Royalty traditionally holds the Colonel-in-Chief appointment and acts as a patron. The first Colonel-in-Chief chosen for a Canadian unit may have been the Duchess of Connaught for the 199th Battalion in April 1917. King George VI became the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Engineers and the Royal Engineers on 18 February 1938. Queen Elizabeth II then became Colonel-in-Chief when she succeeded to the throne and held this appointment until the disbandment of the RCE on 1 February 1968. She accepted the new appointment of Colonel-in-Chief of the CME on 11 June 1977, her Silver Jubilee. This was a particular honour since it was the only appointment accepted on that occasion.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died on 8 September 2022. The position of Colonel-in-Chief does not pass automatically to the new sovereign. Honorary appointments are the result of the exercise of the Royal prerogative by the Sovereign and the result of that exercise should not be presumed. It may be very likely that the King will assume these appointments and that some announcement will be made obviating the need for any unit requests, but the decision is entirely his.
CME Colonels Commandant
This honorary appointment has a normal tenure of three years and is bestowed upon a retired senior officer who has served with distinction. The first Colonel Commandant in the Canadian Army was appointed for the Artillery in January 1925 and in December 1947 each corps of the Canadian Army was permitted to have a Colonel Commandant. Appointees must have held the rank of colonel or higher and, although Colonels Commandant may have held higher rank, they assume the insignia of colonel with pride. The title of Colonel is symbolic, being the highest rank within the historic regimental system and thus the senior position having direct contact with junior ranks. the Military Engineers' first Colonel Commandant was Brigadier J. L. Melville, CBE, MC, ED, CD who was appointed in 1948 when the appointment was referred to as Honorary Colonel Commandant.
Our current Colonel Commandant is Major General Daniel Benjamin, CMM, CD (Ret’d) .
Biographies of former Colonels Commandant are listed on the page Former RCE and CME Colonels Commandant.
Chief Military Engineer
The Chief Military Engineer is a member of the Chief of Defence Staff Command Council responsible for all Military Engineer matters affecting the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Chief Military Engineer is the senior advisor and technical authority over all military engineering issues. As such, they are responsible for the provision of strategic-level military engineering advice for the CF, including strategic level force development, and for the provision of overall coordination of engineering activities with the environments and operational commands. The Chief Military Engineer is the steward of the Canadian Military Engineering Profession, chairs the CME Branch Council and oversees the Branch issues accordingly.
Our current Chief Military Engineer is Major-General Martin Gros-Jean, CD.
CME Branch CWO
The CME Branch CWO is the senior NCM advisor to the Chief Military Engineer, the CME Branch Advisor and the Branch Council on matters of Training, Dress, Drill, Discipline, and Leadership. The CME Branch CWO represents the welfare of all CME personnel, but particularly NCMs, promoting excellence, professionalism and teamwork. the CME Branch CWO often accompanies the Colonel Commandant, Chief Military Engineer and CME Branch Advisor on visits to places where Engineers are employed and the welfare of NCMs is involved. As a Branch CWO, he also maintains continuous contact with the Canadian Forces CWO as well as Command CWOs as appropriate.
Our current Branch CWO is Chief Warrant Officer Darrel Jones, CD.
For a list of previous CME Branch CWOs, click here.
Senior Serving Engineer
The Senior Serving Engineer is the highest-ranking officer with a military engineering background, is attuned to what is happening at the highest levels of the Department of National Defence, and is responsible for promoting the CME and for determining the impact of major policy decisions on the CME. The Senior Serving Engineer is involved in personnel matters within the CME and in Military Engineering structure issues. The Senior Serving Engineer also provides advice to the Chief of Defence Staff, Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources Military) and the chiefs of the three environmental staffs on senior engineer officer appointments. The Senior Serving Engineer sits on the Branch Council and may be called upon to fulfil ceremonial obligations when the CME Colonel Commandant or the CME Branch Advisor is unable to attend official functions.
The current Senior Serving Engineer is Lieutenant-General M.A.J. Carignan, OMM, MSM, CD.
A list of former Senior Serving Engineers can be viewed by clicking here.
The CME Branch Advisor supports the Chief Military Engineer in all matters pertaining to CME personnel and the overall health of the CME family. Detailed terms of reference for this position can be seen here.
The current Branch Advisor is Col D.R. Henley, MSM, CD.
A list of Branch Advisors can be viewed by clicking here.
20 August 2021