Canadian military welcomes first female 2nd-in-command as it struggles with sexual misconduct crisis

·2 min read
Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen is a 38-year veteran of the Canadian military. (Facebook/Canadian Armed Forces - image credit)
Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen is a 38-year veteran of the Canadian military. (Facebook/Canadian Armed Forces - image credit)

Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen has officially taken over the role of vice chief of the defence staff, making her the first woman to hold the title of second-in-command of the Canadian military.

Allen, who was tapped for the position in March, assumed the role in a ceremony on Monday.

"The challenges facing the military and our nation are complex, elaborate and nuanced, and it is a privilege to be contributing to the way forward for the whole of the defence team," said Allen in a media statement announcing her elevation to the new role.

Allen started her career with the military in 1983. She is described by the military as a "cyber and information warfare expert" with leadership experience primarily in technical fields, including communications, network operations and information.

Allen has been Canada's military representative at NATO since July 2020.

"Lieutenant-General Allen brings tremendous command experience to the position, gained through her numerous leadership roles at multiple levels throughout her career," said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in the statement.

"She will play a vital role in enabling the institutional changes underway in the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence."

Allen's predecessor resigned amid controversy

Allen replaces Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, whose final days with the military have been marred by controversy.

Rouleau announced earlier this month that he would initiate his departure from the armed forces after reports emerged that he had played golf with retired chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance while Vance was under investigation for sexual misconduct.

Rouleau, who was vice chief of the defence staff when he played golf with Vance, was in charge of the military's provost marshal, which oversees the department responsible for internal military investigations.

It was initially announced that Rouleau would move to a new senior advisory role following Allen's promotion, though he now plans on leaving the service entirely.

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