Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier arrives in Kandahar, Afghanistan last year.
Gen. Rick Hillier, Canada's high-profile chief of defence staff, will be stepping down, CTV News has learned.
CTV"s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife told Canada AM on Tuesday that Hillier has reportedly decided that he wants to move on.
Fife said there is no policy disagreement or other troubles with the government.
CTV News reported in October 2007 that Hillier would be replaced when his three-year term expired in February.
Chiefs of defence staff normally serve a three-year term, but that isn't fixed. Defence commentators said at the time that they thought Hillier would welcome an extension or renewal.
The Liberal government of then-prime minister Paul Martin appointed Hillier as chief of defence staff in January 2005.
In his inaugural speech, Hillier called for more money for Canada's Armed Forces, after spending cutbacks as the federal government tried to bring chronic deficit spending under control in the 1990s.
Hillier also envisioned a new role for the Canadian military in the 21st century, a more nimble force capable of responding to the emerging threats of terrorism and natural disasters.
In addition to being a strategic thinker with field experience, Hillier is revered by the troops, particularly the army.
"I've been in Afghanistan twice with (Hillier), and it's just overwhelming to see how these young men and women admire this general," Fife said.
"We haven't seen a general like this, at least in my lifetime, who has inspired so much from his troops and is so popular with the Canadian public."
One reason for that is when Hillier is on a visit, he would rather talk to his soldiers than be seen with the prime minister or other top politicians, he said.
Under both the Liberals and Conservatives, the Armed Forces have seen an increase in its budget, so Hillier will leave a solid base for his successor, Fife said.