General Mieczysław Cieniuch
Chief of Defence – Poland
General Mieczysław Cieniuch was born on 24 January 1951 in Bydgoszcz. He started his professional education in 1970 at the Armour Officer College in Poznań. He broadened his training experience at the Armour Academy in Moscow (1979-1982) and the Russian General Staff Academy (1990-1992). In 2000 he graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University in Washington. In 2002 and 2004 he completed courses on peacekeeping operations and personnel resources management at the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (Newport) and the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey), respectively.
Gen. Cieniuch served at all command and staff levels within armoured and mechanised units. His first assignment was as a platoon leader with the 60th Armoured Regiment, 16th Armoured Division (AD), and later Company Commander and Chief of Staff within that unit. From 1985 to 1988 he commanded the 68th Medium Armour Regiment (20 AD). In 1989 he was appointed Chief of Staff – Deputy Commander of that regiment, which was soon re-flagged as the 2nd Pomeranian Mechanised Division. In 1992, at the rank of Colonel, Mieczysław Cieniuch became Chief of Operational Division and the following year Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Pomeranian Military District. In 1996, he took command of the 8th Coastal Defence Division.
Since 1998 Gen. Cieniuch has held a series of joint and strategic assignments. He began in the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces as Head of the Command Directorate and, in 2000, as the J-5 Strategic Planning General Directorate. In 2003 he was appointed First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces. Beginning in 2006 he served as Acting Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces and subsequently as the Polish Military Representative to the Military Committees of NATO and the EU in Brussels. In 2009 he returned to Poland to become Advisor to the Minister of National Defence. On 7 May 2010 he assumed the position of the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, the highest military post in Poland. On 15 August of that year, he was promoted to the rank of General.
General Cieniuch has earned, among other awards, the Officer’s and Cavalier’s Crosses of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Meritorious Golden Cross, the Golden National Defence and Military Service Medals as well as the U.S. Legion of Merit. Gen. Cieniuch and his wife Danuta have one son, Jacek. The General’s interests include history and geography.