Chief of Defence
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Chief of Defence

The chief of defence (or head of defence) is the highest ranked commissioned officer of a nation's armed forces. The acronym CHOD is in common use within NATO and the European Union as a generic term for the highest national military position within the NATO and EU member states, rather than the actual term used for individual positions. Thus, irrespective of the formal national designation of that position is some variation on Commander-in-Chief, Chief of Staff, Supreme Commander or something else, they can all be referred to unambiguously as CHODs in NATO and EU terminology, although other terms are sometimes also seen within NATO. Thus, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the CHOD of the United States, the Chief of the Defence Staff is the CHOD of United Kingdom, the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr is the CHOD of Germany and the Chief of Defence (Forsvarssjefen) is the CHOD of Norway.

Both NATO and EU occasionally hold CHODs meetings of the NATO Military Committee and the European Union Military Committee respectively.

Chief of defence positions by NATO country

Three CHODs leaving Lancaster House in London, 10 June 2011. L-R: U.S. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; French Navy Adm. Édouard Guillaud, Chief of Defence Staff; British Gen. Sir David Richards, Chief of Defence Staff.

Within member states of NATO, the following national positions are the CHOD positions. Sometimes more than one form of translation into English is encountered.

Country Position Alternative translations[a] Term in national language used for the position
 Albania
Emblem of the Albanian General Staff.svg
Chief of the General Staff
Albanian: Shefi i shtabit të përgjithshëm
 Belgium
Chief of Defence
Chief of the General Staff[1] Dutch: Chef Defensie
French: Chef de la Défense
 Bulgaria
Logo of Ministry of Defense of Bulgaria.svg
Chief of the Defence[2]
Bulgarian:
 Canada
Flag of the Chief of the General Staff (Canada).svg
Chief of the Defence Staff
French: Chef d'état-major de la défense
 Croatia
Flag of the Chief of the Croatian General Staff.svg
Chief of the General Staff
Croatian: Na?elnik Glavnog sto?era
 Czech Republic
Insignia of General Staff of the Czech Republic.svg
Chief of the General Staff[3]
Czech: Ná?elník Generálního ?tábu
 Denmark
Standard of the Chief of the Defense Staff of Denmark.svg
Chief of Defence
Danish: Forsvarschefen
 Estonia
Flags of Estonia - Commander-in-Chief.svg
Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces[4]
Estonian: Kaitseväe juhataja
 France
Marque CEMA.svg
Chief of the Defence Staff
French: Chef d'état-major des armées
 Germany
Flagge Generalinspekteur Bundeswehr.svg
Inspector General of the Bundeswehr
Chief of Defence[5][6] German: Generalinspekteur der Bundeswehr
 Greece
Hellenic National Defence General Staff Seal.svg
Chief of the National Defence General Staff[7]
Greek: ? ? ? ?
 Hungary
Insignia Hungary Army HVK.svg
Chief of the General Staff[8]
Hungarian: Vezérkari f?nök
 Iceland
Director of the Defence Department[9][10]
 Italy
Flag of the chief of staff of defence of Italy.svg
Chief of the Defence Staff[11]
Italian: Capo di Stato Maggiore della Difesa
 Latvia
Commander of the National Armed Forces[12]
Latvian: Bru?oto sp?ku komandieris
 Lithuania
Flag of the Chief of Defence.jpg
Chief of Defence[13]
Lithuanian: Kariuomen?s vadas
 Luxembourg
Arméi oofzeechen.svg
Chief of Staff[14]
Chief of Defence French: Chef d'Etat-Major
 Montenegro
Military of Montenegro.gif
Chief of the General Staff
Montenegrin:
 Netherlands
NL-VLAG-CDS.svg
Chief of Defence[15]
Dutch: Commandant der Strijdkrachten
 Norway
Flag of the Norwegian Chief of Defence.svg
Chief of Defence
Norwegian: Forsvarssjefen
 Poland
Flaga Szefa Sztabu Generalnego Wojska Polskiego.svg
Chief of the General Staff[16]
Polish: Szef Sztabu Generalnego
 Portugal
Chief of the General Staff[17]
Portuguese: Chefe do Estado-Maior General das Forças Armadas
 Romania
Flag of the Romanian General Staff (Obverse).svg
Chief of Defence[18]
Chief of the General Staff Romanian: ?eful Statului Major General
 Slovakia
Emblem of the General staff of the Slovak Armed Forces.svg
Chief of the General Staff[19]
Slovak: Ná?elník generálneho ?tábu
 Slovenia
Flag of Chief of General Staff of the Slovenian Army.svg
Chief of the General Staff[20]
Slovene: Na?elnik General?taba
 Spain
Flag of the Chief of the Defence Staff (Spain).svg
Chief of the Defence Staff[21]
Spanish: Jefe del Estado Mayor de la Defensa
 Turkey
Standard of President of Turkey as Supreme Chief of Armed Forces.svg
Chief of the General Staff
Commander of the Armed Forces[22] Turkish: Genelkurmay Ba?kan?
 United Kingdom
Flag of the Chief of the Defence Staff.svg
Chief of the Defence Staff
 United States
Flag of the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.svg
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

