News BlogEU Defense (Doctrine)

A Dane will chair NATO's military committee from 2012

(BRUSSELS2) It’s the end of French hope. To replace Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, who chairs the destiny of the NATO military committee – the highest consultation body of the Alliance -, the Chiefs of Staff (CHOD) of the Alliance have chosen …a Dane. Di Paola's mandate ends in June 2012. But the members of the military committee, meeting on September 17 in Seville (Spain) have already chosen his successor. It will be General Knut Bartels, the current Danish Chief of Staff. He had no competitor against him since he was the “single candidate”. “This is a challenging time for NATO with its ongoing missions in Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of Somalia, as well as the transformation of the Alliance and the implementation of new NATO command structure requires full dedication and commitment” explained Admiral Di Paola.

First job for Denmark

This is the first time that Denmark has accessed this leading position, at a time when the secretary general of the organization is also a Dane. Since its creation in 1963, the committee has been chaired five times by a German, three times by a Briton, twice by a Canadian (same for the Norwegian and the Canadian), once by a Belgian and once by a Dutchman. Never by a Frenchman.

French hope disappointed

The French government could hope that this post could go to a tricolor officer. A hypothesis that had the wind in its sails in Paris in the spring, as my colleague from Point (read here). Even if on the French side, we affirm that there was no national candidate, this one (Admiral Guillaud) being confirmed as Chief of Staff by Nicolas Sarkozy, we can see here, if not a new setback, at least a lost opportunity., proof that France's reintegration into NATO, its decisive commitment in Libya and its demand to have more posts do not suffice not automatically convince all its members. France therefore now has a notable handicap in important positions which must be filled during a future redistribution of positions, on pain of having to ask the question: where is the additional influence acquired by reintegration?

(Update, September 20) Let us point out that “on the French side”, we do not at all share this analysis on “disappointed French hope”. “ There is no disappointment since there was no application. Seeing it as a setback in the reintegration of NATO therefore has no connection. » someone commented to me. “ As for the presence in the Alliance, France occupies several important positions (notably the head of ACT, the allied command of Transformation), as well as several positions that are undoubtedly less visible, but which are no less important”, especially in Shape.

A good NATO expert

Born in 1952, Knudel participated in the UN force deployed in Cyprus (1980-1981) and was the deputy head of the task force deployed to northern Kosovo under French command in 1999. Deputy military representative of his country at the NATO in 2001, he was Deputy Director for Operations at the International Staff in 2002 then was appointed Commander of the Danish Division in 2004. He then returned to NATO as a military representative (2006 to 2009). In 2009, he was appointed Chief of Staff after the surprise resignation of Admiral Tim Sloth Jørgensen who had tried to suppress the publication of a book on the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq by a former member of the forces special. In the NATO operation in Libya, he played a " useful role » estimates a keen observer of the mechanics of the Alliance. He graduated from the (French) War School (1984-1986) and the US Army War College (1993-1994) and was knighted in the Order of the Legion of Honor.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

2 thoughts on “A Dane will chair NATO's military committee from 2012"

  • From La Boisserie

    That French hopes are disappointed is neither a surprise nor a subject of interest!

    On the other hand, the fact that a Dane is chosen while Denmark is taunting the EU by maintaining its opt out in terms of Defense suggests that those who made this choice are delighted! Which seems to me a little more serious and worrying for the future!

Comments closed.