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Chief of Defence
Commandant der Strijdkrachten
NL-VLAG-CDS.svg
Flag of the Chief of Defence
General Tom Middendorp
Incumbent
General Tom Middendorp

since 28 June 2012
Armed forces of the Netherlands
Style His Excellency
Abbreviation CHOD
Member of Central Staff
Reports to Minister of Defence
Precursor Chief of the Defence Staff
Formation 5 September 2005
First holder General Dick Berlijn
Deputy Vice Chief of Defence
Website (English) Chief of Defence

The Chief of Defence (Dutch language: Commandant der Strijdkrachten ) (CHOD) is the highest-ranking military officer in the Armed forces of the Netherlands and is the principal military advisor to the Minister of Defence. On behalf of the Minister of Defence, he is responsible for operational policy, strategic planning and for preparing and executing military operations carried out by the Armed forces. The Chief of Defence is in charge of the Central Staff and is the direct commanding officer of all the commanders of the branches of the Armed forces. In this capacity the Chief of Defence directs all the activities of the Royal Netherlands Army, the Royal Netherlands Navy and Royal Netherlands Air Force. He is also in charge of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, when it is operating under the responsibility of the Minister of Defence.

Responsibilities[edit | edit source]

The main role of the Chief of Defence is as an intermediary between the Minister of Defence and the Central Staff of the Armed Forces of The Netherlands. He makes operational policy and is responsible to the minister for military-strategic planning, operations and deployment of the Armed Forces. The Chief of Defence is the direct commanding officer of the commanders of the branches of the Armed forces.

The branch commanders are responsible for preparedness and actual deployment of their military personnel in the Netherlands and the rest of the world. Regarding operational planning and deployment, the branch commanders take their orders directly from the Chief of Defence.

There is a fourth branch of the military, the Royal Marechaussee (Gendarmerie). This branch does not answer to the Chief of Defence, since it is the police force for the entirety of the Armed Forces. This requires that the Marechaussee be independent, so this branch took its orders directly from the Undersecretary for the Ministry of Defence. Since 2010 there is no Undersecretary assigned to the Ministry of Defence.

In addition to his command tasks, the Chief of Defence is the senior military advisor to the Minister of Defence.

The current position of Chief of Defence (CHOD) is new since 5 September 2005, when it replaced the existing role of Chef-Defensiestaf (Chief of the Defence Staff) and was abbreviated as CDS). Just like its predecessor role the position of Chief of Defence will rotate between the branches of the military; the first Chief of Defence was General Dick Berlijn, of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The position of Chief of Defence is held by a Four-star officer (NATO OF-9, meaning a General or a Lieutenant admiral), which means that promotion to the position of Chief of Defence includes a promotion in rank as well as there is only one four-star officer in the current command structure.[1]

List of Chiefs of the Defence Staff / Chiefs of Defence[edit | edit source]

