Karl Ernst Thomas de Maizière (German pronunciation: ; born 21 January 1954) is a German politician (CDU), currently serving as the Minister of Defence (since 3 March 2011) in the Second Cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
A close confidant of Merkel, he served as Chief of Staff at the Chancellor's Office and Federal Minister for Special Affairs in the First Cabinet Merkel from 2005 to 2009. Prior to his appointment to the federal cabinet, he served as a cabinet minister of the state of Saxony, including as Chief of Staff, Minister of Finance and Minister of Justice. In the federal cabinet, prior to his appointment as Minister of Defense, he served as Minister of the Interior.
Thomas de Maiziere was born in Bonn to the later Inspector general of the Bundeswehr, Ulrich de Maizière. He graduated at the Aloisiuskolleg in Bonn and studied law and history at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster and the University of Freiburg, he passed his first state examination in law in 1979 and his second 1982, earning his doctorate of law (Dr. jur.) in 1986.