Chief of the Defence Staff (France)

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République Française
Chef d'État-Major des Armées
Logoema.jpg
E.M.A Insignia
Insigne de l'État-Major des Armées
Marque CEMA.svg
François Lecointre (27116104389) (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Général François Lecointre

since 19 July 2017
Member of Chiefs of Staff Committee
Seat Paris, France
Nominator Ministère de la Défense
Appointer Président de la République Française
Require Premier Ministre Français countersignature
Term length No fixed term
Formation 27th Chief since April 28, 1948
First holder Jean-Louis Borel (1874-1875)
Deputy Major Général des Armées
Website http://www.defense.gouv.fr

The Chief of the General Staff of the Armies (French: (C)hef d'(É)tat-(M)ajor des (A)rmées) (acronym: C.E.M.A.) is the chief (French: Chef) of the general staff headquarters (French: État-Major) of the Armies (French: Armées) of France and leading senior military officer responsible for usage of the French Armed Forces, ensuring the commandment of all military operations (under reserve of the particular dispositions relative to nuclear deterrence).

C.E.M.A. is currently held by Général François Lecointre.

Functions[edit]

The Chef d'État-Major des Armées (French: C.E.M.A.) assists the Ministry of the Armed Forces (French: Ministère des Armées) in its capacity attributions to make use of the various required forces. C.E.M.A., in virtue of decree dispositions of July 15, 2009, under the authority of the President of France, the French government, and under the reserve of the particular dispositions relative to nuclear deterrence, is responsible for the use of forces and commandment of all military operations. CEMA is the military counselar of the government.

C.E.M.A. has authority over the:

C.E.M.A. responsibilities consist of:

  • The inter-arm organizations and the general organization of the armed forces
  • The expression of the need in material of human resources of the armed forces, the inter-arm institutions, and the definition of the ensemble format of the armed forces.
  • The preparation and condition assignments of recruiting in the armed forces
  • Support of the armed forces ( C.E.M.A. determines the general organizations and objectives. C.EM.A. assures the operational maintenance in condition of all equipments. C.E.M.A. determines the inter-arm needs of various material infrastructures and that of the armed forces while verifying status of operability)
  • The renseignement of military interest. C.E.M.A. ensures the general research direction and exploitation of the renseignement militaire and has authority on the direction du renseignement militaire
  • International military relations

Responsibilities and authorities[edit]

C.E.M.A is responsible for :

  • Conduct of operations : plans of use, general articulation of forces, distribution of operational means between theatre commanders (over whom he has full authority)
  • Forces preparation : CEMA is in check of forces aptitude in missions completion and has a permanent right of inspection over these forces;
  • Future Preparation : planning and programming of military capacities. Oversees in effect of coherence in means of the armed forces and participates to the preparation and various executions of associated military and defence budgets.
  • Inter-arm organization: Oversees the coherence of the armed forces organization
  • Military relations with foreign militaries: CEMA directs French foreign military missions in foreign theatres, organizes the participation of the armed forces in regards to military cooperations, following international mandated negotiations and represents France at the varuous military committees of international organizations.
The installation of L’État-Major des Armées between 1890 and 2015.

Directly under the CEMA authority are :

  • Les Chefs d’état-major de l'Armée de terre, de La Marine et de l’Armée de l’Air
  • l'État-Major des armées (EMA)
  • The Inspection of the Armed Forces (IDA)
  • Superior commanders in the collective and overseas territorial departments and the commanders of the French forces in foreign areas (COMSUP and COMFOR), the officiers généraux of the zones de défense et de sécurité (OGZDS) and the délégués militaires départementaux (DMD)
  • Inter-arm institutions:
    • Direction du renseignement militaire (DRM) – Directorate of Military Intelligence
    • French Special Operations Command (French: Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS))
    • état-major interarmées de force et d'entraînement (EMIA-FE)
    • Direction centrale du service de santé des armées (DCSSA) – Military Medical Services
    • Direction centrale du service des essences des armées (DCSEA) – Military Fuel Services
    • Direction interarmées des réseaux d'infrastructures et des systèmes d'information (DIRISI)– Inter-arm infrastructure and Information Systems Directorate
    • Direction centrale du service du commissariat des armées - DCSCA, created January 1 2010
    • Service interarmées des munitions, created March 25 2011
    • Enseignement militaire supérieur.

