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Defence in the media

Defence in the Media: Friday 29 December

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This morning's papers feature the best Armed Forces images of the year and a letter from General Sir Nick Carter on senior ranks in the Army.


As the year comes to a close, the MOD has taken a look back at some of the most memorable images, captured by service and MOD civilian photographers. A collection of 85 photographs have been selected that show service personnel, their friends and family. Also included are members of the Royal family, the Prime Minister and even the odd celebrity. The Daily TelegraphThe TimesPress and Journal and MailOnline all feature the images.

View them yourself here.


Following a comment piece in yesterday’s paper which argued that a top-heavy military should shift attention and resources to lower-ranking officers and troops, the Chief of the General Staff, Sir Nick Carter, has had a letter published in the paper The Times which details the cut in the number of starred officers from 141 to 85 over the last five years and the reduction from nine to five 2* headquarters.

You can also read the letter below:

Sir, Like Elisabeth Braw, my thoughts are with the 3,000 soldiers who are deployed on operations this Christmas. I am confident that they are well prepared and equipped for their task. And I entirely support the sentiment that armed forces must focus on talent. Maximising talent has been the guiding principle for the British Army as it strives to become a modern employer that provides opportunity for anyone with talent regardless of background.

Braw is also right to observe that the present nature of warfare places a premium on the quality of junior leadership. And it follows that the armed forces must achieve the right numeric balance between senior and junior leadership — not least to create the most propitious conditions for the latter to succeed. In seeking to achieve the right balance,  the total number of starred officers (ie, brigadiers and generals) working under my command has been reduced by nearly 40 per cent, from 141 to 85 during the past five years or so. Over the same period the  proportion of generals to troops has improved to about 1 to 2,400, and the number of two-star headquarters has reduced from nine to five, with the size of the remaining five  reducing by  60 per cent. We are  proud of the quality of our junior leadership, the training and education it receives and the command philosophy that enables it.

General Sir Nick Carter

Chief of the General Staff


A Royal Air Force Chinook, from RAF Odiham, inserts troops from 40 Commando Royal Marines onto a mountain peak in the Mojave Desert during Exercise Black Alligator. Crown copyright.

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