Air Chief Marshel Sir Mike Wigston KCB CBE ADC

The Chief of the Air Staff is the 4-star commander and professional head of the Royal Air Force. He is accountable to the Secretary of State for its fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale. Reporting through the Chief of the Defence Staff, he is responsible for the development, generation, integration and sustainment of the RAF in accordance with Defence policy and priorities to meet CDS strategic objectives.

Biography

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston was appointed Chief of the Air Staff on 26 July 2019. Commissioned on a University Cadetship in 1986, he completed his pilot training on the Tornado GR1 in 1992 followed by a succession of frontline tours, including operational deployments enforcing the no-fly zones in Iraq.  He commanded 12(Bomber) Squadron, flying the Tornado GR4 and leading the Squadron on two operational tours in Iraq and large force exercises in Canada, Malaysia and the USA.  Appointments in operational headquarters have included Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar, as the Chief of Combat Operations in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre; Basrah International Airport, Iraq as Commander 903 Expeditionary Air Wing; and one year in Afghanistan as the Director Air Operations in Headquarters ISAF Joint Command.  He was appointed CBE in 2013 for his contribution to that mission.

Staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence have included the Operations Directorate and the predecessor to what is now Military Strategic Effects.  In 2013, after a short spell as the Tornado Force Commander, he became the Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of Defence Staff.  In January 2015, he was appointed Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and Commander British Forces Cyprus, responsible for the civil governance of the Sovereign Base Areas and command of British forces based permanently in Cyprus.

Senior Royal Air Force appointments have included Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, responsible for the strategic coherence and coordination of the Royal Air Force, and oversight of the RAF100 centenary programme.  Prior to becoming Chief of the Air Staff, he was Deputy Commander Capability, responsible for the strategic planning and delivery of all aspects of Royal Air Force capability including people, equipment, infrastructure and training.

Education and training includes: reading Engineering Science at Oriel College, Oxford; the Advanced Command and Staff Course; an MA in Defence Studies from King’s College London; the Higher Command and Staff Course; and the UK Pinnacle Course.  He is a Vice Patron of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and President of the Royal Air Force Rowing Association.

In October 2020, he was appointed to the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath as Knight Commander (KCB).

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