Director Air Coordination Element


Major General Sullivan is currently serving a 12-month tour of duty as NATO’s Air Component Commander and the Deputy Director of Joint Operations at ISAF Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. In September 2009 Major General Sullivan was also appointed President of the Joint Investigation Board convened by General McChrystal to investigate the NATO airstrike on the 4th of September 2009 near the City of Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan.

Major General Sullivan enrolled in the Canadian Forces in January 1979 and received his Pilot's Wings in February 1981. He remained in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for the next four years as a Qualified Flying Instructor on the CT114 Tutor aircraft.

After completing fighter pilot training on the CF5 and CF18 Hornet in Cold Lake, Alberta he was posted to 421 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Baden-Sollingen, West Germany in June 1986. While serving with 421 Squadron he participated in NATO's 1988 Tactical Air Meet, graduated from the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) in Jever, Germany and attained his Package Commander and Mass Attack Flight Lead qualification on the CF18.

In December 1989, he was attached-posted to Sector Operations Centre Four (SOC 4) in Messtetten, Germany where he carried out the duties of Fighter Coordinator and Executive Officer. In June 1990, he was posted to 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters in Lahr, Germany as Staff Officer Air Operations where he continued to maintain his combat-ready status on the CF18, participated in the Gulf War in the autumn of 1990, and carried out the duties of Chief Evaluator on NATO's Tactical Evaluation Team. He also represented Canada on NATO's Tactical Leadership Programme in Florennes, Belgium and was a member of the NATO Working Group responsible for the development of Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs).

In 1993 Sullivan attended the Royal Air Force Command and Staff College in Bracknell, England for one year. Following Staff College he was assigned to 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Bagotville, Quebec where he was once again employed as a CF18 combat-ready fighter pilot and the Flight Commander of Squadron Standards and Training.

From October 1994 to May 1995, he served with the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Visoko, Bosnia as a Forward Air Controller and the Officer Commanding the Tactical Air Control Party. On his return to Canada, he was posted to the Chief of the Air Staff Headquarters in Ottawa where he was responsible for force structure development and resource management across the air force.

In July 1998, Sullivan was appointed Commanding Officer of 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4 Wing Cold Lake. While commanding 416 Squadron he also commanded Canada's CF18 detachment in Aviano, Italy where he and his deployed squadron flew operational sorties in support of the UN’s stabilization mission in the Balkans and NATO’s air mission over Kosovo.

In July 2000, Sullivan was posted to 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba and assigned the duties of Director of Operations for the Canadian NORAD Region and Director of Operational Readiness for the air force.

From July 2003 to July 2005, Sullivan commanded 4 Wing and Canadian Force's Base Cold Lake, Alberta. Following his tour of duty as Wing Commander, he attended a year-long French language course at the Canadian Force's Language School in Gatineau, Quebec.

In July 2006, Sullivan was appointed Director General of Capability Development for the Canadian Forces at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. In the Fall of 2006, he also served as co-president on the US-led Combined Investigation Board convened by Commander AFCENT to investigate an A-10 Friendly Fire incident during OP MEDUSA near Kandahar, Afghanistan.

In July 2007, Sullivan was seconded to the Prime Minister of Canada's Privy Council Office to serve as Defence Advisor in the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat. Immediately following his PCO assignment, he began training in preparation for his current assignment as NATO’s Air Component Commander for Afghanistan at the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Major General Sullivan has accumulated over 3500 flying hours flying jet aircraft, 1600 of which were flown on the CF18 Hornet during three operational fighter tours. He has flown operational missions over Europe, the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Canada’s high Arctic and the North Atlantic. He has served as a Forward Air Controller in the Balkans and commanded a deployed Tactical Air Control Party, a CF18 fighter squadron, and a fighter wing and air force base.  He was awarded the Canadian Forces Europe Commendation by Major-General Brian Smith in July 1990 for administering life-saving first-aid to a British national citizen. In April 2004, he was awarded the Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation by General Ray Henault in recognition of his leadership as Director of Operations of the Canadian NORAD Region in the wake of 9/11 and during the G8 Summit at Kananaskis, Alberta.

Major General Sullivan graduated from St Lawrence College of Applied Arts and Technology as a Civil Engineering Technologist and received his Baccalaureate in Military Arts and Science from the Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario. He is also a graduate of the Royal Air Force Command and Staff College in Bracknell, England; the Advanced Military Studies Course and National Security Studies Course at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto; and the Combined Force Air Component Commander (CFACC) Programme at the USAF Air University in Montgomery, Alabama.

Major General Sullivan was promoted to the rank of Second-Lieutenant in May 1979; Lieutenant in January 1980; Captain in January 1983; Major in July 1988; Lieutenant-Colonel in December 1995; Colonel in July 2000; Brigadier-General in June 2006; and Major-General in October 2008. Sullivan will mark 35 Years of Service in 2014.