Chief of the Defence Staff (France)

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Chief of the Defence Staff
Chef d'état-major des armées
Emblème de l'État-Major des armées (EMA).svg
Marque CEMA.svg
Insignia & Marque of the chief[1]
François Lecointre, 2020.jpg
Incumbent
General François Lecointre

since 20 July 2017
Ministry of the Armed Forces
TypeChief of staff
AbbreviationC.E.M.A.
Member ofChiefs of Staff Committee
Reports toMinister of the Armed Forces
SeatHexagone Balard, Paris
AppointerPresident of the Republic
Requires the Prime Minister's countersignature
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument
  • Decree 1982–38[2]
  • Decree 2005–520[3]
  • Decree 2009–869[4]
  • Decree 2013–816[5]
Formation28 April 1948[6]
First holderCharles Léchères
DeputyMajor General of the Defence Staff
Websitewww.defense.gouv.fr

The Chief of the Defence Staff (French: Chef d'État-Major des Armées [CEMA]; lit.'Chief of Staff of the Armies') is the military head of the Armed Forces of the French Republic, ensuring the commandment of all military operations (under reserve of the particular dispositions relative to nuclear deterrence). They are responsible to the Minister of the Armed Forces and their deputy is the Major General of the Defence Staff. Since the 1950s, the office has been held only by five stars generals (OF–9), either from the Army, the Navy, or the Air and Space Force. The current Chief is General François Lecointre since 20 July 2017.

History[edit]

Commander-in-Chief of the Armies[edit]

While non-official, the term Generalissimo or « (French: Généralissime) » was employed since 1914 to designate the individual who in reality was Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the North and North-East « (French: Commandant en Chef des Armées du Nord et du Nord-Est) ». The term would be made official in 1915 when Joffre was also given command over the Salonika front (a degree of authority not enjoyed by his successors). The rank and post was successively occupied by three generals during World War I: Joseph Joffre, who occupied the rank and functions from August 1914 without bearing the official title, then Robert Nivelle and Philippe Pétain.

Général Ferdinand Foch was the Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Zone under Joseph Joffre in autumn 1914; this role later crystallised into command of French Army Group North, a position which Foch held until December 1916. Subsequently, Foch became Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front with the title Généralissime in 1918 then was designated as « Commandant en Chef des Armées Alliées » (English:Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces) starting 14 May 1918.[7] Foch was promoted to Marshal of France prior the planning of the offensive that led to the Armistice of 11 November 1918. Following the armistice, Marshal Ferdinand Foch was elevated to the dignity of the Marshal of Great Britain and Poland.

Chief of Staff of National Defence[edit]

Toward the end of the Second World War, Charles de Gaulle who was Commander-in-Chief of the Free French Forces was assisted by a Staff of National Defence. It was headed by a Chief of Staff who had authority over all armed forces. This was the first time that a joint staff of the French armed forces was created.[8]

However the Chiefs of the Army, of the Navy and of the Air Force were opposed to this office after the war as they fear they would lose their independence of action.[8] This opposition was eventually hushed up and the position of Chief of Staff of the Armies (under various other names until 1962) was created on 28 April 1948.[6]

Functions[edit]

Responsibilities[edit]

The CEMA assists the Minister of the Armed Forces in its capacity attributions to make use of the various required forces and their general organisation. They are consulted on direction to be given to planning and programming work and may be charged by the Minister with any study concerning the armies. The Chief of Staff is responsible for coordinating the requirements of the forces in support of joint services. The CEMA, in virtue of decree dispositions of 15 July 2009, under the authority of the President of the French Republic, the French government, and under the reserve of the particular dispositions relative to nuclear deterrence, is responsible for the use of forces and commandment of all military operations. The CEMA is the military counselor of the government.

They bring together the proposals of the Delegate General of Armaments (DGA), the Chiefs of Staff of each army, and the directors of joint services in the areas of planning and programming. After consulting the DGA on technical and industrial possibilities, they shall report to the Minister on all the work and shall propose to them the measures necessary to ensure their consistency with regard to employment and their accounting with the foreseeable financial resources, as assessed by the Secretary General for Administration (SGA), and present a draft decision.

