OTTAWA - Canada has a new commander for all overseas operations.

Lt.-Gen. Marc Lessard, a veteran of Afghanistan, was sworn in Monday as the officer in charge of the Canadian Expeditionary Force command.

The Ottawa-based headquarters runs the Kandahar operation - with its nearly 3,000 troops and aircrew - and all other deployments, including the naval mission fighting pirates off eastern Africa.

Lessard, who spent nine months commanding NATO forces in southern Afghanistan last year, says the arrival of thousands of fresh Americans means the territory covered by Canadian soldiers will be reduced.

He says reinforcements will not change the way Canadians do business in Kandahar, but concedes it will mean some pretty tight co-ordination between forces.

The outgoing commander, Lt.-Gen. Michel Gauthier, served in the post for three years and paid tribute not only to the soldiers in Afghanistan but the special forces soldiers, sailors and aircrew operating around the world.