SPEAKERS

Colonel Christopher Renahan [9:10-9:40 AM]

Colonel Christopher Renahan was born in Montreal, Quebec, and spent his teenage years in Toronto, Ontario. He enrolled in the Canadian Forces Reserves as a Rifleman with The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and then entered The Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston, through the Regular Officer Training Programme in 1990. He completed the Basic Officer Training Course in Chilliwack, British Columbia and Armour Officer training at the Armour School in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Upon completion of his training, he was posted to The Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) in Petawawa, Ontario in 1994. Over three postings with the RCD he has served as a tank and reconnaissance troop leader, tank squadron battle captain and second in command, Regimental Adjutant, and has commanded A and Headquarters Squadrons. He commanded the Training and Cadet Wings of The Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston, as the Director of Cadets from 2015 to 2017.

Colonel Renahan has served in numerous staff positions. While posted to the Director of Land Requirements he was involved in the development and introduction into service of Coyote and LAV III simulators and Forward Observation Officer/Mortar Fire Controller variant of the LAV III. He later returned to serve as the Armoured Fighting Vehicles Section Head and most recently as Director of Land Requirements Coordination.

When posted to the National Defence Command Centre he was employed in the position of Coordinator for the duty watch, and then as a Senior Watch Officer. He has also briefly served as the J5 Operating Plan for Land Force Central Area Headquarters and as the section head for Capability Integration for Army and Special Operations Forces for the Chief of Force Development.

He has deployed to numerous operations including: Op CAVALIER with the United Nations Protection Force to Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1994-1995; Op ASSISTANCE in response to the Red River floods in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1997; Op PALLADIUM with NATO SFOR to Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2003-2004; Op ARGUS, the Strategic Advisory Team to the Government of Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006-2007; and as the Military Assistant to the Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Middle East, 2009-2010.

He is a graduate of the Land Force Command and Staff College, the Land Force Technical Staff Programme, the Combat Team Commander’s Course, and the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He holds Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Applied Science degrees in the field of Chemical and Materials Engineering.

He was promoted to his current rank and assumed the duties of the Director of Land Requirements for the Canadian Army in June 2018.

Colonel David J. Pletz, MSM, CD [10:00-10:30 AM]

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia in January 1975, Colonel Pletz joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in June 1993 as a student pilot. He studied at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, British Columbia and at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science in 1997. After graduating, he received pilot training in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and received his wings in 1998. He was subsequently selected to fly CF-18 Hornet fighters.

In June 2000, at the end of CF-18 training in Cold Lake, Alberta, he was promoted to Captain and posted to 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Bagotville, Quebec. In 2004, he was selected as the CF-18 National Air Demonstration Pilot, where he had the honor of representing the dedication and professionalism of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Fighter Force.

In 2005, he graduated from the Fighter Weapons Instructor Course (FWIC) as a Mass Attack Lead. In 2006, he was posted to 3 Wing Operations in Bagotville where he assumed the position of Chief of Combat Readiness Training.
 
Promoted to Major in January 2007, he was posted for the second time to 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron where he successively held the positions of Squadron Operations Officer and Squadron Weapons and Tactics Officer. In 2009, he was appointed to the position of Officer Commanding FWIC. Later that year, he was selected as Executive Assistant for the Commander 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2010, he was nominated to attend the Joint Command and Staff Program (JCSP 37) at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, Ontario.

Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in June 2011, he was posted to the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) in Rome, New York, USA as Commander of the Canadian Detachment and Deputy Director of Operations.

In June 2013, he was posted to Bagotville as 3 Wing Operations Officer. He deployed to Eastern Europe in May 2014, where he took command of 425 ETAC at Câmpia Turzii, Romania, and subsequently took Command of the Operation Reassurance Air Task Force (ATF). Under his command, the ATF moved from Romania to Šiauliai, Lithuania and carried out the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic States from September 2014 to January 2015.

In June 2015, he was posted to 1 Cdn Air Div, Winnipeg, Manitoba as Senior Staff Officer Air Force Standards. In June 2017, he was promoted to his current rank and posted to Ottawa, Ontario as Director of Fighter Capability Transition and Integration until 2019. He is currently serving as Director Air Requirements in the RCAF Air Staff.

Over the course of his career, he has accumulated more than 2,500 flying hours on high-performance military aircraft, including more than 2,000 hours on the CF-18.

Capt, RCN Sheldon R.K. Gillis, MSC, CD [10:40-11:10 AM]

Captain RCN Gillis was raised in the small community of Judique, on Cape Breton Island. He holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Acadia University and enrolled in Canadian Armed Forces in 1999 via the Direct Entry Officer program. Upon completion of initial naval training he joined the Atlantic Fleet, serving in HMCS IROQUOIS, where he deployed to the Arabian Sea on OPERATION APOLLO ROTO 0, Canada’s initial response to the 9/11 attacks.

He then specialized in Above Water Warfare, serving as AWW Officer in HMC Ships ATHABASKAN and HALIFAX, where he deployed with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1. In 2007 Capt RCN Gillis completed the Operations Room Officer course and returned to HMCS ATHABASKAN as Combat Officer. There, he deployed to the Caribbean Sea to support Summit of the Americas Security as part of OPERATION TATOU.

In 2009 he was posted to Sea Training Atlantic where he served 2 years as Weapons and Combat Officer. In 2013 he was appointed Executive Officer of HMCS VILLE DE QUEBEC, and shortly thereafter, HMCS TORONTO. Here he deployed with Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 on OPERATION REASSURANCE ROTO 2, a trip that saw TORONTO become the first Canadian Warship in 20 years to operate in the Black Sea.

In 2016 he assumed the post as the 15th Commanding Officer of HMCS ST. JOHN’S and commanded the newly modernized frigate during OPERATION REASSURANCE ROTO 6.  His Command tour saw ST. JOHN’S conduct a high impact contingency operation off the Syrian coast for which he was recognized with the Meritorious Service Cross and NATO Meritorious Service Medal, and the ship with the Canadian Forces Unit Commendation.

Shore postings have included tours instructing in the naval education system, as a project director in Director Naval Requirements, as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Maritime Component Command and Chief of Staff (Operations) for the Atlantic Fleet. He is a 2012 graduate of the Joint Command and Staff Program at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto Ontario, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies, focusing on Canadian/Chinese Foreign Defence Policy.

Capt RCN Gillis recently completed second language training and is the Director Naval Requirements.