Petr Pavel

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Petr Pavel
Petr Pavel - NATO Military Committee in Chiefs of Defense Session - 2017 (37122714191) (cropped).jpg
Pavel in 2017
Born (1961-11-01) 1 November 1961 (age 56)
Planá, Czechoslovakia
Allegiance  Czechoslovakia (1983–1992)
 Czech Republic (since 1992)
Service/branch Czech Army
Years of service 1983–present
Rank General
Battles/wars Evacuation of Karin military base, Bosnia
Awards Legion of Merit, Commander
Legion of Honour, Officier
Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, 3rd class
Croix de guerre, bronze star
Service for Peace
Medal of Heroism

General Petr Pavel (born 1 November 1961) is a Czech army officer who served from 2015 to 2018 as the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.[1] He is the first person from a former Eastern Bloc state to hold the position. Prior to his current role he was Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army from 1 July 2012 to 1 May 2015.[2]

Military career[edit]

Pavel graduated at the Military gymnasium (high school) in Opava. He continued his military study at the Military university of the Army in Vyškov and he graduated in 1983. He started as a Paratrooper in the Czechoslovak Army, serving as a platoon leader.

He continued his military studies at the Military Academy (currently united with the University of Defence) in Brno (1988–1991). After his graduation he worked in the military intelligence service (1991–1993). He served in the Czechoslovak troop contingent of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia. His unit was sent to evacuate a French military base in January 1993, where 55 besieged French soldiers were rescued from Serbian captivity. The French army was unable to evacuate this base due to the local infrastructure and bridge having been destroyed. The Czech army was entrusted to conduct the evacuation because of their proximity to the base. Pavel was recognized and rewarded both in the Czech Republic and in France for his actions during the rescue.

After the operation in Bosnia, Pavel served in different positions in the Czech Army - in military intelligence, in diplomacy (deputy of military attaché in Belgium), as commander of a special forces' brigade. He was appointed Brigadier General in 2002. He served as the National Military Representative at US CENTCOM. He represented the Czech Army in different international and national organizations. He studied at Staff College, Camberley, the Royal College of Defence Studies, and King's College London (graduating with a Master's degree in International Relations).[3]

Pavel during the MSC 2016

He served as Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic from July 2011 to June 2012. Since 1 June 2012 he has served as Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. He was nominated by the Czech government for the position of Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in July 2014. He was appointed for this function in Vilnius in September 2014.[4] He is the first Chairman to come from a country formerly part of the Warsaw Pact. His mandate commenced in summer 2015. During a security conference in Prague, Pavel said “Russia would be able to occupy the Baltic States within two days," contradicting a statement by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that a rapid response force would be to respond to an attack on the Baltic states within two days.[5]

Timeline of Czech Army rank[edit]

Date Rank
Brigadier General 1 December 2002
Major General 8 May 2010
Lieutenant General 8 May 2012
General (“General of the Army” in Czech terminology - four stars) 8 May 2014

Personal life[edit]

Petr Pavel speaks Czech, English, French and Russian. He is divorced and has two sons with his former wife.


  1. ^ "General Bartels bids farewell to NATO as General Pavel starts his tenure as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Chief of the General Staff". Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  4. ^ Lazarová, Daniela (22 September 2014). "Czech Army's chief of staff to head NATO's military committee". Radio Prague. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Lt. Gen Petr Pavel: "Russia able to occupy Baltic States within two days"". The Baltic Times. 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
Military offices
Preceded by
Vlastimil Picek
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Josef Bečvář
Preceded by
Knud Bartels
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
Succeeded by
Stuart Peach