Chief of the Defence Staff 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.
Chief of the Defence Staff
The Chief of the Defence Staff is the professional head of the Armed Forces and principal military adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence and the government. The role reports to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister.
The Chief of the Defence Staff’s responsibilities include:
- leading defence (with the Permanent Secretary (Perm Sec))
- setting strategy for defence, including the future development of the Armed Forces (subject to ministers’ direction, and together with Perm Sec)
- the conduct of current operations (as strategic commander)
- leading relationships with other countries’ Armed Forces
Previous roles in government
Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
- 2013 to 2016
Commander of Joint Forces Command
- 2011 to 2013