Chief of Defence Staff Tom Lawson is stepping down, which is not great timing for NPSIA since we have him at our school on Monday. But it does allow us to play the favorite game of: guess the next CDS.
I suck at this game, having guessed wrong before. When Rick Hillier stepped down, I had a favorite candidate--the officer that I knew personally and whom I thought would be a good political choice given his Quebec origins--Mike Gauthier. Gen. Walt Natynczyk was chosen, and should have been the obvious candidate, given that he is quite soft-spoken. I tend to bet on Stephen Harper seeking to manage messaging more than most other priorities, so this choice made some sense.
Next time, Harper chose Tom Lawson, which was a bit surprising to me since the Air Force had been much trouble--F-35 and all that. Still, Lawson has proved to be pretty good at sticking to the messaging.
Which is why I doubt that Jon Vance, currently the Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, is likely to be chosen. Vance proved in Afghanistan that he was willing to push hard against the rest of the government when he thought his model village plan was better than sticking to the playbook as written. That is, he did not care so much about the magical six priorities and three signature projects--he would build schools that did not count on the whole of government map of 50 schools. I just don't see Harper going that route.
Beyond that, I am not sure. There is no formal rotation among the services, with the Navy being left out of this spot for 18 years. However, given that the Navy has much of the focus in the years ahead with the shipbuilding program, it might make sense to put the Navy first for a change.
I honestly don't know, but if I were in Vegas, I would wager on the Not Army line if the odds were good.