LGen Andrew Leslie was born in December 1957, and his initial schooling was conducted in Canada, the USA, France, Cyprus, and Switzerland, where he became bilingual. His family has a tradition of military service and he joined the 30th Field Artillery Regiment while at Ottawa University. While a student in England he was attached to the Honorable Artillery Company. In 1980 he attended the International Peace Academy UN Staff Seminar in Vienna, Austria. In 1981, he transferred to the regular force and initially served with the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Germany, the regiment that - like his father before him – he eventually commanded. He has completed the British Army Troop Commanders and Tactics course, French Army Commando training, the hand-to-hand combat course, and the combat intelligence course. Other training includes the infantry company commander's course, a variety of artillery courses, Army and the Forces staff colleges, training in project management and the parachute course.
After a succession of field tours with mechanized and airborne combat units in Germany, Cyprus and Canada and command appointments up to regimental level, in early 1995 he was promoted to Colonel and sent to the Former Yugoslavia as Chief of Staff Sector South (Brigade Level). He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his actions under fire during the fighting for Knin in August 1995. He then became the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of UNCRO (Division level), and finally Chief of Staff of UNPF (Mission level). Following the UN hand-over to NATO forces, LGen Leslie returned to Western Canada as the Area Chief of Staff in 1996, and served in that capacity during the Manitoba floods of Spring 1997.
In July 1997 he became the Commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1CMBG), an infantry-heavy combat formation based in Western Canada, where the focus was on live-fire combined arms training. In early 1998, 1CMBG deployed to the South shore of Montreal to assist with ice-storm disaster relief operations, followed by an almost continuous cycle of Battle Group and Brigade exercises. That same year he was awarded the Order of Military Merit. In 1999 he was promoted Brigadier-General while a student on the Advanced and National Securities Studies Courses in Toronto. In 2000 he was appointed the J6 of the Canadian Forces, responsible for commanding the communications field groups and regiments, the signals and electronic intelligence functions and supporting the various computer networks used by the Forces. In 2002 he became the Commander Land Force Central Area, responsible for one regular and three reserve Brigades as well as several bases and training establishments.
LGen Leslie was appointed Commander Task Force Kabul and Deputy Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan as of June 2003, and on his return he was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross. He then became the Assistant Chief of the Land Staff. In Fall 2004 to June 2005 he was a full-time PhD student at the Royal Military College in Kingston. In June 2005, he was appointed Director General Strategic Planning in Ottawa. In June 2006, he was promoted to his current rank and appointed Chief of the Land Staff.
LGen Leslie's education includes several degrees and he has studied in Ottawa, London, Toronto, Kingston and at the Harvard Business School. His interests are military history, political science, running and alpine skiing.
Department of National Defence, Canada
The Warriors' Day Parade Council welcomes Lieutenant-General Leslie as our 2008 Distinguished Guest of Honour and Reviewing Officer.