Canada Military Overhaul: Shake Up Among Military Brass Imminent

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CANADA NATIONAL DEFENCE
Future headquarters of Department of National Defence is pictured in Kanata, West of Ottawa, Sunday April 29, 2012. The Canadian Press Images/Francis Vachon | CP

OTTAWA - The general who is currently in charge of Canada's overseas headquarters is expected to be named to lead a newly combined organization that's at the centre of the Harper government's overhaul of National Defence.

The Canadian Press has learned the appointment of Lt.-Gen. Stuart Beare could come next week.

Beare's appointment as head of the newly created Canadian Joint Operations Command is expected to mark the beginning of a series of command appointments and changes.

The shuffling comes in the wake of a major re-organization that will see the department lose about one-quarter of its headquarters overhead.

Senior government and military sources confirmed Beare's appointment to The Canadian Press late Friday, calling him a natural choice after nearly a year of leading the military's expeditionary command.

It potentially removes him from contention for the job of chief of defence staff.

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.

Others considered in the running include Vice Admiral Paul Maddison and Maj.-Gen Mike Day, who is about to end a stint as the deputy commander of the NATO training mission in Kabul.

Rumours have been circulating for weeks that Natynczyk is ready to retire after nearly four years as the country's top military commander.

The re-organization of Defence is prompted by a nearly $1.5 billion reduction in the department's budget, but defence sources say the changes will not be entirely noticeable until next year.

The restructuring of commands will see the headquarters that manage domestic, international and support operations merged into one organization and Beare will have three deputy commanders working under him.

Whether staff at the other headquarters will be packed into the separate overseas command building in east-end Ottawa remains to be seen.

The consolidation is something that was described as a necessity in a review report by last year by the former head of the army, retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie.

Precisely how many job losses or retirements that will mean is unclear.

Leslie's report painted a picture of a military fat with administration and private contracting support.

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