The Chief of Defence and his functions

Germany’s Chiefs of Defence since 1957

Official portrait of the Bundeswehr Chief of Defence, General Eberhard Zorn

During his term of office as the 16th Bundeswehr Chief of Defence, General Eberhard Zorn has considerably driven ahead the new Bundeswehr orientation towards national and collective defence.

Volker Wieker

15th Chief of Defence (2010–2018), General Volker Wieker. It was during his term of office that the suspension of conscription was put into practice.

Portrait of General Wolfgang Schneiderhan

14th Chief of Defence General Wolfgang Schneiderhan shaped the transformation of the Bundeswehr to armed forces on operations, including the ISAFInternational Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan.

Portrait of General Harald Kujat

13th Chief of Defence (2000-2002) General Harald Kujat started mobilising the armed forces against international terrorism following 9/11.

Portrait of General Hans-Peter von Kirchbach

12th Chief of Defence (1999-2000) General Hans-Peter von Kirchbach commanded around 30,000 troops fighting the 1997 Oder Flood, thus becoming the "Hero of the Oder" even before his term of Office.

Portrait of General Hartmut Bagger

11th Chief of Defence (1996-1999) General Hartmut Bagger saw the first eastward enlargement of NATO to include Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. He was also an accomplished Pianist.

Portrait of General Klaus Naumann

10th Chief of Defence (1991-1996) General Klaus Naumann shaped the strategic reorientation of the Bundeswehr after the reunification of Germany.

Portrait of Admiral Dieter Wellershoff

9th Chief of Defence (1986-1991) Admiral Dieter Wellershoff became the "Chief of Defence of Unification" after the Wall came down.

Portrait of General Wolfgang Altenburg

8th Chief of Defence (1983-1986) General Wolfgang Altenburg supported the controversial NATO Double-Track Decision.

Portrait of General Jürgen Brandt

7th Chief of Defence (1978-1983) General Jürgen Brandt organised the expansion of the army by three additional brigades.

Portrait of General Harald Wust

6th Chief of Defence (1976-1978) General Harald Wust was faced with serious incidents along the inner-German border during his term of Office.

Portrait of Admiral Armin Zimmermann

5th Chief of Defence (1972-1976) Admiral Armin Zimmermann was the first navy officer to serve in this position.

Portrait of General Ulrich de Maizière

4th Chief of Defence (1966-1972) General Ulrich de Maizière, father of the eventual Minister of Defence, helped develop "Innere Führung".

Portrait of General Heinrich Trettner

3rd Chief of Defence (1964-1966) General Heinz Trettner resigned two years after his appointment in response to a decree allowing soldiers to join unions.

Portrait of General Friedrich Albert Foertsch

2nd Chief of Defence (1961-1963) General Friedrich Albert Foertsch had to deal with the building of the Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Spiegel Affair.

Portrait of General Adolf Heusinger

1st Chief of Defence (1957-1961) General Adolf Heusinger contributed considerably to the expansion of the Bundeswehr. He supported Germany's accession to NATO.

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