The Chief of the general staff headquarters of the Armies (CEMA), is assisted by a Major General of the Armies (French: Major Général des Armées), a senior ranked officer of the French Armed Forces.

Chefs d'État-Major des armées[edit]

Chef d'État-Major général de l'Armée (1874–1914)[edit]

Commandant en chef des armées françaises (1915–1918)[edit]

While non official, the term Generalissimo or « (French: Généralissime) » was employed since 1914 to designate the individual who in reality was « Commandant en Chef des Armées du Nord et du Nord-Est » (English: Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the North and North-East). The term would be made official in 1915 when Joffre was also given command over the Salonika front (a degree of authority not enjoyed by his successors). The rank and post was successively occupied by three generals during World War I: Joseph Joffre, who occupied the rank and functions from August 1914 without bearing the official title, then Robert Nivelle and Philippe Pétain.

Général Ferdinand Foch was the Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Zone under Joseph Joffre in autumn 1914; this role later crystallised into command of French Army Group North, a position which Foch held until December 1916. Subsequently, Foch became Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front with the title Généralissime in 1918 then was designated as « Commandant en Chef des Armées Alliées » (English:Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces) starting May 14, 1918.[1] Foch was promoted to Marshal of France prior the planning of the offensive that led to the Armistice of 11 November 1918. Following the armistice, Marshal Ferdinand Foch was elevated to the diginity of the Marshal of Great Britain and Poland.

N# Portrait Rank Name Service Branch Command Tenure Minister of War President of France
Tenure From Tenure Until Duration of Tenure
17. Joseph Joffre.jpg Generalissimo
Général de division[2]

(elevated to the diginity of
Maréchal de France)
Joseph Joffre French Army December 2, 1915 December 17, 1916 1 year, 15 days Joseph Gallieni
Pierre Roques
Louis Lyautey
Raymond Poincaré
18. General nivelle.jpg Général de division Robert Nivelle French Army December 17, 1916 May 15, 1917 149 days Louis Lyautey
Lucien Lacaze
Paul Painlevé
Raymond Poincaré
19. Portraits de Philippe Pétain - Page 3 (recadré).jpg Général de division
(elevated to the dignity of
Maréchal de France)
Philippe Pétain French Army May 17, 1917 March 28, 1918 315 days Paul Painlevé
Georges Clemenceau
Raymond Poincaré

Commandant en chef des Armées alliées (1918–1920)[edit]

N# Portrait Rank Name Service Branch Command Tenure Minister of War President of France
Tenure From Tenure Until Duration of Tenure
20. Ferdinand Foch.jpg Marshal of
France

Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front with title bearing Généralissime
(British Field Marshal
22nd Royal First Honorary Colonel
Marshal of Poland following the war)
Ferdinand Foch French Army March 28, 1918 January 10, 1920 1 year, 288 days Georges Clemenceau Raymond Poincaré

Chef d'État-Major général des armées françaises (1920–1940)[edit]

Chef d'État-Major général des armées françaises Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch President of the Council President
21
Edmond Buat
Buat, EdmondGénéral de division
Edmond Buat
(1868–1923)
June 24, 1920December 30, 19233 years, 189 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Alexandre Millerand
Georges Leygues
Aristide Briand
Raymond Poincaré
Paul Deschanel
(1920 – 1920)
Alexandre Millerand
(1920 – 1924)
22
Marie-Eugène Debeney
Debeney, Marie-EugèneGeneralissimo
Marie-Eugène Debeney
(1864–1943)
January 1, 1924January 2, 19306 years, 1 dayLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Raymond Poincaré
Frédéric François-Marsal
Édouard Herriot
Paul Painlevé
Aristide Briand
Alexandre Millerand
(1920 – 1924)
Gaston Doumergue
(1924 – 1931)
23
Maxime Weygand
Weygand, MaximeGénéral d'armée
Maxime Weygand
(1867–1965)
January 2, 1930January 21, 19355 years, 19 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Camille Chautemps
André Tardieu
Théodore Steeg
Pierre Laval
Gaston Doumergue
(1924 – 1931)
24
Maurice Gamelin
Gamelin, MauriceGénéral d'armée
Maurice Gamelin
(1872–1958)
January 21, 1935May 18, 19405 years, 118 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Pierre Laval
Albert Sarraut
Léon Blum
Camille Chautemps
Édouard Daladier
Gaston Doumergue
(1924 – 1931)
Paul Doumer
(1931 – 1932)
Albert François Lebrun
(1932 – 1940)

