Richards named as new British forces chief

14th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

General Sir David Richards has been named as the new head of Britain's armed forces, the country's defence secretary said Wednesday.

Richards, the current head of the army, is a highly respected figure who was commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007.

He also commanded British troops in Sierra Leone in 2000 and served several tours of duty in Northern Ireland.

Richards will take over from Sir Jock Stirrup as chief of the defence staff (CDS) in October after officials complete a major defence review.

Stirrup, who was appointed in 2006, had been due to step down next April.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox has denied Stirrup was sacked over criticism that he had not done enough to support Britain's 10,000 troops in the increasingly bloody war in Afghanistan.

"General Sir David Richards will take over as CDS in October this year, following the conclusion of the Strategic Defence and Security Review," Fox said in a statement.

"I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Sir Jock, who has provided excellent leadership to the military throughout his time as CDS and who will undoubtedly continue to do so over the coming months".

© 2010 AFP

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