OTTAWA – National Defence has formally announced that the general who is currently in charge of Canada’s overseas headquarters will lead a newly combined organization that’s at the centre of the Harper government’s overhaul of the military.
Lt.-Gen. Stuart Beare says the creation of the Canadian Joint Operations Command will make the military more nimble.
His appointment marks the beginning of a series of command appointments and changes that come in the wake of the federal budget.
The re-organization is expected to see the department lose about one-quarter of its headquarters overhead.
Beare, in an interview with The Canadian Press, said the combining of the overseas, domestic and support organizations will give him and future commanders the flexibility to be able to move soldiers, aircrew, sailors and equipment around with more ease.
The Harper government has made a point of emphasizing over the last few years that the military has been called upon to conduct several operations — both at home and abroad — at once.
The example most often used was how National Defence prosecuted the war in Afghanistan and at the same time handled both the humanitarian operation following the Haitian earthquake and security for the Olympics.
The re-organization of Defence is prompted by a nearly $1.5 billion reduction in the department’s budget.
An internal notice that went out Friday says the combining of commands won’t get rolling until September, when most of the military’s transfers and posting take effect.
Beare, a veteran of a senior NATO command post in Afghanistan, has been among those on the list as a possible replacement for Gen. Walt Natynczyk.
Rumours have been circulating for weeks that Natynczyk is ready to retire after nearly four years as the country’s top military commander.
But Friday’s command announcement made no mention of the top general’s future.