Vice Chief of Staff (VCOS)
Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann was born on the 17th of July 1961. A graduate of the Military Academy of Saint Cyr and the Army Engineer School, he first served with the Foreign Legion.
In 1984, he was posted to the 4th Foreign Legion Regiment as a platoon leader in charge of the basic instruction of new Legionnaires. In 1986 he joined the 6th Foreign Legion Engineer Regiment where he served as platoon leader and company commander. During these years he went on operational deployments in Chad, Mayotte, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Six years later, in 1992 he was selected as an instructor at the Military Academy, and in 1994 he was sent to the United States Army General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. Upon his return to France, he successfully completed the course of the Joint Defence College in Paris and, in 1996 returned to the 6th Foreign Legion Engineer Regiment – this time in charge of operations and training.
After an operational tour in the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR), he was assigned to Allied Forces North Headquarters in Brunssum, Netherlands, in 1998 where he served in both the ‘Training and Exercises’ and ‘Policy and Concepts’ Branches as the first French officer inserted within the NATO Command Structure, as a result of the implementation of the Combined Joint Task Force concept.
In 2001, he took command of the 1st Foreign Legion Engineer Regiment.
Following a successful command, two years later he attended the Pakistani National Defence College in Islamabad and was then assigned to the French embassy as the Defence Attaché until 2007.
2007 brought a posting to Joint Staff in Paris, as Chief of the NATO branch. When the French political authorities decided to return to a full military participation in NATO, he was in the negotiations leading to an increase of the French military presence within the NATO Command structure.
Promoted to Brigadier General in 2010, he was assigned to Allied Force Command Heidelberg as the Director Joint Coordination Centre in the Deployable Joint Staff Element. This enabled him to be deployed to HQs International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) from January 2011 to January 2012 as the Chief of Operations, covering current operations, force generation and counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) issues.
In 2012, he was assigned as the French Deputy Military Representative (MILREP) in NATO Headquarters. Then in August 2015 he became the French National Military Representative to NATO’s Allied Command Operations in Mons, Belgium, and few months later, in January 2016 promoted to Major General.
On 1st September 2017, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed Chief of Staff at Joint Force Command Brunssum with effect the 8th September 2017.
On 1st July 2018, he was assigned as Vice Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann is married to Claudine and they are blessed with five children.