Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee's authority stems from the NATO Military Committee, to which he is responsible in the performance of his duties.
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. 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, DC 1/2).
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.
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. 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. The current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Knud Bartels of Denmark (since 2011).
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.
The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.
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 previous Chairman is Italian Admiral Giampaolo di Paola, as the current Chairman is Danish General Knud Bartels.
- General of the Army Omar N. Bradley (United States): 1949, to 1951
- Lt. General Etienne Baele (Belgium): 1951, to 1952
- Lt. General Charles Foulkes (Canada): 1952, to 1953
- Admiral E.J.C. Qvistgaard (Denmark): 1953, to 1954
- General Augustin Guillaume (France): 1954, to 1955
- Lt. General Stylianos Pallis (Greece): 1955, to 1956
- General Giuseppe Mancinelli (Italy): 1956, to 1957
- General B.R.P.F. Hasselman (Netherlands): 1957, to 1958
- Lt. General Bjarne Øen (Norway): 1958, to 1959
- General J.A. Beleza Ferras (Portugal): 1959, to 1960
- General Ruştü Erdelhun (Turkey): 1960
- Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma (United Kingdom): 1960, to 1961
- General Lyman L. Lemnitzer (United States): 1961, to 1962
- Lt. General C.P. de Cumont (Belgium): 1962, to 1963
- General Adolf Heusinger (Germany): 1963, to 1964
- Lt. General C.P. de Cumont (Belgium): 1964, to 1968
- Admiral Sir Nigel Henderson (United Kingdom): 1968, to 1971
- General Johannes Steinhoff (Germany): 1971, to 1974
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Hill-Norton (United Kingdom): 1974, to 1977
- General Herman F. Zeiner-Gundersen (Norway): 1977, to 1980
- Admiral Robert H. Falls (Canada): 1980, to 1983
- General Cornelis De Jager (Netherlands): 1983, to 1986
- General Wolfgang Altenburg (Germany): 1986, to 1989
- General Vigleik Eide (Norway): 1989, to 1993
- Field Marshal Sir Richard Vincent (United Kingdom): 1993, to 1996
- General Klaus Naumann (Germany): 1996, to 1999
- Admiral Guido Venturoni (Italy): 1999, to 2002
- General Harald Kujat (Germany): 2002, to 2005
- General Raymond Henault (Canada): 2005, to 2008
- Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola (Italy): 2008 to 2011
- General Knud Bartels (Denmark): 2011, to present
- Description at NATO Archives site. http://archives.nato.int/military-committee;isad
- NATO Handbook, 50th Anniversary Edition, 1998-99, 234.
- 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. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
- official list
- Douglas S. Bland, 'The Military Committee of the North Atlantic Alliance: A Study of Structure and Strategy,' New York, Praeger, 1991.