Chief of Defence

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Three CHODs leaving Lancaster House in London, 10 June 2011. L-R: U.S. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; French Navy Adm. Édouard Guillaud, Chief of Defence Staff; British Gen. Sir David Richards, Chief of Defence Staff.

The Chief of Defence (CHOD) is the highest ranked commissioned officer of a nation's armed forces. The term CHOD is in common use within NATO and the European Union as a generic term for the highest national military position within the NATO and EU member states, rather than the actual term used for individual positions. Thus, irrespective if the formal national designation of that position is some variation on Commander-in-Chief, Chief of Staff, Supreme Commander or something else, they can all be referred to unambiguously as CHODs in NATO and EU terminology, although other terms are sometimes also seen within NATO. Thus, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the CHOD of the United States, the Chief of the Defence Staff is the CHOD of United Kingdom, and the Chief of Defence (Forsvarssjefen) is the CHOD of Norway.

Both NATO and EU occasionally hold CHODs meetings of the NATO Military Committee and the European Union Military Committee respectively.

CHOD positions by NATO country[edit]

Within member states of NATO, the following national positions are the CHOD positions. Sometimes more than one form of translation into English is encountered.

Country Position Alternative translations[1] Term in national language used for the position
Albania Chief of the General Staff Shefi i shtabit të përgjithshëm (Albanian)
Belgium Chief of Defence Chief of the General Staff[2] Chef Defensie (Dutch), Chef de la Défense (French)
Bulgaria Chief of the Defence[3] Началник на отбраната (Bulgarian)
Canada Chief of the Defence Staff Chef d'état-major de la défense (French)
Croatia Chief of the General Staff Načelnik Glavnog stožera (Croatian)
Czech Republic Chief of the General Staff[4] Náčelník Generálního štábu (Czech)
Denmark Chief of Defence Forsvarschefen (Danish)
Estonia Chief of Defence[5] Kaitseväe juhataja (Estonian)
France Chief of the Defence Staff Chef d'état-major des armées (French)
Germany Inspector General of the Bundeswehr Chief of the General Staff, Chief of the Defence Staff[6] Generalinspekteur der Bundeswehr (German)
Greece Chief of the National Defence General Staff[7] Αρχηγός του Γενικού Επιτελείου Εθνικής Άμυνας (Greek)
Hungary Chief of the General Staff[8] Vezérkari főnök
Iceland Director of the Defence Department[9][10]
Italy Chief of the Defence Staff[11] Capo di Stato Maggiore della Difesa (Italian)
Latvia Commander of the National Armed Forces[12] Bruņoto spēku komandieris (Latvian)
Lithuania Chief of Defence[13] Kariuomenės vadas (Lithuanian)
Luxembourg Chief of Staff[14] Chief of Defence Chef d’Etat-Major (French)
Netherlands Chief of Defence[15] Commandant der Strijdkrachten (Dutch)
Norway Chief of Defence Chief of the General Staff[16] Forsvarssjefen (Norwegian)
Poland Chief of the General Staff[17] Szef Sztabu Generalnego (Polish)
Portugal Chief of the General Staff[18] Chefe do Estado-Maior General das Forças Armadas (Portuguese)
Romania Chief of Defence[19] Chief of the General Staff Şeful Statului Major General (Romanian)
Slovakia Chief of the General Staff[20] Náčelník generálneho štábu (Slovak)
Slovenia Chief of the General Staff[21] Načelnik Generalštaba (Slovene)
Spain Chief of the Defence Staff[22] Jefe del Estado Mayor de la Defensa (Spanish)
Turkey Chief of the General Staff Commander of the Armed Forces[23] Genelkurmay Başkanı (Turkish)
United Kingdom Chief of the Defence Staff
United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

CHOD positions by non-NATO EU country[edit]

Within the EU member states that are not members of NATO, the following national positions are the CHOD positions.

Country Position Alternative translations Term in national language used for the position
Austria Chief of the General Staff Chef des Generalstabes (German)
Cyprus Supreme Commander Αρχηγός (Greek)
Finland Chief of Defence Puolustusvoimain komentaja (Finnish)
Kommendören för Försvarsmakten (Swedish)
Ireland Chief of Staff
Malta Commander Armed Forces Malta (AFM)[24]
Sweden Supreme Commander Överbefälhavaren (Swedish)

Other Chief of Defence positions by (non-NATO and non-EU) country[edit]

Note that in many countries outside of NATO and EU, the concept of civilian control of the military in inapplicable. In such countries the minister of defence is often a senior military officer. However the list below only lists CHOD equivalents and not defense ministers.

Country Position Alternative translations Term in national language used for the position
Algeria Chief of Staff of the People's National Army Chief of the Defence Staff Arabic: رئيس أركان الجيش الوطني الشعبي
Australia Chief of the Defence Force
Brazil Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces Portuguese: Chefe do Estado Maior Conjunto das Forças Armadas
China Chief of Staff Chief of General Staff
Commanding General of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department
 ?
Ghana Chief of the Defence Staff
Israel Chief of General Staff Hebrew: ראש המטה הכללי
Japan Chief of Staff, Joint Staff Japanese: 統合幕僚長
New Zealand Chief of Defence Force
Nigeria Chief of the Defence Staff
Russia Chief of the General Staff Russian: Начальник Генерального штаба
Serbia Chief of the General Staff Serbian: Начелник Генералштаба
Singapore Chief of Defence Force
South Africa Chief of the National Defence Force
South Korea Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Sri Lanka Chief of the Defence Staff
Switzerland Chief of the Army French: Chef de l'Armée
German: Chef der Armee
Italian: Capo dell'Esercito
Thailand Chief of the Defence Forces Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters Thai: ผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด
Ukraine Chief of the General Staff
Vietnam Chief of the Staff Chief of the General Staff of the People's Army of Vietnam Vietnamese: Tổng Tham mưu trưởng Quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ This is provided when the term given on NATO's homepage is different from the one used in the Wikipedia entry for the position.
  2. ^ NATO: Chief of the General Staff of Belgium, accessed on October 30, 2008
  3. ^ NATO: Chief of General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  4. ^ NATO: Chief of the General Staff Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, accessed on October 30, 2008
  5. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence of Estonia, accessed on October 30, 2008
  6. ^ NATO: Chief of the General Staff, Federal Armed Forces of Germany, accessed on October 30, 2008
  7. ^ NATO: Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, accessed on October 30, 2008
  8. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence Staff Hungarian Army, accessed on October 30, 2008
  9. ^ NATO: Director of the Defence Department and Chief of Defence of Iceland, accessed on October 30, 2008
  10. ^ Iceland presents a special case since the country does not have its own armed forces as such. Thus, a civilian at the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs fulfills the role of CHOD in relation to NATO.
  11. ^ NATO: Chief of Defense Staff of Italy, accessed on October 30, 2008
  12. ^ NATO: Commander of the Latvian National Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  13. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  14. ^ NATO: Chief of Staff of the Luxembourg Army, accessed on October 30, 2008
  15. ^ [1], accessed on November 20, 2012
  16. ^ NATO: Chief of the General Staff of Norway, accessed on October 30, 2008
  17. ^ NATO: Chief of General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  18. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence of Portugal, accessed on October 30, 2008
  19. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence of Romania, accessed on October 30, 2008
  20. ^ NATO: Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, accessed on October 30, 2008
  21. ^ NATO: Chief of General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  22. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence Staff of Spain, accessed on October 30, 2008
  23. ^ NATO: Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  24. ^ http://www.afm.gov.mt/commander?l=1 , accessed February 16, 2014

External links[edit]