Chief of the Defence Staff (France)

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Chief of the Defence Staff of the French Republic
Chef d'État-Major des Armées
Marque CEMA.svg
Pierre de Villiers (détail).jpg
General Pierre de Villiers

since 15 February 2014
Ministry of Defence
Member of Chiefs of Staff Committee
Reports to Minister of Defence
Seat Paris, France
Nominator Minister of Defence
Appointer President of the Republic
Require Prime Minister's countersignature
Term length No fixed term
Formation 1953
First holder Paul Ely

The Chief of the Defence Staff (French: Chef d'État-Major des Armées) (acronym: CEMA) is the chief of defence of the French military.

The position is currently held by General Pierre de Villiers


The Chief of the Defence Staff has two roles:

  • assisting the Minister of Defence in the preparation and organisation of the armed forces
  • under the authority of the President and the Government, maintaining overall command of military operations and proposing the military measures to adopt (general strategy).

He is responsible for :

  • the conduct of operations : plans of attack, general articulation of the forces, distribution of operational means between theatre commanders (over whom he has full authority)
  • training : he checks their aptitude for their missions and has a permanent right of inspection over them ;
  • preparation for the future : plans and programmes for military capacity. He oversees the pulling-together of the armed forces' means and participates in the preparation and execution of the defence budget ;
  • inter-branch organisation : he oversees the forces' organisation.
  • military relations with the armed forces of other nations : he directs military missions abroad, organises the French forces' participation in international missions and exercises, follows international negotiations and represents France on military committees of international organisations.

Directly under his authority are :

  • the chefs d'état-major of each of the four arms (Army, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie) ;
  • the état-major des armées (EMA);
  • the commandants supérieurs in the départements and overseas territories and the commandants of French forces abroad (COMSUP and COMFOR), the general staff of the zones de défense (OGZD) and the departmental military delegates (DMD);
  • the inter-arm organs:

List of holders[edit]

See also[edit]