Auburn University graduate named Canadian defense chief

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Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2013 5:00 am

Auburn University graduate Lt. Gen. Thomas Lawson was appointed Canada’s new Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces in October, according to a press release from the Canadian Prime Minister’s office.

“Lieutenant-General Lawson is the right leader for the Canadian Armed Forces and will bring a clear vision and strong values to the role,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the release. ”His experience, team-building skills and collaborative approach will help position the Canadian Armed Forces for the future.”

Harper first announced the appointment in August.

Previously the Deputy Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Lawson was officially appointed to the position during a Change of Command ceremony held at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, replacing General Walter Natynczyk.

Lawson graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada with a degree in electrical engineering in 1979. After graduating from RMC, Lawson completed wings and fighter training and in 1981 was posted to 421 Squadron in Baden, Germany, where he flew the CF-104 Starfighters. When he returned to Canada in 1985, he completed his first master’s degree in electrical engineering at the Royal Military College and served as a professor while there.

As a major in 1988, he was posted in Montgomery to attend the United States Air Forces Staff College. During that time, he also completed a master’s in public administration at Auburn.

After his time at Auburn, Lawson was posted to Cold Lake, Alberta, in 1991, where he completed CF-18 Hornet training and then returned to Canadian Forces Base Baden to fly operationally with 421 and 439 Squadrons.

Lawson has served in a variety of positions including management within the Canadian Air Force, Commandant of the Royal Military College and Deputy Commander of NORAD.

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