Slovenia gets first woman army chief of staff

Ljubljana, 27 November - Major General Alenka Ermenc was appointed chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces on Tuesday, thus becoming the first woman to assume the top military post not only in Slovenia but also in NATO, according to the Defence Ministry.

Major General Alenka Ermenc.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Ermenc, who was promoted last Friday to become the country's first woman army general, will replace Major General Alan Geder, who started serving as chief of the general staff on 22 February this year.

She was appointed at today's correspondence session of the government at the proposal of Defence Minister Karl Erjavec. The appointment had been endorsed by President Borut Pahor as the supreme commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces earlier today.

Born in 1963, Ermenc graduated from the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences and from the Royal College of Defence Studies in London and got her master's degree in 2009 at the King's College University of London.

She was actively involved in the 1991 independence war as a member of the Territorial Defence, the army's precursor. She has been employed in the Slovenian Armed Forces for 27 years.

Ermanc has participated in the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping mission, where she was in charge of human resources in the command and advised the KFOR commander.

She has also taken part in numerous military exercises in Slovenia and abroad as well as in NATO and EU crisis management exercises.

The honours she has received by the Defence Ministry and the Slovenian Armed Forces, include the bronze, silver and gold General Maister medals, the bronze, silver and gold medals of the Slovenian army and medals for serving to peace.

She has also received NATO's medals for cooperation in peace operations and the Cross of Commander with Swords pro Merito Melitensi.

In May 2011, she was promoted to the rank of brigadier and in March this year she was named deputy chief of the general staff, the highest position for a woman in the Slovenian army as well as in NATO.

In the interviews she had in recent months, she said that in her opinion women have exactly the same opportunities to be promoted in the Slovenian army as men.

She also revealed that she is a fan of snowboarding, gardening and herbs.

Ermenc is the mother of three children, who are all adults now, and she lives with her family in Kamnik.

© STA, 2018