Aug 14, 2012 / 1:06 pm
A behind-the-scenes battle over who will succeed the country's defence chief has spilled out in public and exposed the bitter, often conflicting visions of where the Canadian military is headed following the Afghan war.
Rumours have been rampant that the Harper government is willing to go outside the ranks of Canadian Forces brass in order to recall a trusted, retired officer to fill the shoes of Gen. Walter Natynczyk, whose departure is expected within weeks.
One name in particular has been that of former lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie, who headed the Canadian army until 2010 and penned a milestone report that recommended a radical overhaul of the military command structure.
An online media report claiming Leslie had been been interviewed for the job was roundly denied today by several well-placed sources. Leslie, now a senior executive at the CGI Group, would not comment.
The other name churning through the rumour mill is retired air force lieutenant-general Angus Watt, who now heads the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.
Douglas Bland, chair of defence management studies at Queens University, says the prime minister is intent on reforming National Defence, and the rumours suggest there's resistance to the changes on the way.
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