Chief of the General Staff

General Sir Patrick Sanders KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen


Born in Tidworth Garrison military hospital and raised in Norway, Gibraltar and Iraq, General Sir Patrick Sanders was commissioned in 1986 and spent his early service as an Infantry Officer in The Royal Green Jackets in Germany, Norway and the UK. He has commanded on operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

His staff appointments have been in operational and strategic roles. He has been a member of the Directing Staff at the Joint Staff College, Pol/Mil adviser for the Commander of Coalition Forces in Iraq in 2003-4, Colonel Army Strategy, Chief of Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer to the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Operations) in the MOD.

His higher command appointments were 20 Armoured Brigade, the 3rd (UK) Division and the Field Army. He was promoted to General in May 2019 and commanded UK Strategic Command until May 2022. He became Chief of the General Staff in June 2022.

He is Colonel Commandant of The Rifles and the Honourable Artillery Company, and President of the Armed Forces Winter Sports Association. He speaks French and Norwegian, colloquial Spanish and can tell when he is being insulted in Arabic, Pashtun, Dari, Albanian and Serbo-Croat. General Sanders enjoys cycling, all forms of skiing, shooting and whisky.

Chief of the General Staff

The Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is the professional head of the Army, with responsibility for developing and generating military capability from an integrated Army (Regular and Reserve) and for maintaining the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Service.

The CGS reports to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) and, as a Service COS, has a right of direct access to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister. The CGS is a member of the Defence Council and the Army Board, the Armed Forces Committee, the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Senior Appointments Committee.


The Chief of the General Staff:

  • maintains the institutional health of the Army by exercising Full Command responsibility for all Army personnel
  • ensures the efficient and effective governance of the service
  • chairs the Executive Committee of the Army Board and the Army Command Group
  • contributes to the conduct of defence higher level business, with a particular responsibility for providing specialist advice on Army matters
  • develops future Army capability within the context of Defence strategic direction and resource allocation
  • leads the senior management team of the British Army

Ministry of Defence

Previous roles in government

  • Commander of Strategic Command
  • Commander of Joint Forces Command