First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff

Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC


Tony Radakin was appointed First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff in June 2019. He was born in Oldham and made in the Royal Navy.

Commissioned in 1990, his operational service has involved the Iran/Iraq Tanker War, security duties in the Falklands, NATO embargo operations in the Adriatic, countering smuggling in Hong Kong and the Caribbean, and three command tours in Iraq, both ashore and at sea. He has commanded from Lieutenant to Rear Admiral of ashore, afloat and international forces. This includes HMS BLAZER and Southampton URNU, HMS NORFOLK, the Naval Training Team in Iraq, the Iraqi Maritime Task Force, Portsmouth Naval Base, and Commander of UK Maritime Forces and NATO’s High Readiness Maritime Component Commander.

His staff appointments have predominantly been in either joint or defence roles, including: operational planning at PJHQ, two tours as a Military Assistant, and two tours involving financial, capability and strategic force development. More recently, he was Chief of Staff of the Joint Forces Command (2016 to 2018) and Second Sea Lord (2018 to 2019).

His education includes: reading law at Southampton University, qualifying as a barrister, an MA in International Relations and Defence Studies, the Higher Command and Staff Course, and the London Business School’s Senior Executive Programme. He has also graduated from several US courses including the US Combined Forces Maritime Component Course, CAPSTONE and the inaugural UK/US Future Leaders’ Course.

He lives in Hampshire with his wife and four sons (born between 1998 and 2005). He plays squash and enjoys sailing, mountain biking and skiing. He is president of the Royal Navy Squash Association.

First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff

The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and a member of the Defence Council. He is responsible to Secretary of State for the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Naval Service.

As a member of the Defence Council, the First Sea Lord supports the Secretary of State in the management and direction of the Armed Forces through prerogative and statutory powers. As a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, he advises CDS on maritime strategy and policy. He has a collective responsibility for providing strategic direction to the department, managing performance and ensuring that defence delivers the required outputs.

Ministry of Defence