Luxembourg’s chief of defence General Alain Duschène finally handed over the reins to successor General Steve Thull on Monday.
Grand Duke Henri is pictured during a ceremony on 28 September with General Alain Duschène and General Steve Thull, the designated Chief of Staff of the Luxembourg Army, on the occasion of their handover. Photo: Cour grand-ducale
The Monday ceremony at the Grand Ducal Palace marks the end of a 42-year military career that had a turbulent finish. General Duschène, 59, took office in September 2017. He first decided to retire in the summer on 2019, stayed on a further year at the request of defence minister François Bausch (déi Gréng), according to Belgian defence site “A l’avant-Garde”.
That last year saw him come under fire for approving the transfer of chief warrant officer Christian Schleck, who is president of the army’s professional union. The decision was viewed as a sanction and decried as an attack on trade union freedom, until it was withdrawn. The union demanded Duschène resign over the affair.
His successor is a father-of-three who trained as an officer candidate at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels from 1987 to 1991 and was appointed lieutenant on 1 October 1991.
General Thull served as a mortar platoon leader, anti-tank platoon leader and scout platoon leader, before becoming a company commander. He then held various staff positions, including those of army personnel and public relations officer, military centre deputy commander, deputy officer to the army studies and planning officer, and finally army information and communication systems officer. His current tasks include the operational planning and implementation of the information and communication systems on which the army depends for exercises and operations, cyber defence and information and communication systems security.
General Thull also participated in the NATO Ifor mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Eufor mission in Chad and the Central African Republic.
He was selected as the future chief of staff from among the army's colonels and lieutenant-colonels based on a two-stage internal selection process that began in October 2019.