French Armed Forces Commander General Pierre de Villiers visited the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence on June 21 to meet with Director Jānis Sārts, Deputy Director Aivar Jaeski, and Chief of Staff Vytautas Reklaitis. During his two-day visit in Riga, General Villiers also met with President Raimonds Vejonis, Minister of Defence Raimonds Bergmanis, and National Armed Forces Commander Lieutenant General Raymond Graube. During meetings with Latvian state officials, General Villiers discussed preparations for the NATO summit in Warsaw, the security situation in the Baltic region, and Latvian and French bilateral defence cooperation.
The French air force is participating in the NATO operation to patrol Baltic airspace. The rotating NATO patrols provide a constant presence in the Baltic region. France decided to join the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence this year.
General Villiers became deputy to the head of the French Prime Minister’s military staff on 1 July 2004, and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on 1 December 2005. Between December 2006 and April 2007 he commanded the Regional Command Capital, one of the six regional commands of NATO in Afghanistan under the auspices of the International Security Assistance Force. He became head of the Prime Minister’s military staff on 15 September 2008. He remained defence and military advisor to head of government until 11 March 2010, when he was appointed Le major général des armées (Vice Chief of Defence Staff). On 15 February 2014, he became Chef d’état-major des armées (Chief of Defence Staff). General Pierre de Villiers has been awarded the titles of Grand officier of the Légion d’Honneur and Officier of the Ordre National du Mérite and was awarded the Croix de la Valeur Militaire medal with citation, among other distinctions.