Saturday, 25 September 2021
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.

     |      View our Twitter page at     |     


Three have been three new Chiefs of Staff appointed at the MoD today.


Air Marshal Stephen Dalton joined the RAF after graduating with a 2.1 honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Bath University. Subsequently, whilst based in the UK and Germany, he flew the Jaguar on 3 tours in the tactical reconnaissance and ground attack roles. During these tours he flew on exercises in Europe (Norway, Italy, France and Spain), the USA and Canada. On completion of the Advanced Staff Course, Air Marshal Dalton commanded No 13 Squadron flying the Tornado GR1A, during which he was deployed on Operation JURAL flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq; for part of the period he was the Commander British Forces JURAL for Op SOUTHERN WATCH in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Air Marshal Dalton commanded Royal Air Force Coltishall and the RAF's Jaguar Force for 2 years from September 1997. On promotion to Air Commodore he was appointed as Director of the Eurofighter Programme Assurance Group in the Ministry of Defence London. After attending the Higher Command Staff Course in 2002, he was appointed the Director of Air Operations in Ministry of Defence, a period which was dominated by the preparation for and conduct of Operation TELIC - the UK contribution to the multi-national operations in Iraq in 2003.

A tour followed as the Capability Manager for Information Superiority with specific responsibilities for Command, Control and Information Infrastructure and for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance. In April 2004 Air Marshal Dalton was appointed Controller Aircraft, a post which carried with it a place on the Air Force Board and which he carried with him into his next position when, in May 2006, he took up the appointment of Director General Typhoon in the Ministry of Defence.

In May 2007, Air Marshal Dalton was appointed Deputy Commander in Chief Personnel and Air Member for Personnel, based at HQ Air Command, RAF High Wycombe. He will succeed Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy as the next Chief of the Air Staff in July 2009 on promotion to the rank of Air Chief Marshal.


The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt is pleased to announce that Her Majesty The Queen has graciously approved his recommendation that he be succeeded by General Sir David Richards.

Currently serving as Commander-in-Chief Land Forces, General Sir David Richards will take up post as Chief of the General Staff in August 2009.

He will be succeeded as Commander-in-Chief Land Forces by Lieutenant General Peter Wall CBE (Late Corps of Royal Engineers), who will be promoted to the rank of General upon taking up his new appointment.

Born in 1952 and educated at Eastbourne College, David Richards was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1971 prior to studying international relations at University College Cardiff. Graduating in 1974 he spent the next 9 years at regimental duty in the Far East, Germany and the UK (principally with 29 Commando Regiment RA and C Anti-Tank Battery Royal Horse Artillery) and on the staff of 11th Armoured Brigade in Germany. This period included 3 tours in Northern Ireland. After attending the Staff College in 1984, he returned to 11th Armoured Brigade to command a field battery in 47th Field Regiment. From there he spent 2 years in Berlin as the Chief of Staff of the Berlin Infantry Brigade. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, he spent the next 3 years as an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley, before being appointed to command 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. This period included another operational tour in Northern Ireland. In 1994 he was promoted and appointed Colonel Army Plans in the MOD, responsible for the shape and size of the Army. Promoted to Brigadier in 1996, and after attending the Higher Command and Staff course, he became Commander 4th Armoured Brigade in Germany. In 1998 he was posted to the Permanent Joint Headquarters as Chief Joint Force Operations, the UK's default one star commander for short notice expeditionary operations. In this role he was involved in a number of operations, including commanding the UK Contingent in East Timor in 1999, and twice commanding a UK Joint Task Force in Sierra Leone in 2000. Promoted to Major General, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in April 2001 before becoming Assistant Chief of the General Staff in September 2002. He assumed the appointment of Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in January 2005, in which role he served as Commander of the International Stabilisation and Assistance Force Afghanistan between May 2006 and February 2007. On completion of NATO/ISAF expansion across the whole of Afghanistan in October 2006, he was promoted to General for the remainder of his time in Afghanistan. His operational awards include a Mention in Despatches, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the Distinguished Service Order and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

General Sir David Richards has a home in Wiltshire, is married to Caroline and has 2 daughters. He is Honorary Colonel of 3rd Regiment RHA, Colonel Commandant Royal Artillery, Colonel Commandant Brigade of Gurkhas, Chairman Gurkha Welfare Trust and President of Army Tennis. A keen student of military history, he is also a qualified offshore yachtsman he is Admiral of the Army Sailing Association and of the British Kiel Yacht Club - a Governor of his old School, an occasional horseman and an unskilled but hard working gardener. He became Commander in Chief Land Forces on 1 February 2008.


Her Majesty the Queen has graciously approved the appointment of Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope KCB OBE to take over as First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff from Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB ADC on 21 July 2009.

As the Commander-in-Chief Fleet, a position he took up in November 2007, Mark Stanhope has full command of all deployable Fleet units, including the Royal Marines. He is responsible for providing ships, submarines, aircraft and Royal Marine units ready in all respects for any operations that the UK Government requires. As a NATO Commander, he is the maritime advisor to the Joint Force Commander (Brunssum) and is tasked to ensure NATO maritime forces are ready to engage in joint and combined operations as required by the North Atlantic Council. He is also directly responsible for elements of the Standing NATO Response Force.

Joining the Royal Navy in 1970, his career has included command of submarines, a frigate and an aircraft carrier as well as broad experience in Whitehall and the NATO Alliance. During the Cold War he commanded the conventional submarine HMS ORPHEUS (1981-1983) and the nuclear powered submarine HMS SPLENDID (1986-1989). Utilising his experience in the submarine Flotilla he was the "Teacher" of prospective submarine commanding officers on the unique "Perisher" course (1989-1990) and commanded the Submarine Sea Training Organisation (1993-1994). A shift to the surface Flotilla in 1991, in command of HMS LONDON, broadened his portfolio and included the first UK warship visit to Northern Russia in nearly 50 years and operational patrols in the Caribbean and Arabian Gulf. His final sea command was the aircraft carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS (1998-2000) which included combined exercises and operational patrols again in the Gulf, but also off Sierra Leone.

In between sea appointments he has worked in the Ministry of Defence for the Naval Staff and as a personal staff officer to the Chief of Defence staff (1994-1996). His experience of Whitehall was expanded in 2002 by a short secondment to the Cabinet Office. His initial NATO assignment was in the newly formed Regional Headquarters of Allied Forces North, based in Holland. Following this he served as the Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet in the Fleet Headquarters in Portsmouth. His last appointment was again in NATO, this time in Norfolk, Virginia, USA as the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, a four star post leading on the military transformational agenda of the Alliance.

As a junior officer Admiral Stanhope read Physics at St Peter's College Oxford. He conducted formal staff training at Greenwich and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1997. He also attended the Higher Command and Staff Course in 1998. Awarded the OBE in 1990, he was knighted in 2004 and is a recipient of the US Legion of Merit (Officer). As Commander-in-Chief Fleet he also holds the honorary post of Vice Admiral of the United Kingdom. A Freeman of the City of London and the Guild of Freemen he is a Younger Brother of Trinity House, a fellow of the Nautical Institute and a Liveryman of the Upholders Company. Admiral Stanhope is married and lives with his wife in the West Country and they have one grown up daughter.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.