Likely new chief of defense named

Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis has suggested Major General Leonīds Kalniņš to become Latvia's senior military officer, reported Latvian Television Tuesday.

Prior to naming the candidate to become chief of defense, the Defense Minister met president Raimonds Vējonis.

After the meeting Bergmanis told journalists that the military "pyramid principle" was employed to pick the new chief of defense. That is, the candidate was picked based on experience and qualifications. 

Kalniņš is the only candidate for the office. He still has to be confirmed in the office by the Latvian parliament.

As previously reported by LSM, he recently made headlines when he suggested that in the case of a Syria-style intense bombardment of Latvia,"only children and the elderly" should be allowed to flee.

Here's a video from the ceremony in which Kalniņš was assigned the rank of Major General.

In late October outgoing chief of defense Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube announced his will to resign before his term ends in 2018. He will continue serving until the next defense chief is assigned.

Graube said he given the matter a lot of thought, he said, and reflected that he was the longest-serving NATO chief of defense, and that to be in the position so long was highly unusual.

Graube was held in high esteem by service personnel and is fluent English made him an excellent communicator, able to explain Latvia's defense needs and strategies to allies and media alike.

According to Kalnins' CV he was born near Tomsk in 1957 and has the distinction of having had military education in both the Soviet Union and the United States.

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