Chef d'État-Major général des forces armées (1948–1950)[edit]

Chef d'État-Major général des forces armées Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch President of the Council President
25
Henri Zeller (fr)
Zeller, HenriGénéral de division
Henri Zeller (fr)
(1896–1971)
April 28, 1948March 31, 19501 year, 337 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Robert Schuman
André Marie
Henri Queuille
Georges Bidault
Vincent Auriol
(1947 – 1954)

Chef d'État-Major combiné des forces armées (1950–1953)[edit]

Chef d'État-Major combiné des forces armées Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch President of the Council President
(25)
Henri Zeller (fr)
Zeller, HenriGénéral de division
Henri Zeller (fr)
(1896–1971)
April 1, 1950August 20, 19511 year, 141 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Queuille, HenriHenri Queuille
René Pleven
Vincent Auriol
(1947 – 1954)
26
Charles Léchères (fr)
Léchères, CharlesGénéral
Charles Léchères (fr)
(1895–1960)
August 20, 1951August 20, 19521 year, 0 daysLogo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
French Air Force
Henri Queuille
René Pleven
Edgar Faure
Antoine Pinay
Vincent Auriol
(1947 – 1954)
27
Alphonse Juin
Juin, AlphonseGénéral d'armée
Alphonse Juin
(1897–1975)
(elevated to the dignity of Maréchal de France)
August 20, 1952August 17, 1953362 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Antoine Pinay
René Mayer
Joseph Laniel
Vincent Auriol
(1947 – 1954)

Chef d'État-Major des forces armées (1953–1958)[edit]

Chef d'État-Major des forces armées Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch President of the Council President
28
Paul Ély
Ély, PaulGénéral d'armée
Paul Ély
(1897–1975)
August 18, 1953June 3, 1954289 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Laniel, JosephJoseph LanielVincent Auriol
(1947 – 1954)
René Coty
(1954 – 1959)
29
Augustin Guillaume
Guillaume, AugustinGénéral d'armée
Augustin Guillaume
(1895–1983)
June 4, 1954February 28, 19561 year, 269 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Joseph Laniel
Pierre Mendès France
Edgar Faure
Guy Mollet
René Coty
(1954 – 1959)
(28)
Paul Ély
Ély, PaulGénéral d'armée
Paul Ély
(1897–1975)
March 2, 1956May 16, 19582 years, 75 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Laniel, JosephJoseph Laniel
Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Félix Gaillard
Pierre Pflimlin
René Coty
(1954 – 1959)

Chef d'État-Major général des armées (1958–1961)[edit]

Chef d'État-Major général des armées Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch President of the Council then
Prime Minister of France
President
30
Henri Lorillot
Lorillot, HenriGénéral d'armée
Henri Lorillot
May 17, 1958June 8, 195852 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Pierre Pflimlin
Charles de Gaulle
René Coty
(1954 – 1959)
(28)
Paul Ély
Ély, PaulGénéral d'armée
Paul Ély
(1897–1975)
June 9, 1958February 11, 1959218 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Charles de Gaulle
Michel Debré
René Coty
(1954 – 1959)
Charles de Gaulle
(1959 – 1969)
31
Gaston Lavaud (fr)
Lavaud, GastonGénéral d'armée
Gaston Lavaud (fr)
(1897–1975)
February 25, 1959April 10, 19612 years, 44 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Michel DebréCharles de Gaulle
(1959 – 1969)

Chef d'État-Major interarmées (1961–1962)[edit]

Chef d'État-Major interarmées Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Prime Minister of France President
32
André Martin
Martin, AndréGénéral
André Martin
(1911–2001)
April 11, 1961July 15, 19621 year, 95 daysLogo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
French Air Force
Michel Debré
Georges Pompidou
Charles de Gaulle
(1959 – 1969)

Chef d'État-Major des armées (1962–present)[edit]

