The Major-General George R Pearkes Building

National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) (French: Quartiers généraux de la Défense nationale (QGDN)) was created through the integration of Canadian Armed Forces Headquarters (CAF HQ) with the civilian Department of National Defence (DND) staff. NDHQ is not a specific location, but is instead housed throughout a collection of offices in buildings across the National Capital Region, although it is most commonly identified with the Major-General George R Pearkes Building on Colonel By Drive in Ottawa. From 2017, various locations have been consolidating at National Defence Headquarters Carling on Carling Avenue.[1]

During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear attack on the National Capital Region saw an Emergency Government Headquarters constructed 30 km west of Ottawa at CFS Carp; this facility was to house a scaled-down NDHQ, along with the federal cabinet and other political, military and government leaders.

Completed in 1974, the George R Pearkes Building was originally built for Transport Canada until a plan for a new NDHQ in LeBreton Flats was cancelled. Transport Canada instead moved to the newly completed Place de Ville Tower C (1972). Carling Campus was originally Nortel's research and development site until it was purchased by the Federal Government in 2010.[2]

Falling under the Minister of National Defence, NDHQ includes the office of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), who is the senior military commander within the Canadian Armed Forces; and the Deputy Minister, who as the senior civil servant is in charge of the Department of National Defence. Also reporting directly to the Minister are the Associate Minister of National Defence, the Judge Advocate General and several other organizations which are considered part of the Defence Portfolio.


  1. ^ "DND employees to begin moving into former Nortel campus in January". CBC News. December 17, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  2. ^ "Feds to buy Nortel's Carling Campus for $208M". CTV News. October 19, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  3. ^ "Organizational structure of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces". Government of Canada. September 21, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2022.

Media related to Department of National Defence Headquarters at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 45°25′24″N 75°41′21″W / 45.4233°N 75.6892°W / 45.4233; -75.6892