General Petr Pavel ends his tenure as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
Three years after he took up his position as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, from the Czech Republic’s Armed Forces, handed over the highest NATO military position to his successor, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, former Chief of Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces.
General Pavel was elected by the NATO Chiefs of Defence in 2014 during the Military Committee Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. He took up his post on 26 June 2015, when General Knud Bartels (Rtd) ended his term. Being first and foremost a soldier, General Pavel started his last day as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, in the presence of NATO and Partner Military Representatives, by paying his respects to all those men and women who have paid the ultimate price and laid a wreath at the NATO Memorial to the Fallen. General Pavel also took the opportunity to plant a lime tree, the national tree of the Czech Republic, on the grounds of the NATO Headquarters.
Over the last three years, General Pavel led the Military Committee through a period in the Alliance’s history very much characterized by adaptation. General Pavel first worked with the Military Committee on implementing the decisions made at the 2014 Wales Summit, namely the Readiness Action Plan, the Assurance and Adaptation Measures, Forward Presence and increased Air Policing. The intense period of work also included the enhancement of the Alliance’s Deterrence and Defence posture, the development and implementation of the Projecting Stability initiative, the adaptation of the NATO Command Structure, and support of NATO’s missions and operations, in particular the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and KFOR in Kosovo.
During his last Military Committee in Permanent Session, General Pavel remarked that when he first started his military career, Czechoslovakia was part of the Warsaw Pact. Never did he imagine, that he would one day be elected by the Allied Chiefs of Defence and become Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. He thanked the Military Representatives for their dedication, hard work and support. He acknowledged that while it was not always easy to achieve consensus, the trust in the Alliance and its core values guaranteed that unfettered military advice was always provided.
“It has been a privilege to visit most of your countries and those of our Partner countries. I learnt so much during those visits. We have done a good job moving the Alliance forward, but there is more to come. The Military Committee is a great band of brothers who have always held frank and open discussions. If we keep in mind and support the core values of the Alliance, then we can always deal with any differences or disagreements. The role of this body will always be to provide fair military advice,” said General Pavel.
The Chairman of the Military Committee is NATO’s senior military officer, by virtue of being the principal military adviser 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. 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, advice on military matters when required.