**** CAF Release
Lieutenant-General Christopher Coates assumes responsibility of Canadian Joint Operations Command
A transfer of command authority ceremony took place in which Lieutenant-General Christopher Coates assumed responsibility for Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) from Major-General Bill Seymour, who has been Acting Commander of CJOC since June 26, 2020.
The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, presided over the morning ceremony between the outgoing and incoming Commanders, which was witnessed by a limited audience at CJOC headquarters.
CJOC is the command within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) responsible for the planning, execution and support of deployed Canadian military operations in Canada and around the world.
Lieutenant-General Coates began his military career in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as a tactical helicopter pilot, serving with squadrons in Germany and across Canada. Throughout his distinguished career, he has served in numerous staff positions, including with: 1 Wing HQ In Kingston, Ontario; the Chief of the Air Staff in Ottawa; and the Combined Air Operations Centre of 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His diverse experience also includes planning Canada’s tactical aviation contributions to missions worldwide, such as in Haiti, Honduras, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Afghanistan. Notably, as the first Commander of the Joint Task Force – Afghanistan Air Wing in Kandahar, Afghanistan, he re-established the RCAF’s medium-to-heavy-lift Chinook helicopter capability. Subsequently, his career included several senior command appointments: Deputy Commander Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida; Deputy Commander Continental Operations at CJOC; Director of Operations for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and, most recently, as the NORAD Deputy Commander.
Major-General Seymour’s career in the CAF began as a navigator aboard maritime long-range patrol aircraft. Most recently, he served as the CJOC Chief of Staff Operations and as Deputy Commander. Major-General Seymour assumed provisional command of CJOC last month as Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau departed for his new post as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. Following this transfer of authority, Major-General Seymour will continue serving at CJOC as Deputy Commander.
“Congratulations to Lieutenant-General Coates on his new appointment as Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command. He brings a wealth of experience to this important role to lead our operations in Canada and overseas.”
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
“Congratulations to Lieutenant-General Coates on becoming Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command. His extensive operational and command experience, including having previously served as CJOC’s deputy commander for continental operations, make him ideally suited to lead the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces. I also send my congratulations and deepest thanks to Major-General Bill Seymour for his outstanding leadership during his tenure as the Acting Commander of CJOC. His stewardship of that command allowed CAF domestic and expeditionary operations to continue during these challenging times.”
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff
“I am honoured to be appointed Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command, and grateful for the opportunity to lead a command that delivers tactical and operational excellence by sending Canadian sailors, soldiers, aviators and special operators on missions across this great country of ours, our shared continent, and throughout the globe. This is a homecoming for me, I’m glad to be back at CJOC, and I look forward to building upon my past time here and the very rewarding leadership experience I recently had with the North American Aerospace Defense Command in the United States. The Canadian Armed Forces is an impressive national institution, continually achieving a lot for Canadians, and CJOC plays a vital role in that. Together with the CJOC command staff and the entire team, I look forward to continuing and building upon that course.”
Lieutenant-General Christopher Coates, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command
“When I departed Canadian Joint Operations Command last month to become Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, I handed responsibility and authority for CJOC over to my exceptionally capable deputy, Major-General Bill Seymour. As the Acting Commander CJOC, Major-General Seymour today transfers over full command of CJOC to my successor, Lieutenant-General Christopher Coates. I congratulate Lieutenant-General Coates for what I know will be a most rewarding command appointment and career experience, and extend my thanks to Major-General Seymour for his solid stewardship of CJOC during this interim period. Commanding CJOC was an absolute privilege for me, in every sense of the word – and I know that Lieutenant-General Coates will feel so as well.”
Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff