Vice-Admiral Art McDonald Flag Hoist Signal

Navy News / September 16, 2019

As I assume command from my long-time shipmate, Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd, I am humbled and honoured to follow in the wake of the admirals that preceded me upon being chosen as your 36th commander.

After all, you, today’s sailors, are an impressive lot to command: inspired equally by a rich history and the bright future that the ongoing largest peacetime fleet recapitalization in our history ensures.

You are equal parts warrior and diplomat as you inspire with the depth and breadth of your successes alongside partners and allies at home and around the globe; as you routinely combat crises - man-made or naturally occurring; as you ensure that you remain ready to help, ready to lead and ready to fight.

CPO1 David Steeves, the great new Command Chief with whom I am proud to once again share a watch, and I are excited to have this opportunity to continue supporting and enabling you. Standing on the cusp of a ship delivery every year for the next two decades, our future is bright.

That future has been carefully crafted in recent years with the precision of a master carpenter by our dear, now-retired shipmates, VAdm Ron Lloyd and CPO1 Michael Vigneault, who have created the enormous momentum from which we will benefit for years to come.

The Command Chief and I join all of you in celebrating the storied careers of these fine gentlemen whose exceptional service and leadership we all salute as they retire.

As the next watch in our journey kicks-off, you can rest assured that Navy leadership will continue to be seized with caring for and enabling you, the amazing Canadians who are RCN sailors, our shipmates and the families that support you, while we ensure together that the great people-delivered successes for which the RCN is known can continue to be realized.

People first, mission always remains the prime directive.

Not surprisingly, therefore, we need to continue to be particularly proud that the RCN/CAF continues to be at the forefront of the social and institutional issues that matter to Canadians: from listening to and working with our First Nations and Inuit, to championing inclusion and diversity, and to tackling conduct issues head-on. We need each do our part to ensure that continues.

Our status as a Forbes-recognized best Canadian employer depends upon it.

Our shipmates depend upon it. Those whom we serve depend upon it.

As we look to the future, shipmates, the “how” behind what we do will continue to matter enormously.

As you consider this, I just ask that you remain focussed on what is core to our name: ships. Yes, our warships for sure - job one - but also the other ships that are key to our success: in addition to warships, there is relationships, ownership, mentorship, shipshape and shipmates. These need be the watch-words that serve as the lead marks of our pursuits and the keys to addressing the challenges that will inevitably arise.

Meanwhile, as we continue to effect with success a decade-long transformation impacting every tenet of our business and the pursuit of the programme defined in our RCN strategic plan 2017-2022, in the immediate term, I share with you that I believe there will be no significant course corrections ahead.

In fact, to borrow on assuming the watch, the order is STEADI.

This defines not only an intent, an approach, a course, but I suggest in this case, today, it is also an acronym that defines what we will prioritize in the programme as we remain focussed on impressive change and sustain agendas:

S - Ships, because fleet recapitalization remains a critical enabling imperative;

T - Training system overhaul, to enable us to operationalize the ships we get immediately upon delivery and inspire the new sailors joining in this exciting time in our history;

E - Empowerment, because leadership at all levels - and especially from the lowest possible levels - is the key to the hardest fought victories;

A - Accountability, the turbo charger to empowerment;

D - Diversity and inclusion, because as a trusted national institution we are stronger in reflecting the core values, beliefs and cultures of all Canadians as a moral and operational imperative at home and abroad; and,

I - Innovation (I because that’s how innovative we can be), because today’s RCN is a navy characterized as much by progress as it was once by tradition, a critical-enabler and advantage upon which we are coming to depend.

Shipmates, the Command Chief and I look forward to being “wind in your sails,” supporting you and your families as we strive to celebrate, champion and enable you.

VAdm Art McDonald, CRCN36, Sends