Kenyan born army General appointed professional head of British military

General Sir Nicholas Carter
General Sir Nicholas Carter

Nairobi born General Sir Nicholas Carter has been appointed the new chief of the defence staff – the professional head of the British military, succeeding Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach.

Downing Street made the announcement at the end of March after receiving the Queen’s approval.

General Carter was born in Nairobi and served his early career in the Royal Green Jackets, during which time he was deployed on operational tours to Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Cyprus and Germany.

In Bosnia, Gen Carter commanded a unit of peacekeeping troops on the bridge over the River Ibar. His mission was to keep apart thousands of Albanians on one side and Serbs on the other which he later described it like being the “meat in the sandwich”.

In 2004 Carter commanded British forces in Basra, Iraq, shortly after the invasion and over the next decade, he completed a number of tours of Afghanistan and since 2014 has been chief of the general staff – head of the British Army.

He was also behind the Army 2020 plan which has overseen a restructuring of the Army, notably and most controversially a reduction in size from 105,000 personnel to a present size of around 78,000.

Speaking about the appointment, Prime Minister Theresa May said Gen Carter was a “superb choice as the next Chief of the Defence Staff.”

“I have been impressed not only by the reforms he has carried out with the British Army, but by the care he has demonstrated for the men and women under his command,” she added.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said he was “confident General Carter will be an outstanding Chief of the Defence Staff”.

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