Mark Carleton-SmithChief of the General Staff, Head of the British Army (2018 - 2022), Formerly the most senior Special Forces office in Defence, at The Front-line of defence and geopolitical strategy expertise
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith is one of the world’s front-line global experts on Leadership, Defence and Geopolitical Affairs. He was the youngest Head of the British Army in over a century, the longest serving Chief of the General Staff since the Second World War and the most senior Special Forces officer in Defence..
He joined the Army 40 years ago in 1982 on a university scholarship and graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an Infantry officer in the Irish Guards. He passed the SAS Selection Course in 1990 and served around the world with the SAS for most of the following 15 years in the Gulf, South America, Africa and the Balkans. Mark was Commanding Officer of 22 SAS Regiment after 9/11 and commanded all Special Forces operations in Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.
He subsequently assumed command of 16 Air Assault Brigade, the Army’s high readiness parachute intervention force which culminated in his command of all British Forces in Afghanistan during one of the war’s most intense periods.
Promoted to Major General as Director of Special Forces, he commanded all the United Kingdom’s Special Forces for 3 years which included implementing the strategy to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Prior to taking up the post of Chief of the General Staff, the professional Head of the British Army in 2018, he was Defence’s Director of Military Strategy and Operations which included directing the UK response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea and military support to Ukraine. He has also been Honorary Colonel of the Irish Guards and of Oxford University OTC and he is currently a member of the England Rugby mentoring team preparing the squad for the 2023 World Cup and Colonel Commandant of the SAS.
Mark has been awarded the MBE, OBE, CBE and a knighthood.
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