Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach KCB CBE ADC DL BA MPhil DTech DLitt RAF


Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach was born in 1956 in the West Midlands. He was educated at Aldridge Grammar School, the University of Sheffield (BA), University of Cambridge (MPhil), RAF Staff College and the Joint Services Command and Staff College (HCSC). He holds two honorary Doctorates from Kingston University and University of Sheffield.

Commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1977, he flew Canberras in the photographic reconnaissance role prior to three successive tours on Tornado GR1 in the UK and Germany, qualifying as a weapons and electronic warfare instructor. He commanded IX (Bomber) Squadron at RAF Brüggen in Germany 1994-1996. Staff tours include personal staff officer to the Deputy Commander and Commander-in-Chief in RAF Germany, Executive Officer to Commander Second Allied Tactical Air Force and Director Defence Studies Royal Air Force.

Operational service includes Belize, Hong Kong and Germany in the 1980s, Deputy Commander British Forces in Turkey (Op Warden), UK Head Military Coordination Centre Zakho (Iraq), Detachment Commander in Saudi Arabia (Op Jural), Commander British Forces in Italy (Op Engadine), Air Commander (Forward) in HQ KFOR on Kosovo and Deputy Senior British Military Adviser in US HQ Central Command 2001-2002.

He commanded the Air Warfare Centre at RAF Waddington from 2000 to 2003, was Director General Intelligence Collection in the Ministry of Defence 2003-2006 and Chief of Defence Intelligence and Deputy Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee 2006-2009. He held the appointment of Chief of Joint Operations at PJHQ(UK) from March 2009-December 2011 before becoming the first Commander of the UK Joint Forces Command from December 2011-Apr 2013. He was appointed as Vice Chief of Defence Staff in May 2013.

Air Chief Marshal Peach is married with two children. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Lincolnshire, Trustee of the Imperial War Museum, Honorary Colonel (Intelligence Corps) of the Joint Services Signals Unit (Volunteers) and a Honorary Fellow of Downing College Cambridge. He is President Combined Services and Royal Air Force Rugby League. Sporting prowess continues to decline but passion for amateur cooking and military history is undimmed.

Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff deputises for the Chief of the Defence Staff and has responsibility for running the armed forces aspects of defence business, principally through the central staff.


VCDS is responsible for:

  • deputising for CDS (in particular as Military Strategic Commander)
  • co-ordinating delivery of top-level decisions-making, implementation and monitoring progress
  • leading senior military judgement for the future development of the armed forces including the definition and delivery for military capability requirements; and being capability sponsor for capital projects and programmes
  • Defence Board lead for military personnel and training (including Reserves)
  • leading the preparation of the armed forces input to SDSRs
  • (with CDS) conduct of the military strategic dialogue

Previous roles in government

  1. Commander of Joint Forces Command

    • 2011 to 2013