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Secretary General of NATO

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Secretary General of NATO

Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Jens Stoltenberg

since 1 October 2014
Term length 4 years (may be extended)
Inaugural holder Hastings Ismay
March 24, 1952
Website Office of the Secretary General

The Secretary General of NATO is an international North Atlantic Council, and leads NATO's staff. The current Secretary General is Jens Stoltenberg, the former Prime Minister of Norway, who took office on 1 October 2014.[1]


  • Establishment 1
  • History of the position 2
  • Responsibilities 3
  • Selection 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7


Article 9 of the [5]

The Council deputies met for the first time on July 25, 1950, and selected

  • Brosio, Manlio (1969). NATO: Facts and Figures. NATO Information Service. 
  • Ismay, Hastings (1954). NATO: The First Five Years. NATO. 
  • Fedder, Edwin (1973). NATO:The Dynamics of the Alliance in the Postwar World. Dodd, Mead & Company.  


  1. ^ "Nato names Stoltenberg next chief".  
  2. ^ "The North Atlantic Treaty". 
  3. ^ Ismay, p. 24
  4. ^ Ismay, p. 28
  5. ^ "15th - 18th May: London". NATO Final Communiques 1949-1974. NATO Information Service. p. 56. 
  6. ^ Ismay, p. 31
  7. ^ Ismay, p. 37
  8. ^ Ismay, p. 41
  9. ^ Ismay, p.44
  10. ^ Ismay, p.46
  11. ^ Ismay, p. 48
  12. ^ Daniel, Clifton (March 13, 1952). "Ismay Named Civilian Chief of Atlantic Pact Organization".  
  13. ^ Fedder, p. 10
  14. ^ Brosio, p. 39
  15. ^ "Spaak for Ismay".  
  16. ^ "11th-14th December: Paris". NATO Final Communiques 1949-1974. NATO Information Service. p. 104. 
  17. ^ "Civilian Organisation and Structures: The Secretary General". 
  18. ^ Kardas, Saban. "Ankara Debates Rasmussen's Candidacy for NATO Secretary-General". The Jamestown Foundation. 
  19. ^ "NATO Secretary General: How is he or she selected and for how long". 


See also

Because NATO's chief military officer, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, is traditionally an American, the Secretary General has traditionally been a European. There is nothing to preclude a Canadian or American from becoming the Secretary General, but everyone to occupy the post to date has been European.[19]

There is no formal process for selecting the Secretary General. Instead, the members of NATO traditionally reach a consensus on who should serve next. This procedure often takes place through informal diplomatic channels, but it still can become contentious. For example, in 2009, controversy arose over the choice of Anders Fogh Rasmussen as Secretary-General, due to opposition from Turkey.[18]


In a second role, the Secretary General leads the staff of NATO. He directs the International Staff of the organization, and the Office of the Secretary General. The Secretary General also directs his or her own Private Office. All of these bodies draw personnel from all members of NATO, so the Secretary General must carefully coordinate.[17] For assistance in his responsibilities, the Secretary General also has a deputy appointed by the organization.

The NATO Secretary General chairs several of the senior decision-making bodies of NATO. In addition to the North Atlantic Council, he chairs the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Mediterranean Cooperation Group, and serves as Join Chairman of the Permanent Joint Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission.


After Ismay, [16]

Several months later, after Spofford retired from the NATO, the structure of the North Atlantic Council was changed slightly. One member of the Council was selected annually as the President of the North Atlantic Council (a largely ceremonial role), and the Secretary General officially became the Deputy President of the Council, as well as the chair of its meetings.[13] Ismay served as Secretary General until retiring in May, 1957.[14]

After the Lisbon Conference, the NATO states began looking for a person who could fill the role of Secretary General. The position was first offered to Oliver Franks, the British Ambassador to the United States, but he declined. Then, on March 12, 1952, the North Atlantic Council selected Hastings Ismay, a general from World War II, and Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in the British cabinet as Secretary General. Unlike later Secretaries General who served as Chairman of the North Atlantic Council, Ismay was made the Vice Chairman of the Council, with Spofford continuing to serve as chairman. Ismay was selected because of his high rank in the war, and his role "at the side of Churchill ... in the highest Allied Councils." As both a soldier and a diplomat, he was considered uniquely qualified for the position, and enjoyed the full support of all the NATO states.[12]

Hastings Ismay, the first Secretary General of NATO

History of the position

[11] As the authority of the deputies increased, and the size of the organization grew, NATO established the Temporary Council Committee, chaired by


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