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Sep 30 2020

SHAPE says goodbye to Chief of Staff, welcomes incoming

MONS, Belgium - Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Chief of Staff General Markus Kneip turned over responsibilities to Admiral Joachim Rühle in a ceremony held at the headquarters on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020.

General Kneip served as the SHAPE Chief of Staff from 2017 until 2020 and will now retire after more than forty years of service in the German Army. Admiral Rühle takes his position after arriving from his most recent tour as the Vice Chief of Defence, German Federal Ministry of Defence.

“The SHAPIANS should be aware that I’m very proud to walk out straight from this headquarters to my retirement,” said General Kneip. “NATO developed away from the wall…but we are still vigilant for threats being inside Europe, the Atlantic and Northern America coming from the outside; therefore, the wall went away, but the threat is still here in a different format: cyber, hybrid, espionage, confrontational exercises and surprises. I see NATO inside the Euro Atlantic area and NATO outside the Euro Atlantic as an integrator and facilitator.”

The incoming Chief of Staff, Admiral Joachim Rühle, are welcomed to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe by SACEUR, General Tod D. Wolterson Sept 30, 2020. NATO Photo by MSGT Pia Dunkel

The outgoing Chief of Staff, General Markus Kneip, salutes the honour guard at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe on Sept 20, 2020 before his departure.  NATO Photo by MSGT Pia Dunkel

The outgoing Chief of Staff, General Markus Kneip, salutes the honour guard at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe on Sept 20, 2020 before his departure.  NATO Photo by MSGT Pia Dunkel

The Chief of Staff serves as the principal advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) on all matters related to NATO operations, missions, activities and tasks implementing SACEUR’s strategic vision. Their duties also include overseeing the management of personnel at SHAPE representing more than thirty Allied and partner nation’s service members and civilians.

“I’ve had a wonderful first impression, it’s not my first appointment in NATO and I always loved to work with different nations, to work with different cultures, different personalities and all I’ve seen until now is that SHAPE has great leadership, great people and I’m very much looking forward to working with all of them,” said Admiral Rühle.

General Kneip, a native of the Koblenz region of Germany, first joined the German Armed Forces in 1975 as an officer candidate. As he progressed through the ranks, he served in positions ranging from platoon leader, company commander, battalion commander, staff officer, commanding various units leading up to his role in 2015 as the Vice Chief of Defence, Ministry of Defence. He deployed on multiple occasions to conflicts throughout the world including multiple tours to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in Afghanistan.

Admiral Rühle, a native of Stuttgart, joined the German Navy in 1978 where he first trained at the Mürwik Naval School before going on to study mechanical engineering at the Helmut Schmidt University – University of the Federal Armed Forces, Hamburg. He has served multiple tours in his native Germany as well as multiple NATO tours and deployments around the globe.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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