General staff

the general staff is the highest military command authority of many armed forces. Their leader is a general staff boss. The general staff is today in most countries subordinated to the Ministry of Defense.

Table of contents


the general staff converts the orders of the political guidance into military measures. To the tasks of a general staff can belong:

  • Armed forces planning
  • mobilization andMarching-up planning
  • operational planning
  • employment guidance
  • logistics
  • training
  • personnel planning

emergence and meaning of the general staff


as the Prussian reforms, which were introduced after the defeat with Jena and Auerstedt 1806, belonged also the creation of a general staff. This staff supported the highestArmy guidance at the time of the planning, preparation and execution of military operations. As a mental father of the general staff general is considered August count Neidhardt von Gneisenau.

The Prussian general staff worked in the wars of liberation against France and in the agreement wars outstanding. Its military planning stood on a military-scientificBasis. The expression is “general staff moderate ” until today a term for a thorough planning, common in the colloquial language, which does not leave anything the coincidence.

German Reich

German empire

already in Prussia had the general staff since Moltke a special, also political meaning.At the latest since the establishment of realm the all-German general staff large general staff called itself 1871. Its respective boss was extremely influential, since he had since 1871 Immediatrecht with the emperor (right to each-early lecture), and thus actually the possibility, together with the commander in chief military decisions past at chancellorsto meet and Reichstag. That is considered as one of the germ cells of the disaster of the First World War, since military planning thereby was not inevitably subjected to political control (Primat of the policy). So could itself e.g. the Schlieffenplan to the only war plan and almost to the dogma develop, withoutthat relevant politicians of the realm were also only inaugurated. Also the guidance of the imperial navy did not know this army planning.

Weimar Republic

the realm resistance was not allowed to possess general staff according to the regulations of the contract of Versailles. Article 160 of the contract determined: „The German general staffand all similar formations are dissolved and may again be formed under no shape. “ The role of the general staff took over the office for troop in such a way specified (a Tarnbezeichnung). In addition there was an army command and the naval line of the realm navy.

time of the national socialism

in the year 1935the general staff was officially again introduced to the armed forces. Boss of the general staff of the army became at the 1. July 1935 lieutenant general Ludwig Beck, that already since that 1. October 1933 the office for troop in the realm military Ministry led.

Boss of the general staff of the Air Force becomes at the 1. March 1935Major general roll ago Wever, that likewise already before, since that 1. September 1933, boss of the Air Force command office in the realm aviation Ministry and thus boss of the camouflaged general staff of the Air Force was.

At the same time the naval line in supreme command of the navy was renamed, the past boss of the naval line, admiral Erich wheels, became commander in chief of the navy (Ob.d.M.), which was called from now on war navy.

In the course of the Blomberg Fritsch crisis in February 1938 Hitler attained the direct supreme command over the armed forces, and created themselves at the same time its own military staff - the supreme command of the armed forces (OKW) with general William Keitel as a boss of the supreme command of the armed forces at the point.

The actual staff work was carried out thereby by the office for armed forces guidance (WFA) in the supreme command of the armed forces with its different departments. The WFA (1940 renamed in armed forces operations staff (WFSt)) became, with short interruption 1939, up to the end of warby Alfred Jodl as a boss of the armed forces operations staff in the supreme command of the armed forces led.

The OKW and/or. the armed forces operations staff was however against what the name suggested, not the highest military staff for all armed forces. The guidance of the war against the Soviet Union lay in the handsthe supreme command of the army, only the remaining theaters lay in the competence of the armed forces operations staff.

German Federal Armed Forces

after 1945 were not no more used the term general staff in the German Federal Armed Forces. Nevertheless the tasks of a general staff specified above exist also in the German Federal Armed Forces. Their highestGuidance authority is the operations staff of the armed forces (FüS) in the Federal Ministry of the defense (BMVg). At the point of the FüS the general inspector of the German Federal Armed Forces stands as a highest soldier of the German Federal Armed Forces.