Commander-in-chief of the Armed forces Military branch Term of office
Cornelis Snijders General
Cornelis Snijders
(1852–1939)
Royal Netherlands Army /
Royal Netherlands East Indies Army
31 July 1914 – 9 November 1918
(70004000000000000004 years, 7002101000000000000101 days)
Willem Frederik Pop Lieutenant general
Willem Frederik Pop
(1852–1939)
Royal Netherlands Army 9 November 1918 – 20 November 1919
(70001000000000000001 year, 700111000000000000011 days)
Vacant
Interbellum
Izaak Reijnders General
Izaak Reijnders
(1879–1966)
Royal Netherlands Army 28 August 1939 – 6 February 1940
(50000000000000000000 years, 7002162000000000000162 days)
Henri Winkelman General
Henri Winkelman
(1876–1952)
Royal Netherlands Army 6 February 1940 – 15 May 1940
(50000000000000000000 years, 700199000000000000099 days)
Vacant
German occupation
Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld General / Lieutenant admiral
Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
(1911–2003)
Royal Netherlands Army /
Royal Netherlands East Indies Army /
Royal Netherlands Navy
3 September 1944 – 13 September 1945
(70001000000000000001 year, 700110000000000000010 days)
Henk Kruls General
Henk Kruls
(1902–1975)
Royal Netherlands Army 13 September 1945 – 1 January 1949
(70003000000000000003 years, 7002110000000000000110 days)
Chairmen of the United Defence Staff Military branch Term of office
Henk Kruls General
Henk Kruls
(1902–1975)
Royal Netherlands Army 1 January 1949 – 5 January 1951
(70002000000000000002 years, 70004000000000000004 days)
Ed van Holthe Lieutenant admiral
Ed van Holthe
(1896–1967)
Royal Netherlands Navy 5 January 1951 – 10 January 1953
(70002000000000000002 years, 70005000000000000005 days)
Fons Aler Lieutenant general
Fons Aler
(1896–1981)
Royal Netherlands Air Force 10 January 1953 – 1 October 1953
(50000000000000000000 years, 7002264000000000000264 days)
Ben Hasselman General
Ben Hasselman
(1898–1984)
Royal Netherlands Army 1 October 1953 – 1 November 1957
(70004000000000000004 years, 700131000000000000031 days)
Heije Schaper Lieutenant general
Heije Schaper
(1906–1996)
Royal Netherlands Air Force 1 November 1957 – 10 May 1959
(70001000000000000001 year, 7002190000000000000190 days)
Navy-personnel-icon.png Lieutenant admiral
Henry Propper
(1906–1995)
Royal Netherlands Navy 10 May 1959 – 10 May 1962
(70003000000000000003 years, 50000000000000000000 days)
Army-personnel-icon.png General
Gillis le Fèvre de Montigny
(1901–1982)
Royal Netherlands Army 10 May 1962 – 5 May 1965
(70002000000000000002 years, 7002360000000000000360 days)
Air-force-personnel-icon.png General
Hein Zielstra
(1908–1985)
Royal Netherlands Air Force 5 May 1965 – 30 December 1968
(70003000000000000003 years, 7002239000000000000239 days)
Navy-personnel-icon.png Lieutenant admiral
Hugo van den Wall Bake
(1913–1981)
Royal Netherlands Navy 5 January 1969 – 15 January 1972
(70003000000000000003 years, 700110000000000000010 days)
Willem van Rijn General
Willem van Rijn
(1915–1997)
Royal Netherlands Army 15 January 1972 – 1 November 1973
(70001000000000000001 year, 7002290000000000000290 days)
Robbie Wijting General
Robbie Wijting
(1925–1986)
Royal Netherlands Air Force 1 November 1973 – 10 December 1976
(70003000000000000003 years, 700139000000000000039 days)
Chiefs of the Defence Staff Military branch Term of office
Robbie Wijting General
Robbie Wijting
(1925–1986)
Royal Netherlands Air Force 10 December 1976 – 1 November 1980
(70003000000000000003 years, 7002327000000000000327 days)
Cor de Jager General
Cor de Jager
(1925–2001)
Royal Netherlands Army 1 November 1980 – 5 July 1983
(70002000000000000002 years, 7002246000000000000246 days)
Govert Huyser General
Govert Huijser
(1931–2014)
Royal Netherlands Army 5 July 1983 – 10 December 1988
(70005000000000000005 years, 7002158000000000000158 days)
Peter Graaff General
Peter Graaff
(1936–2014)
Royal Netherlands Army 10 December 1988 – 10 May 1992
(70003000000000000003 years, 7002152000000000000152 days)
Arie van der Vlis General
Arie van der Vlis
(born 1940)
Royal Netherlands Army 10 May 1992 – 15 August 1994
(70002000000000000002 years, 700197000000000000097 days)
Henk van den Breemen General
Henk van den Breemen
(born 1941)
Royal Netherlands Marine Corps 15 August 1994 – 5 June 1998
(70003000000000000003 years, 7002294000000000000294 days)
Luuk Kroon Lieutenant admiral
Luuk Kroon
(1942–2012)
Royal Netherlands Navy 5 June 1998 – 5 June 2004
(70006000000000000006 years, 50000000000000000000 days)
Dick Berlijn General
Dick Berlijn
(born 1950)
Royal Netherlands Air Force 5 June 2004 – 5 September 2005
(70001000000000000001 year, 700192000000000000092 days)
Chiefs of Defence Military branch Term of office
Dick Berlijn General
Dick Berlijn
(born 1950)
Royal Netherlands Air Force 5 September 2005 – 17 April 2008
(70002000000000000002 years, 7002225000000000000225 days)
Peter van Uhm General
Peter van Uhm
(born 1955)
Royal Netherlands Army 17 April 2008 – 28 June 2012
(70004000000000000004 years, 700172000000000000072 days)
Tom Middendorp General
Tom Middendorp
(born 1960)
Royal Netherlands Army 28 June 2012 – Incumbent
(70008000000000000008 years, 7002122000000000000122 days)

List of Vice Chiefs of Defence[edit | edit source]

Vice Chiefs of Defence Military branch Term of office
Rob Bauer Vice admiral
Rob Bauer
(born 1962)
Royal Netherlands Navy 1 September 2015 – Incumbent
(70005000000000000005 years, 700157000000000000057 days)

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Official

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