Term of military Chief of Staff reportedly not extended

Summary

Though reports have emerged that the Chief of Staff of Belgium’s military, General Gerard Van Caelenberge, will not have his term of office prolonged, the defence minister is not confirming that information

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The Belgian military is looking for a new Chief of Staff, according to reports, after the federal government decided not to prolong the term of office of the current chief, General Gerard Van Caelenberge. Defence minister Steven Vandeput has declined to confirm or deny the reports.

Van Caelenberge’s term runs out on 13 July. A Fleming born in Antwerp, he has held the post since 2012, following an Air Force career in which he was closely linked to the 350 Squadron, based in Beauvechain in Wallonia.

His successor will be responsible for seeing through Vandeput’s planned reforms, which include cost-cutting as well as a number of expensive and controversial, procurements, including the successor to the F-16 fighter aircraft.

Among names being mentioned to succeed Van Caelenberge is Admiral Michel Hofman (pictured), who is French-speaking and so a logical successor to the Flemish incumbent. A navy alum, he also represents a different branch of the military.

Other names include Lieutenant-General Marc Compernol, currently head of operations and training, and Lieutenant-General Eddy Testelmans of military intelligence. The military union has called for the vacancy to be filled by an open selection procedure, such as the one used to appoint Catherine De Bolle as federal police commissioner.

Photo courtesy mil.be