Defence Minister zu Guttenberg Appoints General Wieker as Chief of Staff, Bundeswehr
Volker Wieker is the Bundeswehr’s new Chief of Staff. The 55-year-old general received his official appointment from Federal Defence Minister Dr. Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg in Berlin on 21 January.
"General Wieker, you are admirably prepared for this important function on account of your professional background, skills and qualities," the Minister said in his speech during Wieker’s appointment ceremony. Zu Guttenberg emphasised:
"You are exceptionally well respected and trusted among the troops, and your special commitment to them is evident." This trust was very tangible and could be seen and felt, the Minister said.
"Your dependability, decisiveness, spirit and in particular also your loyalty are widely appreciated, both inside and outside of Germany," the Minister continued.
In this respect, Minister zu Guttenberg also mentioned the general’s deployments abroad: He had the type of experience
"that is becoming increasingly important, namely mission-related experience. And that experience is quite considerable. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Kosovo and until recently in Afghanistan, where you were posted as Chief of Staff at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul." With respect to the current public debate, zu Guttenberg said:
"I can rest assured that you will meet my requirement for transparency and truth."
Following his speech, the minister proceeded with the formal appointment:
"General Wieker, I hereby authorise you to perform the duties of Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr. Please take over."
General Wieker thanked the Minister for the expression of confidence in him which the appointment constitutes.
"Anyone who constantly has to juggle competing interests – and this is what the Chief of Staff, Bundeswehr is expected to accomplish – is in danger of finishing up with half-hearted compromises if he does not, through a culture of internal and external openness and transparency, win the trust that is of exceptional importance in the employment of forces," the new Chief of Staff continued. He said that he was looking forward to working in a spirit of trustful cooperation that is to be characterised by openness and honesty.
Before the appointment ceremony, Wieker had been welcomed by a military guard of honour outside the Bendlerblock, the official seat of the Ministry of Defence in Berlin.
The artillery officer first joined the Bundeswehr in 1974. Following his course of studies at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, he held many positions within the Artillery and in the Federal Ministry of Defence. From 1997 until 1999, he was Senior Military Assistant to former Federal Ministers of Defence Volker Rühe and Rudolf Scharping in Bonn. The general took part in the Bundeswehr's foreign deployments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo. In his most recent position since October 2009, he served as Chief of Staff at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Wieker is the Bundeswehr’s 15th Chief of Staff. In this position, he is the successor to General Wolfgang Schneiderhan, who resigned from office in November 2009 and has now retired.