United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 16 November 2021 the appointment of Lieutenant General Cornelis Johannes Matthijssen of the Netherlands as Force Commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Lieutenant General Matthijssen succeeds Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllensporre of Sweden to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his exemplary service and leadership of MINUSMA.
Serving as Deputy Chief of Staff Plans at The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allied Joint Force Command since 2019, Lieutenant General Matthijssen has a long and distinguished career since joining the Royal Netherlands Army in 1982, notably serving as the Deputy Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army (2017-2019). He also commanded the 11th Air Assault Brigade of the Royal Netherlands Army (2014-2017), which included a year as NATO’s interim Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and served as Military Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2013-2014) as well as Director of Staff Headquarters of the Royal Netherlands Army (2010-2013).
Lieutenant General Matthijssen has extensive international operational experience, serving as the Commander of Uruzgan Task Force, an International Security Assistance Force brigade-size unit deployed in Afghanistan (2008-2009), as the Commander of the Dutch 13th Air Assault Infantry Battalion that was deployed as a battlegroup, as part of the Stabilization Force in Iraq in 2004, and as a Company Commander of the Dutch Battalion deployed with the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995).
Lieutenant General Matthijssen is a graduate of the Netherlands Royal Military Academy, the Netherlands Defence College and US Army War College. He holds a Master’s Degree in strategic studies from the US Army War College. He speaks Dutch and English fluently and has a basic command of French and German.