(Picture above DM with Dr. Okros)

This year, the Deputy Minister (DM) and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) are pleased to present 87 deserving recipients with Celebrating Excellence Awards (CEA). These awards represent the highest expression of recognition within our organization and highlight the achievements of exemplary individuals and teams who have provided outstanding service and contribute to the tradition of excellence that the Defence Team continues to uphold.

In total, 33 Celebrating Excellence Awards are being presented across seven award categories to hard-working individuals and teams across the Defence Team.

A few names we know:

DM/CDS Excellence in Defence Award

This award recognizes individuals or teams at any level who significantly contribute to the furtherance of Departmental and Government of Canada priorities.

Administrative Professional

Awarded to: CDA CIS Infrastructure Operations

Matthew Gander
Matthew Norman

This team personified excellence in defence and exhibited outstanding dedication and professionalism during two crises in 2020. In July, the RMCC’s network was the target of a ransomware attack that disabled 90% of its systems. Taking immediate and decisive action, the team isolated the network to halt the attack, preventing further compromise. After quickly identifying the root causes, they undertook the laborious work needed to develop a novel and secure framework to reduce the risk of future attacks. Immediately afterward, the team pulled out all stops to enable the RMC to continue operating in time for the fall semester.


DM/CDS Defence Team Impact Award

This award recognizes individuals or teams at any level who have gone above and beyond to contribute to the Defence Team in the areas of Anti-Racism and Inclusion, Digitization and Modernization, Official Languages, Reconciliation Advancement, and Workplace Wellbeing.

Anti-Racism and Inclusion

Awarded to: Captain Beatrice Gale

The comprehensive health supports that exist today to support CAF personnel who identify with the 2SLGBTQIA+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual) community exist because of the work of Captain Gale. To this day, she continues to work with the Defence Team and with the Office of the Ombudsman to reduce discrimination against and harassment of transgender service members. Because of her efforts, members of all ranks have both input into and ongoing access to holistic changes in the CAF and Canadian health care policies that directly affect them.

Workplace Wellbeing

Awarded to: Colonel (Retired) 20175 Steve Jourdain CMR RMC Class of 1996

Steve has embraced the importance of morale and well-being. After serving as a colonel with 2nd Canadian Division, he took a position with Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services. Videos of Steve performing “Lullaby to Calm My Demons” were released in May 2022 for Mental Health Week and posted on the Canadian Army’s and other CAF Facebook and LinkedIn pages. He also permitted his song to be used in a play about veterans and military families. As a result, his message of hope was widely shared and garnered many expressions of gratitude for shining a spotlight on mental health.

DM John Forster Collaboration Award

This award recognizes individuals or teams who collaborate, engage, and share information with internal and/or external stakeholders and work with others to manage and implement initiatives that assisted in the advancement of Defence or whole-of-government priorities through exceptional collaboration with partners and stakeholders.

Awarded to: Canadian Forces Health Information System – In Service Support Team (CFHIS ISS Team)

Major  20175 Darren Still RMC Class of 1997
Captain Cecilia Ho
Chantale Bossi
Bruce Campbell
Maria DaSilva
Jim Mcilquham
Chad Percey
Jeff Small

In 2021, the team was tasked with creating a certificate to show that CAF members vaccinated by DND could comply with whatever COVID-19 restrictions were in place at local, provincial/territorial, federal, and international levels. The certificate needed to be standardized, easily verified, and demonstrate that it was generated by a legitimate authority.

Working efficiently and engaging with multiple stakeholders, including provincial health authorities and the Canada Border Services Agency, the team leveraged a Health Agency of Canada solution, speeding up development and approval of a DND certificate that could easily be verified from anywhere in the world.

Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Team, DRDC Valcartier

Major David Demel
Corporal Samuel Beaulieu
Mathieu Desmeules
Guillaume Paradis

In only five months, the team undertook a tremendous amount of logistical, financial, and contractual planning, mitigated numerous logistical issues, and navigated sensitive legal and security considerations surrounding the data collected.

The team liaised and coordinated effectively with the numerous internal and external entities involved, such as the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and National Research Council, to ensure the prototype Dragon X airborne consoles could be integrated and pretested in aircraft. As a result, the team successfully enabled the collection of vital data that led to the success of this project and gave DND access to the creative potential of Canadian innovators.

Awarded to: DND/CAF Recruitment Advertising Team

Lieutenant-Colonel  23291 David Cameron RMC 2006
Maj Brian Kominar
Chief Warrant Officer Richard Coltart
Sergeant Usama Mehmood
Shelley Cotroneo
Melanie Primeau

In this advertising campaign, the team shone a spotlight on the diverse backgrounds and interests of CAF members, raising awareness among audiences who may not know what the military has to offer, particularly in terms of non-combat roles. The team’s approach was to break from typical military advertisements and show key demographic groups various diverse scenarios they can relate to.

The team embodied the collegial spirit of the Defence Team and built strong relationships to support buy-in for the overall approach, which was to use targeted, research-based messaging that would resonate with audiences by reflecting their values and aspirations.

DM Award of Distinction

This most prestigious award, recognizes exceptional contributions to the furtherance of the DND’s horizontal approach to managing its business, its service lines, and its support function.

Awarded to: Doctor Alan Okros 

Doctor Okros’s advocacy for the evolution of military approaches to diversity and inclusion within the CAF and the militaries of NATO and other countries have had a significant impact both in Canada and globally. Using his expansive knowledge and leadership skills, he has helped to ensure that gendered and intersectional perspectives are incorporated into organizational culture. He has excelled as a policy entrepreneur and educator and served as a sought-after subject matter expert in both Canada and the US.

Doctor Okros’s many contributions have enhanced military operational effectiveness and made an outstanding and indelible impact on the organization.


A full list of award winners can be found here.


  1. J. R. Digger MacDougall on December 1, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Félicitations à Alan pour la réception de ce prix prestigieux, nous sommes fiers de vous.

    H5276 Digger

    N behalf of the Ottawa Branch, 👏 👏
    Congratulations to all award recipients. We salute you for your accomplishments and your contributions to the Canadian Armed Forces and Canada.

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