Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, has been selected to the 2023 Wash100 leadership elite for his significant role in collective defense operations planning and execution.
The annual Wash100, now in its 10th season, represents a cross-section of influential figures poised to make exemplary contributions at the intersection of the public and private sectors in the year ahead.
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Cavoli has led USEUCOM and served as SACEUR since July 2022. At his nomination hearing, the four-star Army general said he would assess the command’s operational environment and develop deterrence requirements to address the evolving security landscape in the continent.
“The ability for the U.S., Allied, and Partner nation’s ability to maintain overmatch, secure sensitive supply chain processes, and protect operations and technologies from malign influence is critical for collective security and interoperability, and requires a holistic approach,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May.
His leadership has been instrumental in the U.S.’ assistance to Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion. He proposed to build a command operation with 300 personnel in Wiesbaden, Germany, that could train and equip Ukraine’s military forces.
“This is an unprecedented time for Euro-Atlantic security,” Cavoli told an audience at the People and Defense National Conference 2023 (Folk och Försvars Rikskonferens 2023) in Sweden.
“Russia’s illegal, unprovoked, brutal invasion of Ukraine has upended many aspects of European security and our assumptions about it. It is forced us to recognized the imperative of collective territorial defense, and that has fundamentally changed our alliance posture.”
The alliance deployed 140 allied ships at sea, 32,000 allied ground troops on the eastern flank, and 135 aircraft for NATO operations, which are on top of the 170,000 troops and hundreds of air support already under national command. To sustain such an effort, production capacity remains “absolutely vital” through a “healthy and elastic defense industrial base,” Cavoli stressed.
In January, Cavoli joined Dutch Navy Adm. Rob Bauer, chair of the NATO Military Committee, and Gen. Philippe Lavigne, chief of staff of the French Air and Space and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, in reporting findings from NATO’s Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session in Belgium.
“National military plans will be interlinked again with Alliance plans and all thirty NATO Allies will have a harmonized planning blueprint that will incorporate National forces and capabilities into our deterrence posture for the entire European Area of Operations,” Cavoli said.
“This [deter and defend strategy] family of plans, as we call it, is the key. It will drive our structure, our operations, our activities, and our investments into the future. It will result in changes to include in our command and control structures.”
Cavoli started his military career in 1988 as a second lieutenant in the Army’s 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne. In 1995, he joined the Russia Foreign Area Officer program while he was studying to earn a master’s degree in Russian and East European Studies at Yale University.
He was deployed in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Germany throughout his service. As chief of future operations for the 10th Mountain Division, then Maj. Cavoli became part of Implementation Force in Bosnia.
Cavoli led the division’s 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team when the unit was sent to the Kunar Province to fight in the war in Afghanistan. He was eventually promoted to deputy commander of Regional Command West in Herat during the conflict.
His ascension in the ranks involved tenure in the 82nd Airborne Division as deputy commanding general, and in the 25th Infantry Division as commander.
In 2018, he was proclaimed as head of U.S. Army Europe. He was given the rank of general in 2020 and appointed to lead the consolidated U.S. Army Europe and Africa.
Executive Mosaic congratulates Gen. Christopher Cavoli on his selection to receive the Wash100 award. His devotion to national and global security cooperation will surely inspire the government contracting community to do its part in sustaining a strong defense industrial base. As a multi-decorated Armed Forces officer, Cavoli embodies the qualities that symbolize Wash100 excellence.