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Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
Incumbent General Petr Pavel
Personal details
Website NATO

The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (CMC) is the head of the NATO Military Committee, which advises the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on military policy and strategy. The Chairman is one of the foremost officials of NATO, next to the Secretary General and the Supreme Allied Commander. He is assisted by the Deputy Chairman who advises the Deputy Secretary General and serves as the principal agent for coordination of nuclear, biological, and chemical matters for the Military Committee.[1]

The current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Petr Pavel, former Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, who took office on June 26, 2015. The next Chairman from June 2018 will be Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach from the United Kingdom.[2]

Origins[edit | edit source]

In accordance with Article 9 of the North Atlantic Treaty and the guidance given by the Working Group on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during the first Council session in Washington in 1949, the Defence Committee rapidly established the Military Committee.[3] During its few sessions held behind closed doors in Washington, the Military Committee gave policy guidance on military matters to the Standing Group, and advice on military questions to the Defence Committee and other bodies, and it recommended military measures for the unified defence of the North Atlantic region to the Defence Committee. The Military Committee was directly subordinate to the Defence Committee, and each member nation was represented by its chief of staff or a deputy. Iceland, which had no military forces, was represented by a civilian. Each member state in turn held the Chair of the Military Committee for one year (C1 D-1/2,[4] DC 1/2[5]).

Two other groups which also sat in Washington came directly under the Military Committee:

  • the Standing Group, the executive body, set up at the beginning, responsible for Military Committee everyday business;
  • the Military Representatives Committee (MRC), created at the end of 1950, to ensure communication of information and points of view between the Standing Group and Alliance member states not represented on it.

Representatives[edit | edit source]

The principal military member of each NATO country's delegation is the Military Representative, a senior officer from each country's armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee (MC), a body responsible for assisting and advising the North Atlantic Council, Defence Planning Committee, and Nuclear Planning Group on military matters.[6] Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.

Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation's armed forces. Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country's 1966 decision to remove itself from NATO's integrated military structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members. Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[7]

The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.[8]

The Chairman of the Military Committee is elected from among the NATO Chiefs of Defence and appointed for a three-year term of office. He must have served as Chief of defence – or an equivalent capacity – in his own country and is traditionally a non-US officer of four-star rank or national equivalent.[9]

The Chairman of the Military Committee chairs all meetings and acts in an international capacity. In his absence, the Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee takes the chair. The current Chairman is Czech General Petr Pavel.

List[edit | edit source]

Since the formation of NATO, its Military Chairmen have been:[10]

  1. United States General of the Army Omar N. Bradley (United States): 1949, to 1951
  2. Belgium Lt. General Etienne Baele (Belgium): 1951, to 1952
  3. Canada Lt. General Charles Foulkes (Canada): 1952, to 1953
  4. Denmark Admiral E.J.C. Quistgaard (Denmark): 1953, to 1954
  5. France General Augustin Guillaume (France): 1954, to 1955
  6. Greece Lt. General Stylianos Pallis (Greece): 1955, to 1956
  7. Italy General Giuseppe Mancinelli (Italy): 1956, to 1957
  8. Netherlands General B.R.P.F. Hasselman (Netherlands): 1957, to 1958
  9. Norway Lt. General Bjarne Øen (Norway): 1958, to 1959
  10. Portugal General J.A. Beleza Ferras (Portugal): 1959, to 1960
  11. Turkey General Rustu Erdelhun (Turkey): 1960
  12. United Kingdom Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma (United Kingdom): 1960, to 1961
  13. United States General Lyman L. Lemnitzer (United States): 1961, to 1962
  14. Belgium Lt. General C.P. de Cumont (Belgium): 1962, to 1963
  15. Germany General Adolf Heusinger (Germany): 1963, to 1964
  16. Belgium Lt. General C.P. de Cumont (Belgium): 1964, to 1968
  17. United Kingdom Admiral Sir Nigel Henderson (United Kingdom): 1968, to 1971
  18. Germany General Johannes Steinhoff (Germany): 1971, to 1974
  19. United Kingdom Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Hill-Norton (United Kingdom): 1974, to 1977
  20. Norway General Herman F. Zeiner-Gundersen (Norway): 1977, to 1980
  21. Canada Admiral Robert H. Falls (Canada): 1980, to 1983
  22. Netherlands General Cornelis De Jager (Netherlands): 1983, to 1986
  23. Germany General Wolfgang Altenburg (Germany): 1986, to 1989
  24. Norway General Vigleik Eide (Norway): 1989, to 1993
  25. United Kingdom Field Marshal Sir Richard Vincent (United Kingdom): 1993, to 1996
  26. Germany General Klaus Naumann (Germany): 1996, to 1999
  27. Italy Admiral Guido Venturoni (Italy): 1999, to 2002
  28. Germany General Harald Kujat (Germany): 2002, to 2005
  29. Canada General Raymond Henault (Canada): 2005, to 2008
  30. Italy Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola (Italy): 2008 to 2011
  31. Denmark General Knud Bartels (Denmark): 2011, to present

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_69471.htm, NATO: Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee (DCMC), Jan 19, 2016, retrieved Feb 22, 2018.
  2. "UK Defence Chief appointed as NATO Chairman of Military Committee". UK Ministry of Defence. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-defence-chief-appointed-as-nato-chairman-of-military-committee. Retrieved 17 September 2017. 
  3. Description at NATO Archives site. http://archives.nato.int/military-committee;isad
  4. "FIRST SESSION - REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON ORGANISATION AS ADOPTED BY THE COUNCIL ON SEPTEMBER 17TH, 1949 - NATO Archives Online". Archives.nato.int. http://archives.nato.int/first-session-report-of-working-group-on-organisation-as-adopted-by-council-on-september-17th-1950;isad. Retrieved 2017-09-19. 
  5. "Directive To The Military Committee (Mc) - Nato Archives Online". Archives.nato.int. http://archives.nato.int/directive-to-military-committee-mc;isad. Retrieved 2017-09-19. 
  6. NATO Handbook, 50th Anniversary Edition, 1998-99, 234.
  7. Fuller, Thomas (18 February 2003). "Reaching accord, EU warns Saddam of his 'last chance'". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. https://web.archive.org/web/20071012115843/http://iht.com/articles/2003/02/18/eu_ed3__1.php. Retrieved 15 July 2007. 
  8. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_64557.htm?selectedLocale=en, International Military Staff, Jun 15, 2017, retrieved Feb 20, 2018.
  9. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_49152.htm?selectedLocale=en, NATO: Chairman of the Military Committee, Dec 7, 2017, retrieved Feb 20, 2018.
  10. "Chairmen of the NATO Military Committee". https://www.nato.int/cv/milcom/chair.htm. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Douglas S. Bland, 'The Military Committee of the North Atlantic Alliance: A Study of Structure and Strategy,' New York, Praeger, 1991.

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