General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), will provide an address outlining the current state and priorities of Canada’s Armed Forces, at the next Signature Lecture at The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

“The State of the Canadian Armed Forces and Its Priorities,” will take place on Thursday, February 13.

CIGI invites media to cover this free public Signature Lecture. Members of the media can register in advance by emailing Kevin Dias, CIGI communications specialist, at [email protected]. Members of the public who want to attend in person can find more information, including how to register, by visiting: Those who are not in Waterloo or who want to watch the lecture from home can view the live-webcast at no cost by visiting the same link for registration.

General Lawson was promoted to his current rank and was formally appointed as the Canadian Forces’ CDS on October 29, 2012. As defined in the National Defence Act, the CDS has direct responsibility for the command, control and administration of the Canadian Forces, and is appointed by the Governor-in-Council, on the advice of the Prime Minister. The CDS is also the senior serving military advisor to the Government of Canada.


General Thomas J. Lawson, CMM, CD, graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1979. Upon completion of his flight training in 1981, he was posted to 421 Squadron in Baden, Germany. Following this four-year tour, he completed a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering through RMC, and then went on to serve as a professor at the College. Promoted to Major in 1988, General Lawson was posted to Montgomery, Alabama, to attend the United States Air Force Staff College. During that time, he also completed a Master's Degree in Public Administration at Auburn University. Posted to Cold Lake, Alberta, in 1991, General Lawson completed CF-18 Hornet training and then returned to Germany for a second operational tour, this time with 421 and 439 Squadrons. In 1996, General Lawson was posted to Ottawa as a career manager and soon after promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. Then in 1998, while still serving in Ottawa, he was appointed Commanding Officer of 412 Squadron. Upon completion of that assignment in 2000, he was placed in charge of career management for the Air Force, at which time he also completed the USAF Air War College Program. Promoted to Colonel in 2003, General Lawson held various staff positions within the Air Force before joining the CAF Transformation Team in 2005 where he led the stand-up of the Strategic Joint Staff organization. Posted to 8 Wing Trenton in 2006, he completed a year as the Wing Commander before being promoted to Brigadier-General. In May of 2007 he was appointed Commandant of the Royal Military College in Kingston. In 2009, General Lawson was promoted to Major-General and appointed Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. In July 2011, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General and posted to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, where he assumed responsibility as the Deputy Commander North American Aerospace Defence Command. General Lawson was promoted to his current rank and was formally appointed as the Canadian Forces’ Chief of the Defence Staff on October 29, 2012.

Public Event:

CIGI Signature Lecture: “The State of the Canadian Armed Forces and Its priorities” by General Tom Lawson

Date: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Time: 7:00 p.m.

The CIGI Campus Auditorium
67 Erb St. West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7238, Email: [email protected]  

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit


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