General Luís Vasco Valença Pinto (PO Army) was born in Lisbon and is 60 years old. He was promoted to his current rank on the 6th August 2003, when he assumed office as Chief of Staff of the Army, a post he held until 5 December 2006, when he took up the position of Chief of Defence.
He joined the Army as a Cadet in 1963 at the Military Academy and was commissioned into the Engineer Branch. General Valença Pinto’s military education includes, amongst other courses, the Army Command and General Staff Course and the Army War College. He is an “ancien” from the NATO Defence College, Rome (course 72). He also holds a Civil Engineering degree from the Technical University of Lisbon.
Since his commissioning, General Valença Pinto has served in a variety of command and staff assignments to include two combat tours, in the former Portuguese colony of Angola, as an Engineer Platoon Leader (1971-72) and as an Engineer Company Commander (1973-75).
General Valença Pinto was Personal Advisor to the Chief of the Army Staff on four different occasions. He served in various capacities at the Engineer School, including Company Commander, Chief Instructor, Training and Education Director, Deputy Commanding Officer and Commanding Officer. He was also a Staff Officer at the Operations Branch of the Army Staff and, on different turns, a Faculty Member at the Institute of High Military Studies, where as a teacher he held responsibilities in the areas of Strategy, Geopolitics, Engineer Operations, NBC Defence and Psychological Operations.
Between 1978 and 1984 he was the Portuguese representative at the main working groups and panels dealing with NBC Defence matters in the structures of the NATO Conference of National Armaments Directors, the NATO Military Agency of Standardization and the EURONATO Training.
He served as Military Counsellor of the Portuguese Delegation to NATO (1990-93, Brussels, Belgium), where, acting also in the framework of the WEU and the former IEPG, Eurogroup and European Political Cooperation, he had responsibilities in the fields of Defence Planning, Armaments Cooperation and Cooperation on Defence Matters with Central and Eastern European countries.
On promotion to Major General in 1997 he became the Portuguese National Military Representative at SHAPE (Mons, Belgium) and in 2000 Director of the National Defence Institute. On April 2001 he was promoted to Lieutenant General and took over functions as the Army Logistics Commander.
General Valença Pinto has been awarded several decorations, amongst them seven Distinguished Service Medals (five Gold and two Silver) and the Military Merit Medal in three different classes.
He has published many articles and papers on Security and Defence issues in military and academic magazines. Currently he is member of the monthly “Revista Militar” (Military Review) and board member of the quarterlies “Nação e Defesa” (Nation and Defence) and “Relações Internacionais” (International Relations). He is a regular lecturer at defence and military institutes and at civilian universities, both in Portugal and abroad.
General Valença Pinto is married to Maria de Lourdes and they have two sons (1971, 1973), one daughter (1976) and two grandsons.