Brigadier-General promoted to Major-General

The 2nd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force East will change command as Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan leaves her post to lead an extended training mission in Iraq.

Carignan will be promoted to Major General Thursday with Brigadier General Gervais Carpentier filling her old post Aug. 15.

She was scheduled to be at her post for two years, but her time was cut short to go to Iraq.

"The needs of the service are driving this," she said. "Depending on the type of mission, there's a selection made based on experience, skills and type of personality we need for a specific mission. Of course, when that happens it shuffles the plan a little bit."

Preparing for a deployment to Iraq requires understanding the context and governance of the country by doing some heavy research and reading as well as going through NATO briefings and ones from those in theatre.

"Getting our bearings and augmenting our understanding so we can hit the ground running over there," she said.

Carignan wants average citizens to understand what the military is and does, and was active in aiding citizens during recent floods on the Island of Montreal.

"The role of the military is often understood from Hollywood movies, which, of course, is not quite what the reality is," she said

Carignan helped introduce a sexual conduct guideline that is considered a world leader. She explained that the process focuses on helping the victim, and provides tools to handle any situation that arises.

"We really decided to attack this problem in a very transparent way," she said. "We want to understand what's going on, that's the first thing."

An independent centre, outside the military, responds to calls and takes action immediately, and Carignan said military personnel have reacted positively to the program.

" We're seeing improvements in the fact that people are more comfortable reporting, people are more comfortable with the processes, people are more comfortable with the rules, and, in the end, what we're after is having cohesive themes everybody is comfortable working in," she said.