In the time until 1990 Germany had transferred the operational guidance of its forces in the Kriegsfall completely NATO,whereby this partially purely German headquarters been subordinate like z. B. the fleet command or the German army corps (I., II., III.). Today's international missions, which do not stand under the guidance of NATO or another international organization, become by the BMVg and the employment guidance command or in exceptional casesthe guidance command of a armed service led. Also in these agencies were and are tasks of general staff to be settled. The remaining, operational tasks of a general staff and in the FüS and in the operations staffs of the armed services in the BMVg are not noticed.

The designation G1, G2, etc. in addition, is nowadaysto find still in the division staffs of the German Federal Armed Forces. It identifies the responsible general staff and its area of responsibility. G1 stands for z. B. responsible for the general staff of division for personnel management. Director/conductor of this department is mostly in the rank Colonel i.G. or lieutenant colonel i.G. All subordinated ranks in a GDepartment are therefore S of officers, S sergeant, S of NCOs or S soldier. The S1 DVVerbOffz would be therefore the S1 data processing liaison officer in the G1 department, responsible for the electronic administration of the personnel data within the division. In subordinated asking all ions and regiments is the post of the personnel manager througha S1 officer (staff officer for personnel management) represent. A S1-Offizier is mostly in the rank a first lieutenant or captain/staff captain.

general staff officers

for the service in the general staff were needed from the beginning particularly qualified officers. These general staff officers of required one over the range of their branch of service (at the beginning of infantry,Kavallerie, artillery) going out training, in order to understand the armed forces in their whole. Zur Generalstabsausbildung wurden deshalb stets die besten Offiziere einesJahrgangsausgewählt und sie ist grundsätzlich die Voraussetzung zur Beförderung zum General. There are only few exceptions of it, like e.g. the Inspizienten of the respectiveBranches of service.

The general staff training in Germany was always lengthy and aufwändig. In the past it existed partially of several phases at the general staff academy, scientific studies and intermediate service in the troop. In the German Federal Armed Forces the general staff officers of the army and the Air Force become and the admiral staff officersthe navy trained since 1957 in a two-year training course (national training course general staff/admiral staff duty, LGAN) at the command and staff academy of the German Federal Armed Forces (FüAkBw) in Hamburg. It was shown that the new tasks of the German Federal Armed Forces in the context of its international missions to ever larger extent common employments of all armed services (Joint) alsobring themselves. Therefore the traditional training with armed service-referred training courses and common (joint) training portions does not meet any longer the requirements. Since 1. Octobers 2004 are therefore trained the officers by army, Air Force and navy in a common training course.

Certain service posts are called general staff service posts. In higher military staffs - in the army from the brigade level upward - general staff officers support the commander as leader assistants so mentioned. In addition they serve in many other leading positions of the BMVg, at academies and schools or than Militärattachés. Officers of the army and the Air Force, those on general staff service postsserve, lead with their rank the additive “i. G. “with the meaning “in general staff serves “(until 1945 i. meant. G. “are recognizable in the general staff”) and by outward indications at the uniform (crimson collar mirror, crimson supporting of the shoulder strap). Most of them - however noteverything - in the general staff training participated. The navy knows neither rank additives nor markings of admiral staff officers.

Austria & Switzerland

in the Austrian federal army lead the officers with general staff training the additive d.G. (the general staff service), at Swiss army the appropriate additive i Gst reads (in the general staff).

other States of

the USA know a boss of the united general staff, Chairman OF the Joint Chiefs OF Staff, CJCS. At present this is the USMC general Peter Pace. Beyond that everyone of the four armed services has a general staff.

The IsraeliArmed forces (Tzahal) have a general staff, which is led by the rank-highest officer, at present are this Rav Aluf Dan Halutz.

Japan had an independent general staff from 1878 to 1945 after Prussian model, sees general staff (Japan).

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