Chairman of the Military Committee

  • Last updated: 03 Aug. 2017 15:13

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 29 Chiefs of Defence is brought forward to the political decision-making bodies of NATO.


  • The Chairman is NATO’s senior military officer and the senior military spokesman for the Alliance on all military matters.
  • He is the principal military adviser to the Secretary General.
  • He is the conduit through which advice from the Chiefs of Defence is presented to the political decision-making bodies and guidance and directives are issued to the strategic commanders (Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation) and the Director of the International Military Staff.
  • He also directs the Military Committee, acts on its behalf and is the Committee’s spokesman.

He directs 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 Petr Pavel, Czech Republic. He took up his functions on 26 June 2015.

  • Tasks and responsibilities

    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 acts on behalf of the Committee in issuing the necessary directives and guidance both to the Director General of the International Military Staff and to NATO’s Strategic Commanders. He represents the Military Committee at the North Atlantic Council (NATO’s highest political decision-making body), and other high-level political meetings such as 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. 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.

  • Selection process and mandate

    The Chairman of the Military Committee (CMC) is elected from among the NATO Chiefs of Defence and appointed for a three-year term of office. The CMC-elect 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.