Their responsibilities consist of:

  • The conduct of operations : plans of use, general articulation of forces, distribution of operational means between theatre commanders (over whom he has full authority)
  • The joint service organizations and the general organization of the armed forces: oversees the coherence of the armed forces organisation
  • The expression of the need in material of human resources of the armed forces, the joint institutions, and the definition of the ensemble format of the armed forces. Planning and programming of military capacities. Oversees in effect of coherence in means of the armed forces and participates to the preparation and various executions of associated military and defence budgets.
  • The preparation and condition assignments of recruiting in the armed forces: is in check of forces aptitude in missions completion and has a permanent right of inspection over these forces.
  • Support of the armed forces: determines the general organizations and objectives, assures the operational maintenance in condition of all equipments and determines the joint needs of various material infrastructures and that of the armed forces while verifying status of operability)
  • The intelligence assessment of military interest: ensures the general research direction and exploitation of the military intelligence
  • International military relations: directs French foreign military missions in foreign theatres, organizes the participation of the armed forces in regards to military cooperations, following international mandated negotiations and represents France at the various military committees of international organizations.
The headquarters of the Staff of the Armies between 1890 and 2015.

Authority[edit]

The Chief of Staff of the Armies has authority over the:

These four Chiefs constitute the Chiefs of Staff Committee, chaired by the Minister. The CEMA is assisted by a Major General of the Defence Staff, a senior ranked officer of the French Armed Forces, who will deputize if needed.

Additionally, directly under the CEMA authority are :

Name of the office[edit]

The office took various names during its history:

  • President of the Committee of the Chiefs of the General Staffs of the Armed Forces (1948–1950)
  • President of the Committee of the Chiefs of the Combined Staff of the Armed Forces (1950–1953)[9]
  • Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (1953–1958)
  • Chief of the General Staff of the Armies (1958–1961)
  • Chief of the Joint Staff (1961–1962)
  • Chief of Staff of the Armies (1962 – )

List of chiefs[edit]

Provisional Government[edit]

No. Portrait Rank & Name Term Branch Minister Commander-in-Chief Ref.[a]
Took office Left office Duration
[b] Betouart IMG 0101.JPG Army general
Antoine Béthouart
? November 1943 13 August 1944 286 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
André Diethelm Charles de Gaulle -
[10]
[b] Maarschalk Juin op Ministerie van Oorlog en Hasselman Staf, Bestanddeelnr 905-3733 (cropped).jpg Army general
Alphonse Juin
13 August 1944 15 May 1947 2 years, 275 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
André Diethelm
Edmond Michelet
[11]
-
Félix Gouin
Georges Bidault
Vincent Auriol

Fourth Republic[edit]

No. Portrait Rank & Name Term Branch Minister Commander-in-Chief Ref.[a]
Took office Left office Duration
Office established
1 Blanco portrait.svg Air corps general
Charles Léchères
29 April 1948 25 January 1951 2 years, 271 days Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
Air Force
Pierre-Henri Teitgen
René Mayer
[...]
Georges Bidault
René Pleven
Vincent Auriol [12]
-
2 Maarschalk Juin op Ministerie van Oorlog en Hasselman Staf, Bestanddeelnr 905-3733 (cropped).jpg Army general
Alphonse Juin
25 January 1951 19 August 1953 2 years, 206 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
René Pleven [13]
-
3 General Paul Ely (1954).jpg Army general
Paul Ély
19 August 1953 4 June 1954 289 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
René Pleven
Marie-Pierre Kœnig
[14]
[15]
René Coty
4 Augustin Guillaume.jpg Army general
Augustin Guillaume
4 June 1954 2 March 1956 1 year, 272 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Marie-Pierre Kœnig
Emmanuel Temple
[...]
Pierre Billotte
Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
[16]
-
5 General Paul Ely (1954).jpg Army general
Paul Ély
2 March 1956 18 May 1958 2 years, 77 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
André Morice
Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Pierre de Chevigné
[17]
-
6 Generaal Lorillot , opvolger van Generaal Ely, Bestanddeelnr 909-5717 (cropped).jpg Army general
Henri Lorillot
18 May 1958 10 June 1958 23 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Pierre de Chevigné
Charles de Gaulle
[18]
-

Fifth Republic[edit]

