Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen

Chief of Defence – Norway

  • Last updated: 08 Jan. 2014 11:05

Admiral Bruun-Hanssen was born in Bergen on 8th July 1960. He started his military career at naval petty officer training course in Stavanger in 1980, and served at the recruit training centre until he started the naval academy in 1983.

Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, Chief of Defence of Norway

After graduating from the naval academy in 1987 Bruun-Hanssen served in various positions onboard the Kobben class submarines before he attended the commanding officer qualifying course in 1991. On completion he served as Commanding officer of HNoMS Kobben (1991-92) and later as Commanding officer of the newer Ula-class submarine HNoMS Utstein (93-95).

Following his second command tour, Bruun-Hanssen was promoted Commander and joined the Navy Staff, Plans & Policy department as a staff officer. During this appointment he was the Norwegian project officer to BALTRON, the NATO support to the three Baltic countries during their establishment of a common Mine Counter Measure Squadron. In 1998-99 Bruun-Hanssen attended the Dutch higher level staff college (IDL) in Hague, Holland, after which he served 4 years at the national staff college in Oslo - first as a faculty advisor for military operations, and later as tutor in military history and strategy.

Bruun-Hanssen attended the national defence college in 2003. He was subsequently promoted Captain (N) and appointed chief of the naval operation center at the national joint headquarters in Stavanger. In this position he was maritime adviser to Joint Force Commander Norway and was responsible for the execution of his command over and control with all Norwegian maritime units, navy and coastguard.

In November 2006 Bruun-Hanssen was promoted to Commodore and appointed as Chief of Staff, Naval Staff. In this function he supported the final stages of the transformation of the Norwegian Navy into more modern, agile and deployable force. Bruun-Hanssen also attended NATO Combined Maritime Component Commander Flag Course during this period after which he was promoted Rear Admiral and Chief Royal Norwegian Navy on 26th August 2008. During his tenure as Navy Chief, his main focus was to complete the successful renewal of the navy’s surface fleet. To this end, the navy now operates Aegis frigates of the Nansen class, Skjold class corvettes and plans for a new fleet support ship are now being realised.

Haakon Bruun-Hanssen was promoted Vice Admiral and COM Norwegian Joint Headquarters 24th of May 2011. In this position he was responsible for all Norwegian military operations, domestic and abroad. His focus was on establishing a fully operational HQ, the cooperation with Russia and the HQs connection to NATO.

The 19th November 2013 Bruun-Hanssen was promoted to Admiral and Chief of Defence Norway.

Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen is married to Hege, and they have two children.



Haakon Bruun-Hanssen
Born: 08.07.1960

Started his service in 1980


2013-     Chief of Defence
2011 - 13   Commander, Norwegian Joint Headquarters
    Vice Admiral
2008 - 11   Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy
    Rear Admiral
2006 - 08   Chief of Staff/Naval Staff/ Defence Staff Norway
2003 -06   Chief Naval Operations Centre, JFC Norway
    Captain (Navy)
2001 – 03   Tutor in Military History and Strategy, Joint Staff College
    Commander Senior Grader
1999 - 01   Faculty Advisor, Joint Staff College
1995 - 98   Staff Officer, Plans and Policy, Naval Staff
    Lieutenant Commander/Commander
1993 – 95   Commanding Officer, HNoMS Utstein
    Lieutenant Commander
1991 - 92   Commanding Officer, HNoMS Kobben
    Lieutenant Commander
1989 - 91   Executive Officer, HNoMS Utstein
    Lieutenant/Lieutenant Commander
1988 – 89   Navigations Officer, HNoMS Utstein
1987 – 88   Torpedo Officer, HNoMS Utstein
1981 – 83   Instructor Petty Officer Training School, Stavanger
    Second Lieutenant


2003     Defence College, Oslo
1998-1999   Instituut Defencie Leergangen, Higher Staff College, Netherlands
1995   Naval Staff College 1
1991   Submarine Commanding Officer Qualifying Course
1983-1987   Naval Academy
1980   Petty Officer Training School


2013     Norwegian Defence Cross of Honour
2011   The Norwegian Civilian Rifle Assosiations Medal of Honour
2011   The Legion of Merit, USA, Commander
2010   Defence Service Medal with Star
2009   Defence Service Medal with Laurel Branch
2009   Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Grand Officer
1982   National Service Medal – Navy with Three Stars




Admiral Bruun-Hanssen is married to Hege. Together they have two children.