Chairman of the Military Committee
The Chairman of the Military Committee is NATO’s senior military officer, by virtue of being the principal military advisor to the Secretary General and the conduit through which consensus-based advice from NATO’s 28 Chiefs of Defence is brought forward to the political decision-making bodies of NATO.
He directs the day-to-day business of the Military Committee, NATO's highest military authority, and acts on its behalf.
The Chairman is also the Committee’s spokesman and representative, making him the senior military spokesman for the Alliance on all military matters.
The current Chairman is General Knud Bartels of Denmark. He took up his functions on 2 January 2012.
The Chairman’s authority stems from the Military Committee, to which he is responsible in the performance of his duties.
He chairs all meetings of the Military Committee and, in his absence, the Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee takes the chair.
The Chairman of the Military Committee is both its spokesman and representative. He directs its day-to-day business and acts on behalf of the Committee in issuing the necessary directives and guidance both to the Director of the International Military Staff and to NATO’s Strategic Commanders. He represents the Military Committee at the North Atlantic Council, and other high-level political meetings such as the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group, providing consensus advice on military matters when required.
By virtue of his appointment, the Chairman of the Committee also has an important public role and is the senior military spokesman for the Alliance in contacts with the press and media. He undertakes official visits and representational duties on behalf of the Committee, meeting with government officials and senior military officers in both NATO countries and in countries with which NATO is developing closer contacts in the framework of formal partnerships, for instance, the Partnership for Peace programme, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the NATO-Russia Council, the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the Mediterranean Dialogue, and with Non-NATO Troop Contributing Countries to NATO operations.
He is also the Chairman of the Academic Advisory Board of the NATO Defense College.
The Chairman of the Military Committee is elected from among the NATO Chiefs of Defence and appointed for a three-year term of office. The CMC-elect has served preferably as Chief of defence or an equivalent capacity in his own country, and is a non-US officer of four-star rank or national equivalent.