Lieutenant General Manuel Mateus Costa da Silva Couto was born in Lisbon in 1957 and has 37 years of effective service. He took office as the General Commander of the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) on 21 April 2014, formerly carrying out duties as President of the National Authority for Civil Protection.
He is qualified with the Military Academy Cavalry Course, the Cavalry Practical School Captain Promotion Course, the General Command and Staff Course, the Institute for Advanced Military Studies Staff Course and the Joint Command and Staff College General Officer Promotion Course. He has a degree in Geographical Engineering from the Faculty of Sciences of the Lisbon University.
Throughout his career he has rendered service at several Army units and establishments, namely at the Cavalry Practical School, whereof he was Deputy Commander; at the Armyâ€™s General Staff, whereat he performed duties within the Strategic Studies Department of the Military Intelligence Division; at the 1st Independent Mixed Brigade, where he rendered service in the Recognition Squadron; and twice at the Armyâ€™s Geographical Institute, first as Head of the Cartographic Production Centre and later, for more than four years, as Director. For three and a half years, from July 2007 to February 2011, he was also Chef de Cabinet of the General Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, at which time he took office as Commander of the GNR Internal Resources Administration Command, until 15 November 2012.
His service sheet consists of fifteen commendations, among which one was granted by the Minister of Internal Affairs, two by the General Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, two by the Armyâ€™s Chief of Staff, six by Generals and four by other military entities, besides several decorations, among which are that of Officer of the Military Order of Avis, a gold and three silver Medals for Distinguished Services, a gold Medal for Distinguished Services of Public Security, a 2nd Class Military Merit Medal, a Don Afonso Henriques Medal, and gold and silver Medals for Exemplary Behaviour. He was also awarded a Military Merit Medal with white distinction by the Kingdom of Spain.