General (ret) Christos Manolas appointed first Greek National Security Advisor

The first meeting of the Governmental Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) under the new government was concluded just before the earthquake that shook Athens.

Among the decisions that were taken was the appointment of the new chief of the Hellenic Police, lieutenant general Michalis Karamalakis.

But probably the most important decision was the establishment for the first time in Greece of a National Security Council (NSC).

Moreover, the person that was chosen for the position of the Security Advisor was an…”earthquake” by itself.

And that because he is widely regarded as one of the top subject matter experts, General (ret) Christos Manolas .

This is his CV and it explains perfectly well the reputation he has.

Born in Athens, he entered the Hellenic Army Academy in 1976 and graduated in 1980 as an Infantry 2nd Lieutenant. He followed a career in the Hellenic Army’s special forces, including as a company commander in the Special Forces Training Centre (1981–82) and in the 2nd Paratrooper Squadron (1982–86), followed by a stint as an instructor in the NATO International Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol School in Germany (1986–88). On his return he served as instructor in Greece’s Unconventional Warfare Training Centre (1988–91), as commander of the elite Special Paratrooper Unit (ΕΤΑ) (1991–93) and of the 5th Special National Guard Battalion (1993–95). He also graduated from the Hellenic Navy’s elite special warfare Underwater Demolition Command (ΔYK).

In 1995–96 he was deputy commander in the Hellenic Army’s Unorthodox Warfare Training Centre, before going on to command the Greek force (ΕΛΔΥΒ) participating in SFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as the wider BELUGA (Belgium-Luxemburg-Greece-Austria) group of which the Greek force formed part.

On his return from Bosnia he studied in Greece’s Supreme War School (1998–99), commanded the 1st Paratrooper Squadron (1999–2000), served as instructor on special operations in the Supreme War School (2000–01), head operations officer in NATO Joint Command Southcentre in Larissa (2001–04) interrupted by a brief term as commander of the Greek battalion in ISAF (Dec. 2002 until May 2003), and chief of staff of the 1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade (2004–05). In 2005–08 he served as Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS) J9 of NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, and as head of the National and International Planning Directorate in the Hellenic National Defence General Staff in 2008–09. He subsequently served as commander of the 79th National Guard Higher Command (2009–10), of the Army’s NCO Academy (2010–11), and of the 95th National Guard Higher Command (2011–12), as Greece’s national military representative in the EU and NATO (2012–13), and as commander of First Army (2013–14).

On 19 February 2014, the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) decided his appointment as Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, succeeding Athanasios Tselios, with the transfer ceremony to take place on 24 February. On 25 February 2015, the KYSEA decided his retirement, promoting him to the rank of full General in retirement and the title of Honorary Chief of the Army General Staff, and his replacement with Lt. General Vasileios Tellidis.

General Christos Manolas is married and has two daughters. He speaks fluently English, German, Bulgarian and Serbo-Croat, and has a working knowledge of Italian and Spanish.