Colonel Gary Whelan joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1985. He is a graduate (BEng (Mechanical)) of the Royal Military College of Canada, the Canadian Forces Staff College and holds a MBA from the University of Liverpool. As an Army Signals Officer, Colonel Whelan has commanded the 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signal Squadron, as well as the Canadian Forces Joint Signal Regiment. He also deployed to Kandahar as the Task Force Kandahar J6 and as the Task Force Kandahar Signal Squadron Commanding Officer from Feb to Nov 2009. He has held staff positions in Canadian Forces Northern Area in Yellowkife, in Director Land Requirements at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, in the North American Aerospace Defense Headquarters in Colorado Springs, and since promotion in June 2017, he has been the Canadian Joint Operations Command J6.