In 2018 Slovenia appointed the first woman Major General Alenka Ermenc to hold such a position in the history of NATO and Slovenia.[23][24][25]

CHOD positions by non-NATO EU country

Within the EU member states that are not members of NATO, the following national positions are the CHOD positions.

Country Position Alternative translations Term in national language used for the position
 Austria
Chief of the General Staff
German: Chef des Generalstabes
 Cyprus
Flag of the Cypriot National Guard General Staff.svg
Chief of the National Guard
Greek: ? ? ?
 Finland
Flag of the commander of the Finnish Defence Forces.svg
Chief of Defence
Finnish: Puolustusvoimain komentaja
Swedish: Kommendören för Försvarsmakten
 Ireland
Chief of Staff
Irish: Ceann Foirne na bhFórsaí Cosanta
 Malta
Flag for the Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta.svg
Commander Armed Forces Malta (AFM)[26]
Maltese: Kmandant Forzi Armati ta 'Malta
 Sweden
Command sign of the Swedish supreme commander.png
Supreme Commander
Swedish: Överbefälhavaren

Other Chief of Defence positions by (non-NATO and non-EU) country

Note that in many countries outside of NATO and EU, the concept of civilian control of the military is inapplicable. In some countries the minister of defence is often a senior military officer. However, the list below only lists CHOD equivalents and not defense ministers.