Chef d'État-Major des armées Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Prime Minister of France President
33
Charles Ailleret (fr)
Ailleret, CharlesGénéral d'armée
Charles Ailleret (fr)
(1907–1968)
July 16, 1962March 9, 19685 years, 237 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Georges PompidouCharles de Gaulle
34
Michel Fourquet (fr)
Fourquet, MichelGénéral
Michel Fourquet (fr)
(1914–1992)
April 1, 1968June 8, 19713 years, 68 daysLogo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
French Air Force
Georges Pompidou
Maurice Couve de Murville
Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Charles de Gaulle
Georges Pompidou
35
François Maurin (fr)
Maurin, FrançoisGénéral
François Maurin (fr)
(1918–2018)
June 9, 1971June 30, 19754 years, 21 daysLogo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
French Air Force
Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Pierre Messmer
Jacques Chirac
Georges Pompidou
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
36
Guy Méry (fr)
Méry, GuyGénéral d'armée
Guy Méry (fr)
(1919–1999)
July 1, 1975July 19, 19805 years, 18 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Jacques Chirac
Raymond Barre
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
37
Claude Vanbremeersch (fr)
Vanbremeersch, ClaudeGénéral d'armée
Claude Vanbremeersch (fr)
(1921–1981)
July 20, 1980January 31, 1981195 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Raymond BarreValéry Giscard d'Estaing
38
Jeannou Lacaze
Lacaze, JeannouGénéral d'armée
Jeannou Lacaze
(1924–2005)
February 1, 1981July 31, 19854 years, 180 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Raymond Barre
Pierre Mauroy
Laurent Fabius
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
François Mitterrand
39
Jean Saulnier (pilot) (fr)
Saulnier, JeanGénéral
Jean Saulnier (pilot) (fr)
(1930–2013)
August 1, 1985November 13, 19872 years, 104 daysLogo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
French Air Force
Laurent Fabius
Jacques Chirac
François Mitterrand
40
Maurice Schmitt
Schmitt, MauriceGénéral d'armée
Maurice Schmitt
(born 1930)
November 14, 1987April 23, 19913 years, 160 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Jacques Chirac
Michel Rocard
François Mitterrand
41
Jacques Lanxade
Lanxade, JacquesAmiral
Jacques Lanxade
(born 1934)
April 24, 1991September 8, 19954 years, 137 daysLogo of the French Navy (Marine Nationale).svg
French Navy
Michel Rocard
Édith Cresson
Pierre Bérégovoy
Édouard Balladur
Alain Juppé
François Mitterrand
Jacques Chirac
42
Jean-Philippe Douin
Douin, Jean-PhilippeGénéral
Jean-Philippe Douin
(1940–2016)
September 9, 1995April 7, 19982 years, 210 daysLogo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg
French Air Force
Alain Juppé
Lionel Jospin
Jacques Chirac
43
Jean-Pierre Kelche (fr)
Kelche, Jean-PierreGénéral d'armée
Jean-Pierre Kelche (fr)
(born 1942)
April 9, 1998October 29, 20024 years, 203 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Lionel Jospin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jacques Chirac
44
Henri Bentégeat
Bentégeat, HenriGénéral d'armée
Henri Bentégeat
(born 1946)
October 30, 2002October 3, 20063 years, 338 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Dominique de Villepin
Jacques Chirac
45
Jean-Louis Georgelin
Georgelin, Jean-LouisGénéral d'armée
Jean-Louis Georgelin
(born 1948)
[3]
October 4, 2006February 24, 20103 years, 143 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Dominique de Villepin
François Fillon
Jacques Chirac
Nicolas Sarkozy
46
Édouard Guillaud
Guillaud, ÉdouardAmiral
Édouard Guillaud
(born 1953)
[4]
February 25, 2010February 14, 20143 years, 354 daysLogo of the French Navy (Marine Nationale).svg
French Navy
François Fillon
Jean-Marc Ayrault
Nicolas Sarkozy
François Hollande
47
Pierre de Villiers
de Villiers, PierreGénéral d'armée
Pierre de Villiers
(born 1956)
[5]
February 15, 2014July 19, 20173 years, 154 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Jean-Marc Ayrault
Manuel Valls
Bernard Cazeneuve
François Hollande
Emmanuel Macron
48
François Lecointre
Lecointre, FrançoisGénéral d'armée
François Lecointre
(born 1962)
July 20, 2017Incumbent1 year, 59 daysLogo of the French Army (Armee de Terre).svg
French Army
Édouard PhilippeEmmanuel Macron

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]