Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces (Ireland)

The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces (COS) (Irish: Ceann Foirne na bhFórsaí Cosanta) is charged with the executive management of the Irish Defence Forces, and is the most senior military officer of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps branches. The Chief of Staff is appointed by the President of Ireland, who is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces, on the recommendation of the Minister for Defence subject to the approval of the Government of Ireland. The office of the Chief of Staff consists of his personal staff, a strategic planning office and a public relations section.[1]

Chief of Staff of Defence Forces Ireland
Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM (NS)

since 29 September 2015
Defence Forces
Member ofNational Security Committee
Reports toMinister for Defence
NominatorGovernment of Ireland on the recommendation of the Minister for Defence
AppointerPresident of Ireland
WebsiteOfficial website

The Defence Forces Chief of Staff sits on the government's National Security Committee (NSC).[2]

The Chief of Staff delegates remaining executive duties to two Deputy Chiefs of Staff (who hold the rank of Major General or equivalent) and one Assistant Chief of Staff (Brigadier General or equivalent);

  • The Deputy Chief of Staff Operations (D COS Ops) is tasked with operational matters.
  • The Deputy Chief of Staff Support (D COS Sp) is tasked with military support matters.
  • The Assistant Chief of Staff Support (ACOS Sp) is also tasked with military support matters.[1]

The current Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces is Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM of the Naval Service. Vice Admiral Mellett assumed the role on 29 September 2015.[3]

Current General Staff of the Defence Forces

Chief of StaffCOS Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM Naval Service
Deputy Chief of Staff OperationsD COS Ops Major General Anthony McKenna Army
Deputy Chief of Staff SupportD COS Sp Major General Seán Clancy Air Corps
Assistant Chief of Staff SupportACOS Sp Brigadier General Peter O'Halloran Army


Deputy Force Commander UNDOF Brigadier General Maureen O'Brien Army
Irish Military Representative to the EUMC Brigadier General Philip Brennan Army

Brigade Commanders

The country is divided into two areas for administrative and operational reasons, and in each area there is an Irish Army infantry brigade. The two brigade group structure envisages distinct operational areas of responsibility for each of the brigades and is supported in their responsibilities by the Naval Service and Air Corps. Each of the Brigade formations and the Air Corps are commanded by a Brigadier General, while the Naval Service is commanded by a Commodore;[4]

General Officer Commanding 1st Brigade (Army)GOC 1 Brigade Brigadier General Patrick Flynn
General Officer Commanding 2nd Brigade (Army)GOC 2 Brigade Brigadier General Tony Cudmore
General Officer Commanding Defence Forces Training Centre (Army)GOC DFTC Brigadier General David Dignam
General Officer Commanding Air CorpsGOC Air Corps Brigadier General Rory O'Connor
Flag Officer Commanding Naval ServiceFOCNS Commodore Michael Malone

List of Irish Chiefs of Staff

No. Chief of StaffTook officeLeft officeTime in officeDefence branch
O'Duffy, EoinLieutenant General
Eoin O'Duffy
February 1922July 19225 months Army
Mulcahy, RichardLieutenant General
Richard Mulcahy
July 1922August 19221 month Army
Mac Mahon, SeánLieutenant General
Seán Mac Mahon
August 1922March 19241 year, 7 months Army
MacMahon, PeadarLieutenant General
Peadar MacMahon
March 1924March 19273 years Army
Hogan, DanielLieutenant General
Daniel Hogan
March 1927February 19291 year, 11 months Army
Mac Eoin, SeánLieutenant General
Seán Mac Eoin
February 1929October 19298 months Army
Sweeney, JosephLieutenant General
Joseph Sweeney
October 1929October 19312 years Army
Brennan, MichaelLieutenant General
Michael Brennan
October 1931January 19408 years, 3 months Army
McKenna, DanielLieutenant General
Daniel McKenna
January 1940January 19499 years Army
Archer, LiamLieutenant General
Liam Archer
January 1949January 19523 years Army
Egan, W.Lieutenant General
W. A. Egan
January 1952December 19542 years, 11 months Army
Mulcahy, PatrickLieutenant General
Patrick Mulcahy
January 1955December 19594 years, 11 months Army
McKeown, JohnLieutenant General
John McKeown
January 1960December 196011 months Army
Powell, SeanLieutenant General
Sean Collins Powell
January 1961March 19621 year, 2 months Army
McKeown, JohnLieutenant General
John McKeown
April 1962March 19718 years, 11 months Army
O'Carroll, ThomasLieutenant General
Thomas O'Carroll
April 1971July 19765 years, 3 months Army
O'Sullivan, CarlLieutenant General
Carl O'Sullivan
August 1976June 19814 years, 11 months Army
Hogan, LouisLieutenant General
Louis Hogan DSM
June 1981April 19842 years, 10 months Army
O'Sullivan, GeraldLieutenant General
Gerald O'Sullivan
April 1984February 19861 year, 10 months Army
O'Neill, TadghLieutenant General
Tadgh O'Neill
February 1986October 19893 years, 8 months Army
Parker, JamesLieutenant General
James Parker
October 1989April 19922 years, 6 months Army
Bergin, NoelLieutenant General
Noel Bergin
April 1992December 19942 years, 8 months Army
McMahon, GeraldLieutenant General
Gerald McMahon
February 1995August 19983 years, 6 months Army
Stapleton, DavidLieutenant General
David Stapleton DSM
August 199824 September 20002 years, 1 month Army
Mangan, ColmLieutenant General
Colm Mangan
25 September 200020 February 20043 years, 4 months Army
Sreenan, JamesLieutenant General
James Sreenan
21 February 200428 June 20073 years, 4 months Army
Earley, DermotLieutenant General
Dermot Earley DSM
28 June 20079 June 20102 years, 11 months Army
McCann, SeanLieutenant General
Sean McCann
9 June 201012 August 20133 years, 2 months Army
O'Boyle, ConorLieutenant General
Conor O'Boyle
12 August 201329 September 20152 years, 1 month Army
Mellett, MarkVice admiral
Mark Mellett DSM
(born 1958)
29 September 2015Incumbent4 years, 1 month Naval Service

See also


  1. "Official Defence Forces website - General Staff > Chief of Staff". 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
  2. "Annual Report 2013" (PDF). Department of Defence and Defence Forces. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  3. "New Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces". Defence Forces Ireland. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  4. "Defence Forces Brigade Commanders". Retrieved 11 July 2015.
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