Bootneck as Head of Armed Forces?

cc1

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A Royal Marine could lead the armed forces for the first time as the next chief of the defence staff is selected.

Theresa May is expected to choose between General Sir Gordon Messenger, 55, a Royal Marine who is currently vice-chief of the defence staff, and General Sir Nicholas Carter, 58, head of the army, when she conducts interviews in the new year.

A decision about who will replace Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, 61, is expected within weeks. Sir Stuart is due to step down in the spring and become chairman of the Nato military committee.

Two sources with knowledge of internal discussions at the Ministry of Defence said that they thought Sir Gordon was the favourite. “He is well liked and has done well as vice-chief,” said one defence source.

Sir Gordon, who became vice-chief in May 2016, has been a key figure in a mini defence review and concurrent effort to make the in-year budget balance. The military needs up to an extra £2 billion a year to fund its plans unless it is able to make more savings.

Two other sources, however, said that they thought Sir Nick was the favourite, pointing to his greater experience of command on operations at a senior level.

Sir Gordon, who led 40 Commando during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, was in charge of a brigade in southern Afghanistan in 2008. He has not had divisional command, which is one step up. Sir Nick commanded a divisional headquarters that was in charge of all Nato-led forces in southern Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010.

The sources tipping Sir Nick also said that his work to reform the army, opening up ground close combat roles to women and introducing more flexible working, would make him an ideal choice to lead further modernisation. An element of the army programme backfired last weekend, however. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, overruled a plan — reportedly championed by Sir Nick — to ditch its “Be the Best” slogan and crest. The changes had been proposed by advertising executives as part of a rebranding exercise.

The selection of a new chief of the defence staff should have happened at the end of November but was delayed because of the sudden departure of Sir Michael Fallon. The defence secretary must signal his preferred choice before a shortlist goes to Mrs May.

It is understood that Mr Williamson wanted time to get to know five military chiefs who in theory could take over from Sir Stuart.

Whoever succeeds will have to deal with the aftermath of the national security capability review. A failure by the MoD to secure more money could lead to cost-cutting. Options include reducing the size of the Royal Marines by 1,000, shrinking the army to below 70,000 and scrapping ships.

A spokeswoman for the MoD said that the succession would be decided “in due course

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/uk-armed-forces-could-have-first-royal-marine-chief-g3lp6tnjn
 

ThreadpigeonsAlpha

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A Royal Marine could lead the armed forces for the first time as the next chief of the defence staff is selected.

Theresa May is expected to choose between General Sir Gordon Messenger, 55, a Royal Marine who is currently vice-chief of the defence staff, and General Sir Nicholas Carter, 58, head of the army, when she conducts interviews in the new year.

A decision about who will replace Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, 61, is expected within weeks. Sir Stuart is due to step down in the spring and become chairman of the Nato military committee.

Two sources with knowledge of internal discussions at the Ministry of Defence said that they thought Sir Gordon was the favourite. “He is well liked and has done well as vice-chief,” said one defence source.

Sir Gordon, who became vice-chief in May 2016, has been a key figure in a mini defence review and concurrent effort to make the in-year budget balance. The military needs up to an extra £2 billion a year to fund its plans unless it is able to make more savings.

Two other sources, however, said that they thought Sir Nick was the favourite, pointing to his greater experience of command on operations at a senior level.

Sir Gordon, who led 40 Commando during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, was in charge of a brigade in southern Afghanistan in 2008. He has not had divisional command, which is one step up. Sir Nick commanded a divisional headquarters that was in charge of all Nato-led forces in southern Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010.

The sources tipping Sir Nick also said that his work to reform the army, opening up ground close combat roles to women and introducing more flexible working, would make him an ideal choice to lead further modernisation. An element of the army programme backfired last weekend, however. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, overruled a plan — reportedly championed by Sir Nick — to ditch its “Be the Best” slogan and crest. The changes had been proposed by advertising executives as part of a rebranding exercise.

The selection of a new chief of the defence staff should have happened at the end of November but was delayed because of the sudden departure of Sir Michael Fallon. The defence secretary must signal his preferred choice before a shortlist goes to Mrs May.

It is understood that Mr Williamson wanted time to get to know five military chiefs who in theory could take over from Sir Stuart.

Whoever succeeds will have to deal with the aftermath of the national security capability review. A failure by the MoD to secure more money could lead to cost-cutting. Options include reducing the size of the Royal Marines by 1,000, shrinking the army to below 70,000 and scrapping ships.

A spokeswoman for the MoD said that the succession would be decided “in due course

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/uk-armed-forces-could-have-first-royal-marine-chief-g3lp6tnjn


In short:

Sir Gordon, who led 40 Commando during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, was in charge of a brigade in southern Afghanistan in 2008. He has not had divisional command, which is one step up. Sir Nick commanded a divisional headquarters that was in charge of all Nato-led forces in southern Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010.

Sir Gordon, Hoofing Royal who’s walked the walk, too busy kicking ass and taking names to worry about ticks in boxes.

The sources tipping Sir Nick also said that his work to reform the army, opening up ground close combat roles to women and introducing more flexible working, would make him an ideal choice to lead further modernisation. An element of the army programme backfired last weekend, however. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, overruled a plan — reportedly championed by Sir Nick — to ditch its “Be the Best” slogan and crest. The changes had been proposed by advertising executives as part of a rebranding exercise.

Sir Nick, chief of the pink and fluffy, PC Brigade, who ticks the right boxes.


I know which one I want. But I can guess who it will be.

Politics man. Politics.
 

Chelonian

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My perception is that Gordon Messenger is a man who will 'speak truth unto power'.

Which is what any nation needs (more than it understands, maybe) from a head of armed forces.
 
D

dodgyknees

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Unfortunately I think TPA has his assessment spot on. Gen Nick has led the Army to a point where it is obsessed by gender and ethnicity issues. It relies on Reserves it can not recruit to deploy anywhere whilst preserving 5 Bns of RIFLES (his cap badge) which regularly fail to meet recruitment targets further reducing capability.
He is however all over political issues and as such I would be stunned if he didn't get the job.

Real shame as Gen Gordon is a top bloke
 

Ninja_Stoker

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Unfortunately I think TPA has his assessment spot on. Gen Nick has led the Army to a point where it is obsessed by gender and ethnicity issues. It relies on Reserves it can not recruit to deploy anywhere whilst preserving 5 Bns of RIFLES (his cap badge) which regularly fail to meet recruitment targets further reducing capability.
He is however all over political issues and as such I would be stunned if he didn't get the job.

Real shame as Gen Gordon is a top bloke
Yep, we haven't had a Naval CDS for quite some time &-previously there wasn't a RM Officer suitably placed due to the predominently blue RN Flag Officers (of which there are many) jostling for the top post.

I guess the post is more political than military and a government usually wants a person that will follow political will rather than strategic ideology. Successive governments believe ministers with little or no military knowledge or experience know best, sadly.

One guy that has impressed me is Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson who replaced the buffoon Fallon. Williamson has already crossed swords with CGS, and I rather like the cut of his jib thus far. It may work in favour of Gen Messenger - I hope so.
 
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