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Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces (Ireland)

The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces (COS) (Irish: Ceann Foirne na bhFórsaí Cosanta) is charged with the executive management of the Irish Defence Forces, and is the most senior military officer of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps branches. The Chief of Staff is appointed by the President of Ireland, who is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces, on the recommendation of the Minister for Defence subject to the approval of the Government of Ireland. The office of the Chief of Staff consists of his personal staff, a strategic planning office and a public relations section.[1]

Chief of Staff of Defence Forces Ireland
Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM.jpg
Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM (NS)

since 29 September 2015
Badge of the Irish Defence Forces.svg Defence Forces
Member ofNational Security Committee
Reports toMinister for Defence
NominatorGovernment of Ireland on the recommendation of the Minister for Defence
AppointerPresident of Ireland
WebsiteOfficial website
The office of the Chief of Staff and General Staff are located at the DF/DoD HQ in Newbridge, County Kildare

The Defence Forces Chief of Staff sits on the government's National Security Committee (NSC).[2]

The Chief of Staff delegates remaining executive duties to two Deputy Chiefs of Staff (who hold the rank of Major General or equivalent) and one Assistant Chief of Staff (Brigadier General or equivalent);

  • The Deputy Chief of Staff Operations (D COS Ops) is tasked with operational matters.
  • The Deputy Chief of Staff Support (D COS Sp) is tasked with military support matters.
  • The Assistant Chief of Staff Support (ACOS Sp) is also tasked with military support matters.[1]

The current Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces is Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM of the Naval Service. Vice Admiral Mellett assumed the role on 29 September 2015.[3]


Current General Staff of the Defence ForcesEdit

Position Abbreviation Photograph Incumbent Branch
Chief of Staff COS     Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM   Naval Service
Deputy Chief of Staff Operations D COS Ops     Major General Kieran Brennan   Army
Deputy Chief of Staff Support D COS Sp     Major General Seán Clancy   Air Corps
Assistant Chief of Staff Support ACOS Sp     Brigadier General Peter O'Halloran   Army


Irish Military Representative to the EUMC     Brigadier General Philip Brennan   Army

Brigade CommandersEdit

The country is divided into two areas for administrative and operational reasons, and in each area there is an Irish Army infantry brigade. The two brigade group structure envisages distinct operational areas of responsibility for each of the brigades and is supported in their responsibilities by the Naval Service and Air Corps. Each of the Brigade formations and the Air Corps are commanded by a Brigadier General, while the Naval Service is commanded by a Commodore;[4]

Position Branch Abbreviation Photograph Incumbent
General Officer Commanding   1st Brigade (Army) GOC 1 Brigade     Brigadier General Patrick Flynn
General Officer Commanding   2nd Brigade (Army) GOC 2 Brigade     Brigadier General Howard Berney
General Officer Commanding   Defence Forces Training Centre (Army) GOC DFTC   Brigadier General David Dignam
General Officer Commanding   Air Corps GOC Air Corps   Brigadier General Rory O'Connor
Flag Officer Commanding   Naval Service FOCNS     Commodore Michael Malone

List of Irish Chiefs of StaffEdit

Chief of Staff Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
1O'Duffy, EoinLieutenant General
Eoin O'Duffy
February 1922July 19225 months  Army
2Mulcahy, RichardLieutenant General
Richard Mulcahy
July 1922August 19221 month  Army
3Mac Mahon, SeánLieutenant General
Seán Mac Mahon
August 1922March 19241 year, 7 months  Army
4MacMahon, PeadarLieutenant General
Peadar MacMahon
March 1924March 19273 years  Army
5Hogan, DanielLieutenant General
Daniel Hogan
March 1927February 19291 year, 11 months  Army
6Mac Eoin, SeánLieutenant General
Seán Mac Eoin
February 1929October 19298 months  Army
7Sweeney, JosephLieutenant General
Joseph Sweeney
October 1929October 19312 years  Army
8Brennan, MichaelLieutenant General
Michael Brennan
October 1931January 19408 years, 3 months  Army
9McKenna, DanielLieutenant General
Daniel McKenna
January 1940January 19499 years  Army
10Archer, LiamLieutenant General
Liam Archer
January 1949January 19523 years  Army
11Egan, W.Lieutenant General
W. A. Egan
January 1952December 19542 years, 11 months  Army
12Mulcahy, PatrickLieutenant General
Patrick Mulcahy
January 1955December 19594 years, 11 months  Army
13McKeown, JohnLieutenant General
John McKeown
January 1960December 196011 months  Army
14Powell, SeanLieutenant General
Sean Collins Powell
January 1961March 19621 year, 2 months  Army
(13)McKeown, JohnLieutenant General
John McKeown
April 1962March 19718 years, 11 months  Army
15O'Carroll, ThomasLieutenant General
Thomas O'Carroll
April 1971July 19765 years, 3 months  Army
16O'Sullivan, CarlLieutenant General
Carl O'Sullivan
August 1976June 19814 years, 11 months  Army
17Hogan, LouisLieutenant General
Louis Hogan DSM
June 1981April 19842 years, 10 months  Army
18O'Sullivan, GeraldLieutenant General
Gerald O'Sullivan
April 1984February 19861 year, 10 months  Army
19O'Neill, TadghLieutenant General
Tadgh O'Neill
February 1986October 19893 years, 8 months  Army
20Parker, JamesLieutenant General
James Parker
October 1989April 19922 years, 6 months  Army
21Bergin, NoelLieutenant General
Noel Bergin
April 1992December 19942 years, 8 months  Army
22McMahon, GeraldLieutenant General
Gerald McMahon
February 1995August 19983 years, 6 months  Army
23Stapleton, DavidLieutenant General
David Stapleton DSM
August 199824 September 20002 years, 1 month  Army
24Mangan, ColmLieutenant General
Colm Mangan
25 September 200020 February 20043 years, 4 months  Army
25Sreenan, JamesLieutenant General
James Sreenan
21 February 200428 June 20073 years, 4 months  Army
26Earley, DermotLieutenant General
Dermot Earley DSM
28 June 20079 June 20102 years, 11 months  Army
27McCann, SeanLieutenant General
Sean McCann
9 June 201012 August 20133 years, 2 months  Army
28O'Boyle, ConorLieutenant General
Conor O'Boyle
12 August 201329 September 20152 years, 1 month  Army
29Mellett, MarkVice admiral
Mark Mellett DSM
(born 1958)
29 September 2015Incumbent3 years, 10 months  Naval Service

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Official Defence Forces website - General Staff > Chief of Staff". 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2013" (PDF). Department of Defence and Defence Forces. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  3. ^ "New Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces". Defence Forces Ireland. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Defence Forces Brigade Commanders". Retrieved 11 July 2015.