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Hellenic National Defence General Staff
Γενικό Επιτελείο Εθνικής Άμυνας
Hellenic National Defence General Staff Seal.svg
Emblem of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff. The Corinthian helmet represents the Hellenic Army, the anchor the Hellenic Navy, and the wings the Hellenic Air Force
Active 1950–present
Country Greece
Branch Armed forces
Type Military staff
Part of Hellenic Armed Forces
Headquarters Papagos Camp, Athens
Motto(s) Αἰὲν Ἀριστεύειν ("Ever to Excel")
Current Chief Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis

The Hellenic National Defence General Staff (Greek: Γενικό Επιτελείο Εθνικής Άμυνας, abbr. ΓΕΕΘΑ) is the senior staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces. It was established in 1950, when the separate armed services ministries were consolidated into the Ministry of National Defence. Its role in peacetime was as a coordinating and senior consultative body at the disposal of the Greek government, and in wartime as the overall headquarters of the Armed Forces. In recent years, through ongoing efforts at increased inter-services cooperation and integration, the HNDGS has assumed peacetime operational control over the separate branches. Between 19 December 1968 and 10 August 1977, the HNDGS was abolished, and the Armed Forces Headquarters (Greek: Αρχηγείο Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων, abbr. ΑΕΔ) established in its place.

The Chief of the HNDGS

The Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (Greek: Αρχηγός ΓΕΕΘΑ, Α/ΓΕΕΘΑ) conducts the HNDGS and is the main adviser to the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) and to the Minister of Defence on military issues. Through the Chiefs of General Staffs, he carries out the operational commanding of the Joint Headquarters and the units that come under them, as well as the rest forces, when it comes to the issues of operation plans implementation and the Crises management System implementation, conduction of operations outside the national territory and participation of the Armed Forces in the confrontation of special situations during peace time.

He constructs the National Military Strategy after taking into consideration the suggestions of the General Staffs of the Armed Forces Services and according to the directions of the Ministry of Defence he manages and proposes the priority of the armament programs and suggests the general policy directions and priorities on every operational objective.

Traditionally, since c. 1970, the Chief of the HNDGS holds the rank of full General, Admiral or Air Chief Marshal, and is the only serving four-star officer of the Hellenic Armed Forces (as opposed to retired, since three-star ranks are often promoted one rank on retirement). Since 15 September 2015, the Chief of the HNDGS is Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.

List of chiefs of the HNDGS

Order Image Rank Name Term start Term end Time in office Defense branch Notes/References
1 Papagos alexandros.jpg Field Marshal Alexandros Papagos 1950 1951 1 year  Greece Army [lower-alpha 1]
Lieutenant General Theodotos Grigoropoulos 1951 1952 1 year  Greece Army
Lieutenant General Stylianos Kitrilakis 1952 1954 2 years  Greece Army
Lieutenant General Konstantinos Dovas 1954 1959 5 years  Greece Army
Lieutenant General Athanasios Frontistis 1959 1962 3 years  Greece Army
Lieutenant General Ioannis Pipilis 1962 1965 3 years  Greece Army
Lieutenant General Konstantinos Tsolakas 1965 1967 2 years  Greece Army
Vice Admiral Spyridon Avgeris 30 March 1967 14 December 1967 259 days  Hellenic Navy [lower-alpha 2]
General Odysseas Angelis 1967 16 August 1973 6 years  Greece Army
General Dimitrios Zagorianakos 16 August 1973 25 November 1973 101 days  Greece Army [lower-alpha 3]
General Grigorios Bonanos 25 November 1973 1974 1 year  Greece Army [lower-alpha 3]
General Dionysios Arbouzis 1974 1976 2 years  Greece Army [lower-alpha 4]
General Ioannis Davos 1976 1980 4 years  Greece Army [lower-alpha 5]
14 Agamemnon Gratsios, 4 September 1974.jpg General Agamemnon Gratzios 1980 1982 2 years  Greece Army
Admiral Theodoros Degiannis 1982 1984 2 years  Hellenic Navy
Air Chief Marshal Nikolaos Kouris 1984 1989 5 years  Greece Air Force
General Stamatis Vellidis 1989 1990 1 year  Greece Army
General Ioannis Veryvakis 1990 16 October 1993 3 years  Greece Army
General Dimitrios Skarvelis 16 October 1993 16 December 1993 61 days  Greece Army
Admiral Christos Lymberis 16 December 1993 1996 3 years  Hellenic Navy [lower-alpha 6]
Air Chief Marshal Athanasios Tzoganis 1996 1999 3 years  Greece Air Force
General Manousos Paragioudakis 1999 2002 3 years  Greece Army
General Georgios Antonakopoulos 2002 16 February 2005 3 years  Greece Army
Admiral Panagiotis Chinofotis 16 February 2005 21 August 2007 2 years, 186 days  Hellenic Navy
General Dimitrios Grapsas 21 August 2007 6 August 2009 1 year, 350 days  Greece Army
26 Ioannis Giangos.jpg Air Chief Marshal Ioannis Giangos 6 August 2009 1 November 2011 2 years, 87 days  Greece Air Force
27 File:KOSTARAKOS MICHAIL.png General Michail Kostarakos 1 November 2011 15 December 2015 4 years, 44 days  Greece Army
28 Evangelos Apostolakis.jpg Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis 15 December 2015 Incumbent 2 years, 97 days  Hellenic Navy


  1. Resigned to found Greek Rally party
  2. Held the post at the time of the coup d'état in April 1967 which established the military regime. Dismissed by the military regime following the failed counter-coup of King Constantine II in December 1967
  3. 3.0 3.1 Chief of the Armed Forces during the military regime
  4. Chief of the Armed Forces following the fall of the military regime
  5. Chief of the Armed Forces, from August 1977 Chief of the re-formed HNDGS
  6. Dismissed following the Imia crisis

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