Country Position Alternative translations Term in national language used for the position
 Algeria
Chief of Staff of the People's National Army
Chief of the Defence Staff Arabic: ?
 Australia
Flag of Chief of the Defence Force (Australia).svg
Chief of the Defence Force
 Belarus
?     ? .png
Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus
Belarusian: ? ? ?
 Brazil
Emcfa.gif
Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces
Portuguese: Chefe do Estado Maior Conjunto das Forças Armadas
 Chile
Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Defence
Spanish: Jefe del Estado Mayor Conjunto de la Defensa
 China
PLA Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission patch.svg
Joint Chief of Staff
Chief of General Staff
Commanding General of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department
Chinese:
 Colombia
General Commander of the Military Forces
Spanish: Comandante General de las Fuerzas Militares de Colombia
 Ecuador
Joint Chief of Staff
Spanish: El Comando Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas
 Ethiopia
Chief of General Staff
 Gambia
Chief of the Defence Staff
 Georgia
Georgia. Standard of Chief of General Staff.svg
Chief of General Staff
Georgian: ? ?
 Ghana
Chief of the Defence Staff
 Guatemala
Flag for the Chief of the General Staff (Guatemala).svg
Chief of the General Staff
Spanish: Jefe del Estado Mayor
 India
Flag of Chief of Defence Staff (India).svg
Chief of Defence Staff
 Indonesia
Lambang TNI 2013.png
Commander of the National Armed Forces
Indonesian: Panglima Tentara Nasional Indonesia
 Iran
Flag of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.svg
Chief of General Staff
Persian: ? ? ? ?
 Israel
Flag of IDF Chief of Staff.svg
Chief of General Staff
Hebrew: ?
 Jamaica
Flag of the Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force 2020.svg
Chief of Defence Staff
 Japan
Flag of Chief of Staff, Joint Staff (JSDF).svg
Chief of Staff, Joint Staff
Japanese:
 Myanmar
Commander in Chief flag of Myanmar.svg
Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services
Burmese:
 New Zealand
Chief of Defence Force
 Nigeria
Flag of the Chief of Defence Staff.png
Chief of the Defence Staff
   Nepal
Flag of the Chief of Army Staff of Nepali Army.svg
Chief of Army Staff
Nepali: ? ?
 North Korea
Chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army
Korean: ?
 Peru
Rank flag for the Chief of the Joint Command (Peru).svg
Head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Peru
Portuguese: Chefe do Comando Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas del Perú
 Philippines
Flag of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (Philippines).svg
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
 Russia
Flag of Russia's Chief of Staff.svg
Chief of the General Staff
Russian:
 Serbia
General?tab VS.gif
Chief of the General Staff
Serbian:
 Singapore
Chief of Defence Force
 Somalia
The Somali National Army Logo.png
Chief of Armed Forces
Somali: Taliyaha Xooga Qalabka Soomaaliyeed
 South Africa
Chief of the National Defence Force
 South Korea
ROK JCF logo.svg
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Korean:
 Sri Lanka
Chief of the Defence Staff
  Switzerland
Chief of the Armed Forces
French: Chef de l'Armée
German: Chef der Armee
Italian: Capo dell'Esercito
 Syria
Flag of the Chief of the General Staff (Syria).svg
Chief of the General Staff
Arabic: ? ? ? ? ?
 Taiwan
ROC Ministry of National Defense Flag.svg
Chief of the General Staff
Chinese:
 Thailand
Flag Thai Chief of the Defence Forces.svg
Chief of the Defence Forces
Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters Thai:
 Ukraine
  .png
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Ukrainian: ?
 Vietnam
Vietnam People's Army General Staff insignia.jpg
Chief of the Staff
Chief of the General Staff of the People's Army of Vietnam Vietnamese: T?ng Tham m?u trng Quân i Nhân dân Vi?t Nam

Notes

  1. ^ This is provided when the term given on NATO's homepage is different from the one used in the popflock.com resource entry for the position.

References

  1. ^ NATO: Chief of the General Staff of Belgium, accessed on October 30, 2008
  2. ^ NATO: Chief of General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  3. ^ NATO: Chief of the General Staff Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, accessed on October 30, 2008
  4. ^ Estonian Defence Forces: Commander, accessed on November 12, 2014
  5. ^ "NATO: Chief of Defence - Germany". NATO. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ "The Chief of Defence". bmvg.de. The German Government. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ NATO: Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, accessed on October 30, 2008
  8. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence Staff Hungarian Army, accessed on October 30, 2008
  9. ^ NATO: Director of the Defence Department and Chief of Defence of Iceland, accessed on October 30, 2008
  10. ^ Iceland presents a special case since the country does not have its own armed forces as such. Thus, a civilian at the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs fulfills the role of CHOD in relation to NATO.
  11. ^ NATO: Chief of Defense Staff of Italy, accessed on October 30, 2008
  12. ^ NATO: Commander of the Latvian National Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  13. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  14. ^ NATO: Chief of Staff of the Luxembourg Army, accessed on October 30, 2008
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-01. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), accessed on November 20, 2012
  16. ^ NATO: Chief of General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  17. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence of Portugal, accessed on October 30, 2008
  18. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence of Romania, accessed on October 30, 2008
  19. ^ NATO: Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, accessed on October 30, 2008
  20. ^ NATO: Chief of General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  21. ^ NATO: Chief of Defence Staff of Spain, accessed on October 30, 2008
  22. ^ NATO: Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces, accessed on October 30, 2008
  23. ^ "Nato state appoints first female head of armed forces". BBC News. 27 November 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ Reuters (27 November 2018). "Slovenia Appoints First Female Army Chief". VOA news. Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ "Slovenia Appoints First Female Head of Armed Forces". Sentinelassam.com. Retrieved .
  26. ^ http://www.afm.gov.mt/commander?l=1 , accessed February 16, 2014

External links


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