Petr Pavel

General Petr Pavel (born 1 November 1961) is a Czech army officer who served from 2015 to 2018 as the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.[1] He is the first person from a former Eastern Bloc state and the first former communist to hold the position. Prior to his current role he was Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army from 1 July 2012 to 1 May 2015.[2]

Petr Pavel
Petr Pavel - NATO Military Committee in Chiefs of Defense Session - 2017 (37122714191) (cropped).jpg
Pavel in 2017
Born (1961-11-01) 1 November 1961 (age 59)
Planá, Czechoslovakia
Allegiance Czechoslovakia (1983–1992)
 Czech Republic (since 1992)
Service/branch Czech Army
Years of service1983–2018
Rank General
Battles/warsEvacuation of french Karin military base, Bosnia
Awards Legion of Merit, Commander
Legion of Honour, Officier
Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, 3rd class
Croix de guerre, bronze star
Service for Peace
Medal of Heroism


Pavel graduated at the Military gymnasium (high school) in Opava. He continued his military study at the Military university of the Army in Vyškov and he graduated in 1983. He started as a Paratrooper in the Czechoslovak Army, serving as a platoon leader. In 1985 he joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, which he was member till collapse of communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1989.

He continued his military studies at the Military Academy (currently united with the University of Defence) in Brno (1988–1991).

Military careerEdit

Pavel worked after his graduation in the military intelligence service (1991–1993). He served in the Czechoslovak troop contingent of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia. His unit was sent to evacuate a French military base in January 1993, where 55 besieged French soldiers were rescued from Serbian captivity. The French army was unable to evacuate this base due to the local infrastructure and bridge having been destroyed. The Czech army was entrusted to conduct the evacuation because of their proximity to the base which was 30 Kilometres. Pavel went to the base with 29 Soldiers and 2 OT-64 SKOT armed transporters. The way took 2 Hours. Pavel's unit had to face various obstacles that slowed the Operation including fallen Trees on a Road which Soldiers had to be remove while under Mortar fire. When soldiers reached the Base 2 French soldiers were dead and a few others were injured. French Soldiers were taken into armed transporters and evacuated from the base.[3][4][5] Pavel was recognized and rewarded both in the Czech Republic and in France for his actions during the rescue.[6]

After the operation in Bosnia, Pavel served in different positions in the Czech Army - in military intelligence, in diplomacy (deputy of military attaché in Belgium), as commander of a special forces' brigade. He was appointed Brigadier General in 2002. He served as the National Military Representative at US CENTCOM. He represented the Czech Army in different international and national organizations. He studied at Staff College, Camberley, the Royal College of Defence Studies, and King's College London (graduating with a Master's degree in International Relations).[7]

Pavel during the MSC 2016

He served as Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic from July 2011 to June 2012. Since 1 June 2012 he has served as Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. He was nominated by the Czech government for the position of Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in July 2014. He was appointed for this function in Vilnius in September 2014.[8] He is the first Chairman to come from a country formerly part of the Warsaw Pact. His mandate commenced in summer 2015. During a security conference in Prague, Pavel said “Russia would be able to occupy the Baltic States within two days," contradicting a statement by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that a rapid response force would be to respond to an attack on the Baltic states within two days.[9]

Timeline of Czech Army rankEdit

Rank Date
Brigadier General 1 December 2002
Major General 8 May 2010
Lieutenant General 8 May 2012
General (“General of the Army” in Czech terminology - four stars) 8 May 2014

Later lifeEdit

Following his departure from army he decided to focus on lecturing and consulting.[10]

During Summer 2019 leader of the Civic Democratic Party, KDU-ČSL, TOP 09, Mayors and Independents and Czech Pirate Party met to discuss potential candidate for next presidential election. Petr Pavel was reportedly most frequently discussed candidate.[11]

On 6 April 2020 Pavel launched initiative called "Stronger Together." Aim of the Initiative is to help People linked wth fight against coronavirus pandemic especially to crowdfund Finances for volunteers helping in Hospitals or creating Medical tools.[12] Some political commentators such as Petr Holec and Ondřej Leinert stated that the initiative is factually a launch of Pavel's presidential bid in 2023 Czech presidential election noting similarity with Hillary Clinton's slogan during 2016 United States presidential election.[13][14]

Personal lifeEdit

Petr Pavel speaks Czech, English, French, and Russian. He is divorced and has two sons with his former wife Hana. In 1990s he married his second wife Eva with whom he raised his 2 sons.[15][16]

Political viewsEdit

Pavel believes that rich people should pay higher taxes and supports stronger redistribution of wealth. He sees Scandinavian countries as an inspiration.[17]


  1. ^ "General Bartels bids farewell to NATO as General Pavel starts his tenure as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Chief of the General Staff". Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  3. ^ "VHU Praha". Čeští vojáci v 90. letech v bývalé Jugoslávii obstáli, prozrazuje nová studie. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Armáda České Republiky. Symbol demokracie a státní suverenity" (PDF). (in Czech). pp. 102–103. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  5. ^ Lenková, Jitka. Nejdůležitější bitvy v českých dějinách (in Czech) (Vyd. 1 ed.). Alpress. p. 282. ISBN 978-80-7362-470-5.
  6. ^ "UNPROFOR - mírová mise, 1992 - 1995, země bývalé Jugoslávie, 2250 příslušníků Zahraniční mise AČR". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic" (PDF). Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  8. ^ Lazarová, Daniela (22 September 2014). "Czech Army's chief of staff to head NATO's military committee". Radio Prague. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Lt. Gen Petr Pavel: "Russia able to occupy Baltic States within two days"". The Baltic Times. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Generál Petr Pavel odchází do po čtyřech dekádách do vojenského důchodu. Do politiky se nechystá". (in Czech). Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Začalo hledání nástupce Miloše Zemana. Vstoupit do boje neodmítá ani těžká váha politických válek". Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Generál Pavel založil iniciativu, která pomůže lidem v boji s koronavirem". 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Holec: Všechno má svůj čas. Generál Pavel "vykradl" Clintonovou a vyrazil do kampaně". (in Czech). Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  14. ^ Lederer, Benedikt (7 April 2020). "Do řešení krize se pouští i generál Petr Pavel, politiku v tom nevidí". Hospodářské noviny ( (in Czech). Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  15. ^ NATO. "General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the Military Committee". NATO. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Petr Pavel: Život generála, který může být prezidentem ČR". (in Czech). Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Zocelily mě bitky ve škole. Babiš je autoritář, Kalousek vyčnívá, řekl generál Pavel". Aktuálně.cz - Víte, co se právě děje (in Czech). 8 November 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
Military offices
Preceded by
Vlastimil Picek
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Josef Bečvář
Preceded by
Knud Bartels
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
Succeeded by
Stuart Peach