No. Portrait Rank & Name Term Branch Minister Commander-in-Chief Ref.[a]
Took office Left office Duration
7 General Paul Ely (1954).jpg Army general
Paul Ély
10 June 1958 26 February 1959 261 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Charles de Gaulle
Pierre Guillaumat
René Coty [19]
-
Charles de Gaulle
8 Blanco portrait.svg Army general
Gaston Lavaud
26 February 1959 12 April 1961 2 years, 45 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Pierre Guillaumat
Pierre Messmer
[20]
-
9 Blanco portrait.svg Air army general
André Martin
12 April 1961 19 July 1962 1 year, 98 days Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
Air Force
Pierre Messmer [21]
-
10 Charles-Ailleret-and-Pierre-Messmer-in-UN-352022113026 (cropped).jpg Army general
Charles Ailleret
19 July 1962 30 March 1968 5 years, 255 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Pierre Messmer [22]
-
11 Blanco portrait.svg Air army general
Michel Fourquet
30 March 1968 9 June 1971 3 years, 72 days Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
Air Force
Pierre Messmer
Michel Debré
[23]
-
Georges Pompidou
12 Image Francois Maurin.jpeg Air army general
François Maurin
9 June 1971 1 July 1975 4 years, 22 days Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
Air Force
Michel Debré
Robert Galley
Jacques Soufflet
Yvon Bourges
[24]
-
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
13 Blanco portrait.svg Army general
Guy Méry
1 July 1975 20 July 1980 5 years, 19 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Yvon Bourges [25]
-
14 Blanco portrait.svg Army general
Claude Vanbremeersch
20 July 1980 1 February 1981 196 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Yvon Bourges
Joël Le Theule
Robert Galley
[26]
[27]
15 Blanco portrait.svg Army general
Jeannou Lacaze
1 February 1981 1 August 1985 4 years, 181 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Robert Galley
Charles Hernu
[28]
[29]
François Mitterrand
16 Blanco portrait.svg Air army general
Jean Saulnier
1 August 1985 16 November 1987 2 years, 107 days Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
Air Force
Charles Hernu
Paul Quilès
André Giraud
[30]
[31]
17 Blanco portrait.svg Army general
Maurice Schmitt
16 November 1987 24 April 1991 3 years, 159 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
André Giraud
Jean-Pierre Chevènement
Pierre Joxe
[32]
[33]
18 Amiral LANXADE.jpg Admiral
Jacques Lanxade
24 April 1991 9 September 1995 4 years, 138 days Logo of the French Navy (Marine Nationale).svg
Navy
Pierre Joxe
François Léotard
Charles Millon
[34]
[35]
Jacques Chirac
19 Blanco portrait.svg Air army general
Jean-Philippe Douin
9 September 1995 9 April 1998 2 years, 212 days Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
Air Force
Charles Millon
Alain Richard
[36]
[37]
20 Blanco portrait.svg Army general
Jean-Pierre Kelche
9 April 1998 30 October 2002 4 years, 204 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Alain Richard
Michèle Alliot-Marie
[38]
[39]
21 Henri Bentégeat1 Domenjod-22nov2016 (cropped).jpg Army general
Henri Bentégeat
30 October 2002 4 October 2006 3 years, 339 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Michèle Alliot-Marie [40]
[41]
22 Nicolas Sarkoky Bastille Day 2008 n2-Georgelin.jpg Army general
Jean-Louis Georgelin
4 October 2006 25 February 2010 3 years, 144 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Michèle Alliot-Marie
Hervé Morin
[42]
[43]
Nicolas Sarkozy
23 Amiral Edouard Guillaud 2012 (cut off).jpg Admiral
Édouard Guillaud
25 February 2010 15 February 2014 3 years, 355 days Logo of the French Navy (Marine Nationale).svg
Navy
Hervé Morin
Alain Juppé
Gérard Longuet
Jean-Yves Le Drian
[44]
[45]
François Hollande
24 Pierre de Villiers par Claude Truong-Ngoc septembre 2015.jpg Army general
Pierre de Villiers
15 February 2014 20 July 2017 3 years, 155 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Jean-Yves Le Drian
Sylvie Goulard
Florence Parly
[46]
[47]
Emmanuel Macron
25 François Lecointre, 2020.jpg Army general
François Lecointre
20 July 2017 Incumbent 3 years, 269 days Logo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
Army
Florence Parly [48]
[49]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Marques, honneurs, saluts et visites dans les forces navales et à bord des bâtiments de la marine militaire". gallica.bnf.fr (in French). 10 August 1939. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  2. ^ Government of the French Republic (8 February 1982). "Décret n°82–138 du 8 février 1982 fixant les attributions des chefs d'état-major". Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  3. ^ Government of the French Republic (21 May 2005). "Décret n° 2005-520 du 21 mai 2005 fixant les attributions des chefs d'état-major". Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  4. ^ Government of the French Republic (15 July 2009). "Décret n° 2009-869 du 15 juillet 2009 relatif aux attributions du ministre de la défense, du chef d'état-major des armées et des chefs d'état-major de l'armée de terre, de la marine et de l'armée de l'air". Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  5. ^ Government of the French Republic (12 September 2013). "Décret n° 2013-816 du 12 septembre 2013 relatif aux attributions du ministre de la défense et du chef d'état-major des armées". Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b Government of the French Republic (28 April 1948). "Décret du 28 avril 1948 portant regroupement des états-major généraux de la guerre, de la marine et de l'air et création de l'état-major général des forces armées". gallica.bnf.fr (in French). Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  7. ^ Lexique des termes employés en 1914–1918
