About the Event: NATO is entering today the 4th phase of its history and must adapt to changes in today’s security environment in order to remain relevant. NATO’s ability to adapt will ultimately redefine NATO’s place in the world. General Mercier will discuss challenges facing NATO faces such as maintaining the unity between members in the Alliance, addressing potential crises in Eastern Europe, reopening dialogue with Russia, and addressing instability on NATO-member borders.
About the Speaker: General Denis Mercier is the North Atlantic Council as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. Prior to this assignment, he served as the French Air Force Chief of Staff from 2012-2015.
He graduated with a Master’s of Science from the French Air Force Academy in 1981, qualifying as a fighter pilot in 1983. He has more than 3000 flying hours including 182 hours in combat missions. Gen. Mercier commanded the 1/12 "Cambrésis" Fighter Squadron, a founding unit of the NATO Tiger association. He participated in numerous other NATO exercises and operations, including Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1994, "Strong Resolve” in 1998, and Operation Allied Force in Kosovo.
From 1999 to 2002, Gen. Mercier was deputy head of the combined joint task force deputy branch at Regional Headquarters where he contributed to the development of the Combined Joint Task Force concept. He was a member of the combined analysis team for exercise "Allied Effort '01" and an evaluator of the CJTF HQ for Exercise "Strong Resolve '02". He also acted as liaison officer for the Commander Striking Fleet Atlantic stationed in Norfolk, VA.
He later served as the commander of Reims Air force base, integrating Mirage F1CR squadrons with ISAF in Afghanistan. From 2004 to 2008 he served as the head of the plans division at the French Air Force headquarters and was nominated as a flag officer in 2007. He then commanded the French Air Force Academy in Salon-de-Provence. As senior military advisor for the Minister of Defence from 2010-2012, Gen. Mercier prepared and participated in all NATO ministerial meetings, summits in Lisbon and Chicago, and was special advisor to Operation Unified Protector over Libya.
Among other awards, Gen. Mercier has been awarded the rank of Grand Officier of the French Legion of Honor and, among other distinctions, an officer of the National Order of Merit.