The government has named Afghanistan and Iraq veteran Retired Colonel David Richmond as the head of its new cross-departmental Office for Veterans Affairs.
Richmond is a former commanding officer of Fifth Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and has more recently served as recovery director at military charity Help for Heroes, which was among the charities that backed a campaign to set up the unit.
The OVA sits within the Cabinet Office and is designed to “pull together all functions of government” to provide better support and improve the co-ordination of charity sector provision for ex-forces personnel.
Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said the OVA would “make sure that government delivers on its promises to those who have served and make it easier for veterans and their families to get the support they need”.
He added: “The office will also celebrate the brilliant contribution veterans make in many other walks of life after they leave service.”
The Cabinet Office announced plans to set up the OVA in July, referencing a campaign by The Sun newspaper for a dedicated unit for support former armed forces personnel. Help for Heroes was one of several charities that backed the campaign, which ran during the Conservative leadership campaign and asked candidates to sign a "veterans' pledge" to set up the unit and to end investigations into historial allegations against troops.
Richmond said he was “honoured” to take on the role and that as a veteran, he understood the struggles that others faced.
“Leading the OVA will provide a unique opportunity to serve our veteran community as they transition to civilian life and to ensure that the experience and the support they receive is world-leading,” he said.
“Our former military personnel are hugely talented, committed and have a range of skills, experiences and qualifications that we must ensure continues to benefit UK society.
“I want the OVA to champion veterans and ensure that their skills and talents are recognised fully by employers, business and wider society.”
The Cabinet Office said Richmond’s role was a director-level post