  8. ^ a b Philippe Vial (May 2007). "The origins of the CEMA". Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  9. ^ Government of the French Republic (1 April 1950). "Décret relatif à la réorganisation de la défense nationale". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  10. ^ Paul W. Ward (5 July 1944). "De Gaulle Visit To Cover 5 Days". The Sun. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  11. ^ Government of the French Republic (12 August 1944). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". gallica.bnf.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  12. ^ Government of the French Republic (28 April 1948). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". gallica.bnf.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  13. ^ JORF #22 - P868 - 25 January 1951
  14. ^ Government of the French Republic (18 August 1953). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  15. ^ Bruce Frankum, Ronald (2007). Operation Passage to Freedom: the United States Navy in Vietnam, 1954–1955. Texas Tech University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-89672-608-6.
  16. ^ Government of the French Republic (8 June 1954). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  17. ^ Government of the French Republic (1 March 1956). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  18. ^ Government of the French Republic (17 May 1958). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  19. ^ Government of the French Republic (9 June 1959). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  20. ^ Government of the French Republic (25 February 1959). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  21. ^ Government of the French Republic (11 April 1961). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  22. ^ Government of the French Republic (18 July 1962). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  23. ^ Government of the French Republic (29 March 1968). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  24. ^ Government of the French Republic (31 March 1971). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  25. ^ Government of the French Republic (10 June 1975). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  26. ^ Government of the French Republic (11 July 1980). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  27. ^ AP (11 February 1981). "Gen. Claude Vanbremeersch, 60, Retired Chief of Staff for France". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  28. ^ Government of the French Republic (31 January 1981). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  29. ^ Steven Rattner (20 August 1982). "300 Legionnaires given send-off for Beirut". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  30. ^ Government of the French Republic (28 May 1985). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  31. ^ "French Pick Military Chief". Los Angeles Times. 23 May 1985. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  32. ^ Government of the French Republic (9 November 1987). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  33. ^ Eric Pace (25 July 1991). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  34. ^ Government of the French Republic (8 April 1991). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  35. ^ Craig R. Whitney (14 June 1995). "France Planning Nuclear Tests Despite Opposition, Chirac Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  36. ^ Government of the French Republic (3 August 1995). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  37. ^ Christine Spolar (13 December 1995). "Serbs release two French pilots help 1/2 months". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  38. ^ Government of the French Republic (4 March 1998). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  39. ^ "NATO to adopt more aggressive air strike tactics". The Irish Times. 9 April 1999. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  40. ^ Government of the French Republic (12 September 2002). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  41. ^ "General Bentegeat Visits French Forces in Kosovo". NATO. 5 November 2002. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  42. ^ Government of the French Republic (31 August 2006). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  43. ^ Crispian Balmer (11 April 2008). "French commandos swoop after pirates free hostages". Reuters. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  44. ^ Government of the French Republic (1 February 2010). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  45. ^ "Mali conflict: French 'fighting Islamists in Diabaly'". BBC. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  46. ^ Government of the French Republic (16 January 2014). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  47. ^ Jim Garamone (13 July 2017). "Dunford Receives French Legion of Honor". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  48. ^ Government of the French Republic (19 July 2017). "Décret portant affectation d'un officier général". legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  49. ^ "Macron names François Lecointre new armed forces chief". France 24. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2019.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Upper references are the official decree of nomination in French. Lower references are press articles in English.
  2. ^ a b Chief of Staff of National Defence

External links[edit]

  • Gallery of the chiefs since 1971 on defense.gouv.fr