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Pierre de Villiers

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Allegiance  France
Years of service  1975 – present

Name  Pierre Villiers
Pierre de Villiers Pierre de Villiers nouveau patron de l39arme franaise
Born  26 July 1956 (age 59) (1956-07-26)
Similar People  Philippe de Villiers, Benoit Puga, Edouard Guillaud

Commands held  French Armed Forces

Pierre de villiers la machine de la coalition est en route

Pierre Le Jolis de Villiers de Saintignon (born 26 July 1956) dit Pierre de Villiers is a Général d'armée of the French Army and the former Chef d'état-major des Armées. He tendered his resignation on July 19, 2017.


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House Le Jolie de Villiers

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Pierre Le Jolis de Villiers de Saintignon is a member of the House of Le Jolis de Villiers (French: Famille Le Jolis de Villiers) established in the 16th century. His brother is the French politician Philippe de Villiers.

1973 to 2003

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After two years of preparatory corniche (French: corniche) at Prytanée National Militaire (French: Prytanée national militaire), Pierre Le Jolis de Villiers de Saintignon was admitted to the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr in 1975, promotion « Captain Henri Guilleminot » (French: Henri Guilleminot). He entered at the end of his scholarity armored and cavalry arm (French: arme blindée et cavalerie) and joined the application school of the cavalry of Saumur (French: école de cavalerie de Saumur) within his specialty, promotion « lieutenant Charles de Foucauld ». He was a section platoon chief (French: chef de peloton de chars) of AMX30 tanks at the 2nd Dragoon Regiment (French: 2e Régiment de Dragons) in 1978.

Pierre de Villiers Le gnral Pierre de Villiers sera le prochain chef d39tat

He entered between 1979 and 1987 to the 4e Régiment de Dragons, which also housed a platoon of AMX30 tanks. He commanded a divisionary reconnaissance squadron of the 7th Armoured Division (French: 7e Division Blindée).

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He was then on three different occasions an instructor of sous-officiers and lieutenants at Saumur.

From 1989 to 1990, he was a candidate at the Superior War School (French: École supérieure de Guerre) of the 103rd promotion of the ESG, then from 1990-1991, he was a candidate at the Superior Inter-arm Course (French: Cours supérieur Interarmées) (XLII session of the CSI).

He was then designated as the regimental commander of the 501e-503e Régiment de Chars de Combat. In June 1999, he commanded during five months the mechanized infantry battalion of the Leclerc brigade, which entered first in Kosovo with operation KFOR. During twelve years, he was in post at Paris at the general staff headquarters of the French Army (French: Etat-major de l'Armée de Terre), then at the inspection of the French Army and member of the financial affairs direction of the ministère de la Défense.

2003 to 2008

From September to June 2004, he was an auditor (French: auditeur) at the center of high military studies (French: Centre des hautes études militaires) and at the institute of high national defense studies (French: Institut des hautes études de défense nationale). Adjoint (French: assistant) to the Chief of the Prime Minister's military cabinet (French: Adjoint au chef de cabinet militaire du Premier minister) on July 1 2004, he was promoted to Général de brigade of September 1 2005. He was designated commandant of the 2nd Armoured Brigade (French: 2e Brigade Blindée) and arms commandant of the court of Orleans (French: commandant d'armes de la place d'Orléans) on August 1 2006, a function which he occupied until August 31 2008. In Parallel, from December 2006 to April 2007, he commanded the Regional Capital Command RCC in Afghanistan which regrouped 2500 military personnel from 15 nationalities.

2008 to 2014

He was nominated as at the Head of the Prime Minister's military cabinet (French: Chef du cabinet militaire du Premier minister) on September 15 2008, a function which occupied until March 2010, date in which he was replaced by Bernard de Courrèges d'Ustou (French: Bernard de Courrèges d'Ustou).

By decree on March 11 2010, he was nominated to the functions of Major General of the Armies (French: Major général des armées) of the general staff headquarters of the armies.


General Villiers was nominated on February 15, 2014 as Chief of the general staff headquarters of the Armies (French: chef d'état-major des armées) succeeding Admiral Édouard Guillaud. Charged with attacks against the Islamic State after the November 2015 Paris attacks, he judged that the necessary military attacks against this entity can only but guarantee peace and security, by recalling the comfort means of the French Armed Forces.

He coordinated the exterior operations of Operation Barkhane in Sahel, Operation Sangaris in Central African Republic and Opération Chammal in Syria and in Iraq. He was also equally in charge of the interior natured anti-terrorist operation, Opération Sentinelle.


