Defence secretary names new chief of general staff

Patrick Sanders will take over as British Army head from June
General Sir Patrick Sanders. Photo: Ministry of Defence

By Jim Dunton

25 Feb 2022

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has announced that General Sir Patrick Sanders is to become the Army’s next chief of the general staff, succeeding General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith in June.

Sanders is currently head of UK Strategic Command. The Ministry of Defence said he played a key role in the development and shaping of the government’s Integrated Review, which was published in March last year, and the subsequent defence command paper.

The MoD said Sanders’ work included reflecting new and emerging threats posed by cyber and “greyzone” warfare, and had reinforced the extent to which the UK Armed Forces needed to work across all sectors to ensure the nation was able to meet the challenges of future conflicts.

Wallace said yesterday that Sanders was “an exceptional leader” and that the Queen had approved his appointment as chief of the general staff.

“General Sanders takes up his new role at a critically important time for the British Army and at a pivotal time for the organisation and management of our land forces as we witness the unprovoked attack by Russian forces across sovereign Ukraine,” Wallace said.

“I have every confidence in his leadership and I wish him well in this endeavour.”

Sanders sad he was “deeply honoured” to be appointed to his new role and said the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a “stark reminder that the world is becoming increasingly dangerous and uncertain”.

He pledged: “The British Army will play its part in defending the UK and our allies as we have for centuries.”

Sanders was commissioned into the Royal Green Jackets in 1986 and spent his early career in Germany, Norway and the UK.

Sanders commanded troops in Kosovo in 1999 and 2002, Iraq in 2007, and Afghanistan in 2011-12. He has also held staff roles including assistant chief of defence staff (operations) at the MoD.

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