A native of Winnipeg, LGen Natynczyk joined the Canadian Forces in August 1975. He attended Royal Roads Military College and Collège Militaire Royal in St Jean, graduating in 1979. His formative years were spent on NATO duty in Germany with The Royal Canadian Dragoons in troop command and staff appointments. The General has served with the UN in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. In June 1995 LGen Natynczyk was assigned to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff within National Defence HQ in Ottawa. On his return to Ottawa in March 1999, he was appointed J3 Plans and Operations during the period of deployments to Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor and Eritrea.
LGen Natynczyk attended the U.S. Army War College and was subsequently appointed Deputy Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood. In January 2004, he deployed with III Corps to Baghdad, Iraq, serving first as the Deputy Director of Strategy, Policy and Plans and subsequently as the Deputy Commanding General of the Multi-National Corps (Iraq). Upon his return to Canada he assumed command of the Land Force Doctrine and Training System. He was subsequently appointed Chief Transformation where he was responsible for implementation of the force restructuring and the enabling processes and policies. LGen Natynczyk assumed the responsibilities of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff on 28 June 2006.