Swanson to be Chief of the Staff

Swanson to be Chief of the Staff

Sue Swanson, Commissioner

Following extensive consultation with Army leaders around the world, General Shaw Clifton has appointed Commissioner Barry Swanson Chief of the Staff, the second in command of the international Army’s work. He succeeds Commissioner Robin Dunster who retires after four years as the Chief and 40 years of officership.

Additionally, he appointed Commissioner Sue Swanson World Secretary for Women’s Ministries. She succeeds Commissioner Lyn Pearce who, also, will retire. The Swansons will assume these responsibilities effective May 1, 2010 at International Headquarters in London.

Currently leading the Army’s work in the USA Central Territory with headquarters in Chicago, Swanson said: “News of my appointment to serve as Chief of the Staff was received with great surprise. Having assumed command of the USA Central Territory just a year ago, obviously we thought we would have more time. But God had other plans.”

Swanson added: “We had just completed a territorial ministry weekend called ‘Mission and Purpose’ in conjunction with the dedication of the Omaha (Nebraska) Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Themes of calling, commitment and covenant spoke clearly to my own heart. I felt this was in confirmation of what General Clifton had spoken to me about several weeks previously; the gifts, experience and skills possessed by my wife and myself were needed at this time internationally. As with each appointment received over our 31 years of officership, we believe it to be God’s way of placing us where he wants us, and it is our privilege to go.”

Commissioner Israel Gaither, national commander, himself a former Chief of the Staff, said: “Commissioner Eva joins me in congratulating Commissioners Swanson on their forthcoming appointments to significant global leadership responsibilities. We are thrilled for them and, having served those offices, appreciate the impact they will bring and receive in the serving of these sacred assignments. Their understanding of the power of this vast enterprise will deepen as the world arrives at their desks every single day.

“In advance, we thank God for the personal impact the Commissioners will make through their public and private ministries. God will use them in unusual ways.

“Commissioner Barry Swanson as the Chief of the Staff designate succeeds the incumbent, Commissioner Robin Dunster, who leaves a deep and lasting mark on the global Army. She has served the office of the Chief of the Staff with grace and distinction, and the impact of her leadership ministry will not soon be forgotten.

“These are challenging times for serious engagement in mission. And godly leaders with vision and vigor are being identified to lead us into the future with courage and optimism. Commissioners Swanson are two such leaders. So it is understandable that American Salvationists, especially, take pride in the General having selected them for these key international leadership appointments.”

Both Swansons have university degrees—he in marketing and she in social work. They became officers in 1978 and served in various corps and divisional appointments in the Central Territory for 21 years prior to appointments in Chicago pertaining to territorial program leadership and as Territorial Chief Secretary. In 2006 they were appointed to National Headquarters as the National Chief Secretary and National Secretary for Women’s Ministries. A year later they moved to International Headquarters as International Secretary and Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries, the Americas and Caribbean Zone.

The Chief of the Staff’s position is what American firms would describe as a Chief Operating Officer, with the General serving as the Chief Executive. As such, the position plays an essential role in leading and coordinating administrative responsibilities of International Headquarters. The Chief of the Staff also calls in the commissioners of The Salvation Army to form a High Council to elect a new general.

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