chief of Defence Staff General Johnathan Vance provided his take on the current issues dominating his agenda.
Vance explained that he was concerned for the internal institution of the Canadian Armed Forces, and didn’t like the fact that the issue of sexual assault may cause Canadians to think less of the military. “I’d like to think that we, the Canadian population and our internal audience, has seen and will see that the Canadian armed forces will respond effectively to any harm that comes to anybody.”
One of the first things Vance will address in his new role will be to address the Deschamps report. On that, the General stated: “That plays to a wider effort that the armed forces needs to be a good place to work. It is not a good place to work if you are being harassed in any form, let alone sexual harassment.”
On ISIL and Russia, Vance said it was clear to him that “they are both fighting for the bottom of the barrel in terms of their credibility and their actions in global affairs.” While the Russians may not be impressed with their country being thrown in with a barbaric terrorist group, Vance says, at this point, his main concern is ISIL, “only because we are in direct contact with them in terms of air operations.”
While Vance may be primarily concerned with ISIL, he didn’t hold back on opinions of Russia, calling them “an equally challenging threat.”
“Any actor of that size and strength that is failing to follow international norms of law,” he began, “and using force and a combined force of instruments of national power to change borders while not respecting the peaceful processes that ought to be used is also a threat and it could manifest itself in something far more dangerous than (ISIL) in the future.”
On the Canadian tempo of operations, Vance was confident that Canada could continue “with what we are doing now, indefinitely.” He also suggested Canada could do more, if required.
When asked about Iraq, Vance was confident that the current strategy was the right direction, explaining it is entirely appropriate that the government of Iraq to “assume responsibility for the ground operations that will ultimately have to come and are in progress right now to secure their borders.”
Although these are early days in the General’s new position as Canada’s top soldier, he is certainly showing the type of decisive leadership the military — and this country — needs.