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OTTAWA — A former combat commander who has led operations at home and overseas has been appointed to the country’s top military job.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Jason Kenney say Lt.-Gen. Jonathan Vance will be the next chief of defence staff, replacing the soon-to-retire Gen. Tom Lawson.

Vance twice led the army’s task force in Kandahar during the Afghan war.

Lawson, a former fighter pilot, announced earlier this year that he would step down after two-and-a-half years in the job.

Vance currently serves as the country’s joint operations commander, and has been the face of high-profile public briefings on the combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Aside from twice being task force commander in Kandahar – in 2009 and again in 2010 – Vance has also served in other key posts, including head of the strategic joint staff, the military’s nerve centre in Ottawa.

The Canadian Press

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