The Chief of Defence Staff is the single commanding officer of the Canadian Forces, the Canadian version of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The post was created in 1964 when the Army, Navy and Air Force were amalgamated. The CDS is also the head of the Armed Forces Council and Principal Commander of the Order of Military Merit.
The Chiefs of Defence Staff (and their main regiments or posts before being appointed to high command) have been:
Air Chf. Mshl. Frank Robert Miller CC CBE CD (1908-1997), 1964–1966. Director of Training Plans and Requirements, RCAF.
Gen. Jean-Victor Allard CC CBE DSO ED CD (1913-1996), 1966–1969. Royal 22nd Regiment.
Gen. Frederick Ralph Sharp CMM DFC CD (1915-1992), 1969–1972. RCAF Training Command.
Gen. Jacques Alfred Dextraze CC CMM CBE DSO CD (1919-1993), 1972–1977. Royal 22nd Regiment.
Adm. Robert Hilborn Falls CMM CD (1924-2009), 1977–1980. HMCS Bonaventure.
Gen. Ramsey Muir Withers CMM CD (1930-2014), 1980–1983. Royal 22nd Regiment.
Gen. Gérard Charles Édouard Thériault CMM CD (1932-1998), 1983–1986. Collège Militaire Royal, St-Jean (Air Command).
Gen. Paul David Manson OC CMM CD (b. 1934), 1986–1989. 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron.
Gen. Alfred John Gardyne Drummond de Chastelain CC CMM CD CH (b.1937) (1st time), 1989–1993. Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
Adm. John Rogers Anderson CMM CD (b.1941), 1993-94. HMCS Restigouche.
Gen. Alfred John Gardyne Drummond de Chastelain CC CMM CD CH (b.1937) (2nd time), 1994–1995. Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
Gen. Joseph Édouard Jean Boyle CMM CD (b.1947), January–October 1996. 4 Fighter Wing.
Vice Adm. Lawrence Edward Murray CM CMM CD (b.1947) (acting), 1996–1997. HMCS Iroquois.
Gen. Joseph Gérard Maurice Baril OC CMM MSM CD (b.1943), 1997–2001. Royal 22nd Regiment.
Gen. Raymond Roland Joseph Henault CMM MSC CD (b.1949), 2001–2005. 444(CA) Tactical Helicopter Squadron.
Gen. Rickey John Hillier OC CMM MSC CD (b.1955), 2005–2008. Royal Canadian Dragoons.
Gen. Walter John Natynczyk CMM MSC CD (b.1957), 2008–2012. Royal Canadian Dragoons.
Gen. Thomas J. Lawson CMM CD (b.1957), 2012–now. 421 Squadron.