Chair of the NATO Military Committee

The Chair of the NATO Military Committee (CMC) is the head of the NATO Military Committee, which advises the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on military policy and strategy. They are the senior military spokesman of the 30-nation alliance and principal advisor to the Secretary General. The Chair is one of the foremost officials of NATO, next to the Secretary General and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. They are assisted by the Deputy Chair, who advises the Deputy Secretary General and serves as the principal agent for coordination of nuclear, biological, and chemical matters for the Military Committee.[1] Originally titled as the Chairman, the post was redesignated in 2021 to reflect the gender-neutrality of the post.[2]

Chair of the NATO Military Committee
Coat of arms
Admiral Rob Bauer

since 25 June 2021
Member of NATO
Reports toSecretary General of NATO
SeatNATO Military Committee
Term length3 years
Formation1949; 72 years ago (1949)
First holderGeneral Omar Bradley
DeputyDeputy Chair of the NATO Military Committee

The current Chair of the NATO Military Committee is Admiral Rob Bauer, former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, who took office on 25 June 2021.[3]


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.[4] 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,[5] DC 1/2[6]).

General Knud Bartels in 2014

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 Chair of the Military Committee is elected from among the NATO Chiefs of Defence and appointed for a three-year term of office. He must have served as Chief of defence – or an equivalent capacity – in his own country and is traditionally a non-US officer of four-star rank or national equivalent.[7]

The Chair of the Military Committee chairs all meetings and acts in an international capacity. In his absence, the Deputy Chair of the Military Committee takes the chair.


Since the formation of NATO, its Military Chairmen have been:[8]

NATO Military Committee in Chiefs-of-Staff Session (1949-1963)

No. Picture Chairman of the NATO Military CommitteeTook officeLeft officeTime in officeDefence branchNationality
Bradley, OmarGeneral of the Army
Omar Bradley
5 October 19492 April 19511 year, 179 days United States Army United States
Baele, EtienneLieutenant general
Etienne Baele
2 April 195119520–1 years Belgian Land Component Belgium
Foulkes, CharlesLieutenant-general
Charles Foulkes
195219530–1 years Canadian Army Canada
Qvistgaard, E.J.C.Admiral
Erhard J.C. Qvistgaard
195319540–1 years Royal Danish Navy Denmark
Guillaume, AugustinArmy general
Augustin Guillaume
195419550–1 years French Army France
Pallis, StylianosGeneral
Stylianos Pallis
195519560–1 years Hellenic Army Greece
Mancinelli, GiuseppeGeneral
Giuseppe Mancinelli
19561 January 19570–1 years Italian Army Italy
Hasselman, BenGeneral
Ben Hasselman
1 January 19571 February 19581 year, 31 days Royal Netherlands Army Netherlands
Øen, BjarneLieutenant general
Bjarne Øen
1 February 195819590–1 years Royal Norwegian Air Force Norway
Ferraz, J.A. BelezaGeneral
J.A. Beleza Ferraz
195919600–1 years Portuguese Army Portugal
Erdelhun, RüştüGeneral
Rüştü Erdelhun [tr]
23 February 19603 June 1960101 days Turkish Land Forces Turkey
Mountbatten, LouisAdmiral of the Fleet
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
3 June 1960June 19611 year Royal Navy United Kingdom
Lemnitzer, LymanGeneral
Lyman Lemnitzer
June 196119620–1 years United States Army United States
de Cumont, Charles PaulLieutenant general
Charles Paul de Cumont
1962December 19630–1 years Belgian Land Component Belgium

NATO Military Committee in Permanent Session (1958-1963)

No. Picture Chairman of the NATO Military CommitteeTook officeLeft officeTime in officeDefence branchNationality
Hasselman, BenGeneral
Ben Hasselman
1 February 1958April 19613 years, 2 months Royal Netherlands Army Netherlands
Heusinger, AdolfGeneral
Adolf Heusinger
April 1961December 19632 years, 8 months West German Army West Germany

NATO Military Committee (1963-present)

No. Picture Chairman of the NATO Military CommitteeTook officeLeft officeTime in officeDefence branchNationality
Heusinger, AdolfGeneral
Adolf Heusinger
December 19631 April 19644 months West German Army West Germany
de Cumont, Charles PaulLieutenant general
Charles Paul de Cumont
1 April 19641 June 19684 years, 61 days Belgian Land Component Belgium
Henderson, NigelAdmiral
Sir Nigel Henderson
1 June 19681 April 19712 years, 304 days Royal Navy United Kingdom
Steinhoff, JohannesGeneral
Johannes Steinhoff
1 April 197128 June 19743 years, 88 days West German Air Force West Germany
Hill-Norton, PeterAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Peter Hill-Norton
28 June 197420 March 19772 years, 265 days Royal Navy United Kingdom
Zeiner-Gundersen, Herman FredrikGeneral
Herman Fredrik Zeiner-Gundersen
20 March 197719802–3 years Norwegian Army Norway
Falls, Robert HilbornAdmiral
Robert Hilborn Falls
1980November 19832–3 years Canadian Maritime Command Canada
de Jager, CornelisGeneral
Cor de Jager
November 198330 September 19862 years, 333 days Royal Netherlands Army Netherlands
Altenburg, WolfgangGeneral
Wolfgang Altenburg
(born 1928)
30 September 19865 September 19892 years, 340 days West German Army West Germany
Eide, VigleikGeneral
Vigleik Eide
5 September 198931 December 19923 years, 117 days Norwegian Army Norway
Vincent, RichardField Marshal
Sir Richard Vincent
1 January 199314 February 19963 years, 45 days British Army United Kingdom
Naumann, KlausGeneral
Klaus Naumann
(born 1939)
14 February 19966 May 19993 years, 81 days German Army Germany
Venturoni, GuidoAdmiral
Guido Venturoni
(born 1934)
6 May 199930 June 20023 years, 55 days Italian Navy Italy
Kujat, HaraldGeneral
Harald Kujat
(born 1942)
1 July 200217 June 20052 years, 351 days German Air Force Germany
Henault, RaymondGeneral
Raymond Henault
(born 1949)
17 June 200527 June 20083 years, 10 days Royal Canadian Air Force Canada
Di Paola, GiampaoloAdmiral
Giampaolo Di Paola
(born 1944)
27 June 200818 November 20113 years, 144 days Italian Navy Italy
Gaskin, Walter E.Lieutenant general
Walter E. Gaskin
(born 1951)
18 November 20112 January 201245 days United States Marine Corps United States
Bartels, KnudGeneral
Knud Bartels
(born 1952)
2 January 201226 June 20153 years, 175 days Royal Danish Army Denmark
Pavel, PetrGeneral
Petr Pavel
(born 1961)
26 June 201529 June 20183 years, 3 days Czech Land Forces Czech Republic
Peach, StuartAir Chief Marshal
Sir Stuart Peach
(born 1956)
29 June 201825 June 20213 years, 27 days Royal Air Force United Kingdom
Bauer, RobAdmiral
Rob Bauer
(born 1962)
25 June 2021Incumbent55 days Royal Netherlands Navy Netherlands

See also


Further reading

  • Douglas S. Bland, 'The Military Committee of the North Atlantic Alliance: A Study of Structure and Strategy,' New York, Praeger, 1991.