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Thomas Starlinger, Federal Minister of Defence

Thomas Starlinger, Federal Minister of Defence
Thomas Starlinger.

Major General Mag. Thomas Starlinger was born at Gmunden, Upper Austria, on 27 January 1963.

Military career

Thomas Starlinger began his career with the Austrian Armed Forces in 1981. Following officer training at the Theresian Military Academy at Wiener Neustadt, he served in Upper Austria from 1985 to 1993, with what was then 43rd Militia Training Regiment, as instructing officer, company commander, head of the personnel section and public information officer.

In 1987 Thomas Starlinger was deployed abroad for the first time, joining the Austrian battalion of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria. Other international deployments included an assignment in 1991 with the UNIIMOG mission in Iran as the construction supervisor and liaison officer of the Austrian field hospital. In 1993 he served in Cyprus with the British contingent in UNFICYP as an observer officer of the United Nations, and in 1994 with the UNMOT mission in Tajikistan.

From 1995 to 1997 Thomas Starlinger served with the NCO Academy at Enns as its public information officer as well as chief instructing officer in civic education.

From 1997 bis 2000 he attended the General Staff Course at the National Defence Academy in Vienna. He was then responsible for training and operations at Carinthia Provincial Military Command. Thereafter, he served with 7th Infantry Brigade in Klagenfurt as chief of staff and deputy commanding officer.

From 2003 to 2005 Thomas Starlinger was a leading project officer on the European Union's Military Staff and subsequently served until 2007 with the newly instituted European Defence Agency.

In Dezember 2007 he was appointed Commanding Officer, 7th Infantry Brigade. From November 2008 to May 2009 he commanded Multinational Task Force South in the Kosovo Force (KFOR).

In Dezember 2012 Thomas Starlinger assumed the position of Deputy Chief of Staff Support at Response Forces Operations Command in Ulm, and became Deputy Chief of Staff Operations in July 2013.

From February 2017 to May 2019 he served as Military Advisor to Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, advising the President on matters of security policy and providing liaison with the Ministries of Defence and the Interior.

On 3 June 2019 Thomas Starlinger was appointed Defence Minister by the Federal President.

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