Chair of the Military Committee
The Chair 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 the Chiefs of Defence of all NATO member countries is brought forward to the political decision-making bodies of NATO.
- The Chair is NATO’s senior military officer and the senior military spokesperson 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 of all NATO member countries is presented to the political decision-making bodies and guidance and directives are issued to the Strategic Commanders (Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation) and the Director General of the International Military Staff.
- He also directs the Military Committee (NATO’s highest military authority), acts on its behalf and is the Committee’s spokesperson and representative.
- The current Chair is Admiral Rob Bauer. He took up his functions on 25 June 2021.
Tasks and responsibilities
The Chair’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 Chair of the Military Committee takes the chair.
The Chair of the Military Committee is both its spokesperson 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-based advice on military matters when required.
By virtue of his appointment, the Chair of the Committee also has an important public role and is the senior military spokesperson 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 and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and with non-NATO troop-contributing countries to NATO operations.
He is also the Chair of the Academic Advisory Board of the NATO Defense College.
Selection process and mandate
The Chair of the Military Committee is elected from among the NATO Chiefs of Defence and appointed for a three-year term of office. He 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.