Royal Navy boss Sir Tony Radakin has been named as Britain's chief of defence staff
FIRST Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin has been named as the next head of Britain’s armed forces by Boris Johnson.
The Royal Navy boss was announced as the new chief of defence staff by prime minister this morning.
The Portsmouth-based sailor will take over from General Sir Nick Carter in the role, making him the first military chief to come from the navy since Admiral Sir Michael Boyce in 2001.
Announcing the move, Mr Johnson said: ‘Delighted to welcome Admiral Sir Tony Radakin as the next chief of defence staff. He’s been an outstanding military leader as First Sea Lord and chief of naval staff and I have every confidence he will be exceptional in his new role.’
Admiral Sir Tony said he was ‘honoured’ to have been appointed to the role.
He said: ‘I am humbled to have been selected as the next chief of defence staff. It will be an immense privilege to lead our outstanding people who defend and protect the United Kingdom.’
The top officer insisted he wanted to continue to ‘modernise’ the armed forces to ‘counter the threats we face as a nation’.
Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, was delighted by the announcement.
She told The News: ‘Right man, right job, right time; he has done a terrific job as First Sea Lord and for defence in that role.
‘He will drive the organisational change and innovation needed and I wish him every success in the role. I think our city can be very proud of him.’
Stephen Morgan, Labour’s shadow armed forces minister and Portsmouth South MP, added: ‘In his role as First Sea Lord Admiral Radakin has been a tireless champion of Portsmouth as the home and heart of the Royal Navy, including overseeing the deployment of the Carrier Strike Group this year. I know he will bring this same spirit to his new appointment.’
Vice-Admiral Sir Ben Key, who led the Afghanistan evacuation and is in charge of all overseas military operations, will be promoted to Admiral and replace Sir Tony as First Sea Lord.
The contest for the new head of the armed forces has long been considered a two-horse race between Sir Tony, for his knowledge of the seas and General Sir Patrick Sanders, owing to his deep understanding of how to integrate cyber capabilities into the military.
Also in the running was General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the former head of the UK’s special forces.
Under Sir Tony leadership, the UK has seen two new aircraft carriers brought into service.
He also oversaw the deployment of one, HMS Queen Elizabeth, into the Indo-Pacific region.
Sir Tony was appointed to First Sea Lord in June 2019.
Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord Alan West has praised Sir Tony’s appointment to the chief of defence staff.
He told The News: ‘The announcement that Admiral Radakin the current First Sea Lord is about to become the next chief of defence staff is splendid news for defence and the nation.
‘He is a highly competent experienced officer who has shown a willingness to challenge vested interests within the navy and defence establishment, has been at the forefront of trialling and developing radical unmanned systems for the future.
‘He has cut the number of admirals and restructured so that more men and women are serving at sea.’
Commissioned in 1990, his operational service has involved the Iran/Iraq Tanker War, security duties in the Falklands, Nato embargo operations in the Adriatic, countering smuggling in Hong Kong and the Caribbean, and three command tours in Iraq, both ashore and at sea.
He has commanded from Lieutenant to Rear Admiral of ashore, afloat and international forces. This includes HMS Blazer, HMS Norfolk, the naval training team in Iraq, Portsmouth Naval Base, and commander of UK maritime forces and Nato’s high readiness maritime component commander.
He lives in Hampshire with his wife and four sons.