Vice-Admiral Mark Norman assumes the role of Vice Chief of Defence Staff during a change of command ceremony Aug. 5 at the Cartier Square Drill Hall in Ottawa.

Vice-Admiral Norman takes over the second in command role of the Canadian military from Lt. Gen. Guy Thibault.

Lt. Gen. Thibault is retiring after 38 years of service in the military.

The eldest son of an army officer and grandson of a First War veteran, Vice-Admiral Norman completed his schooling in Kingston, Ontario. Having originally joined the Naval Reserve as a Diesel Mechanic at HMCS CATARAQUI in 1980, he transferred to the regular force as a Sub-Lieutenant in 1985.

A specialist in Above Water Warfare, his experience at sea includes a variety of appointments the most notable of which are the commissioning and maiden operational deployment of HMCS Halifax, Executive Officer of HMCS Iroquois, Commanding Officer of HMCS St. John’s, and Commander Canadian Fleet – Atlantic.

Vice-Admiral Norman was promoted to his current rank to become Chief of the Naval Staff and Commander Royal Canadian Navy in June 2013. As the 34th custodian of a 103-year-old institution, he is supporting the CDS’ four command priorities by leading the RCN to: ensure continued excellence in operations; enable the transition to the future fleet; evolve the RCN’s business around Defence Renewal; and energize the entire RCN team and friends of the Navy around the RCN’s essential purpose and bright future.

Lt. Gen. Guy Thibault. small
Lt. Gen. Guy Thibault

Lt.Gen. Thibault joined the Canadian Forces in 1978 and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Physics at the Royal Military College.  Upon completion of Army Signal Officer training in Kingston, he served in various operational capacities within the Special Service Force in Petawawa as well as 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, and Canadian Forces Europe in Lahr, West Germany.

As a General Officer, he has served as Commander Land Force Central Area – Joint Task Force Central Region; Deputy Commander Canadian Army – Assistant Chief of the Land Staff; as well as the Canadian Forces J6 and Chief of Staff for ADM (Information Management). In this latter capacity, he also assumed the role as Branch Leader for the Canadian Forces Communications and Electronics Branch.

Upon promotion to Lieutenant-General in 2011, he served as the first chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) in Washington, DC. This international organization is an entity of the Organization of American States and is the oldest regional defense cooperation organization in the world.

Lt. Gen. Thibault assumed the duties of Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) in September 2013, and as such serves as the second in command of the Canadian Armed Forces, Commander of the VCDS Group and is responsible and accountable to the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Deputy Minister to coordinate and direct activities to ensure departmental defence policy and strategic objectives are achieved.