The French Foreign Legion on April 30 2015, commemorated their 152nd anniversary of Camaron in presence of général Pierre de Villiers. Commemorating also the 70th Liberation Anniversary, the Army Chief (French: C.E.M.A), général de Villiers declared that " Commemorating Camaron, is commemorating the courage, the cult of the mission, the respect of senior veterans (French: les anciens), giving the youth a formidable message of hope for the future", while also adding that "« honor and fidelity are always values which gather »". During the ceremony, Adjudant-Chef François Monarcha, born in Poland 98 years and «4 months ago»- the senior veteran was insisting on this precision-, was part of the main parade as he was accompanied by a former Harki and a Sous-Officier of British origin. Addressing the legionnaires, French Army Chef d'état-major des Armées général Pierre de Villiers declared "« Your regimental colors and flags do not have enough folds and space in them to house and contain all your titles of glory » ".


In December 2016, De Villiers called for an increase in armed forces' budget from 1.7% to 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) before 2022. This would allow France to meet the NATO defense spending requirements currently met by only the United States, Greece, United Kingdom, Estonia and Poland.


In March 2017, De Villiers once again expressed support for increasing the defence budget to 2% of GDP by 2022 - an increase of about three billion euros per year. Emmanuel Macron announced a promise to increase the defence budget to 2% by 2025 and Marine Le Pen announced in Lyon that she wishes to see the defence budget increased to 3% of GDP in order to build a new aircraft carrier, hire 50,000 new military personnel and progressively reintroduce compulsory military service, starting with a 3-month commitment.

Disagreement with Macron on military budget

On July 11, 2017, Minister of Public Account and Accounts Gérald Darmanin announced that part of the government's plan to reduce spending, the military were going to be cut by 850 million euros in 2017. The following day, Le Monde reported that De Villiers met with the Defense Committee in the National Assembly and told them "I will not get fucked over like this". The conversation was caught on tape and leaked by Le Monde. Also, accordingly to Le Figaro, De Villiers unleashed his fury, and added monumentally "I can no longer look my guys in the eyes if we reduce our means further".

Macron, during a speech to the armed forces on 13 July, 2017, affirmed his plan to raise the defence budget to 2% of GDP by 2025. During the speech, Macron publicly called out De Villiers numerous times addressing the recent leak reported by Le Monde. This was the first time a French President in the 5th Republic has insulted a Chief of Defense Staff.

July 14 Bastille Day military parade

During Bastille Day military parade, General De Villiers and President Macron, as customary for the Chief and Commander-in-Chief of the French Armed Forces, ride together side by side standing, in the same vehicle during the ceremonial parade.


Following the Bastile Day parade, De Villiers posted on Facebook a criticism of the Macron government's plans to reduce defence spending. Le Journal du Dimanche reported on 16 July 2017 that Macron was possibly looking to replace De Villiers stating "The Republic doesn't work like this" Macron then goes on to say that he has confidence in De Villiers. General Villiers stepped down on July 19, 2017 due to budget cuts and disagreements with President Emmanuel Macron. This was the first time in the 5th Republic that a Chief of Defence Staff has forcibly resigned. A press release was issued on francetvinfo's website. On the same day, Macron confirmed Général d'armée François Lecointre as De Villiers replacement. Macron described Villiers' behaviour surrounding his resignation as “undignified”.

While De Villiers was leaving the Ministry of Armed Forces, a crowd of soldiers and military personnel applauded him.

Decorations and Honours

  • French Parachutist Badge
  • Grand Officier of the Legion of Honor (decreed June 28, 2013)
  • Officier of the National Order of Merit
  • Croix de la Valeur militaire, one citation (gold star)
  • Croix du combatant (2 bars)
  • Médaille de la Défense nationale, échelon or avec palme en bronze
  • Médaille de la jeunesse, des sports et de l'engagement associatif (bronze)
  • Médaille commémorative française
  • Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Knight Commander's Cross
  • Legion of Merit, Commander
  • National Order of the Lion, Commander (Senegal)
  • Officier Ordre pro merito Melitensi
  • Médaille de l'OTAN Ex-Yougoslavie (NATO Medal of ex-Yugoslavia) w/ bar
  • Médaille de l'OTAN Kosovo (NATO Medal for Kosovo) w/ bar
  • Médaille de l'OTAN ISAF (NATO Medal for ISAF) w/ bar
  • Order of Valour, Officer (Cameroon)
  • Order of Merit, Commander (Niger)
  • Médaille de Reconnaissance des Forces Armées (Gabon)
  • Pierre de Villiers is an Honorary Caporal (bestowed) of the Troupes de marine (2014).


    Pierre de Villiers Wikipedia