Sir Richard Lawson Barrons
|Born||17 May 1959|
Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
|Years of service||1977–2016|
|Commands held||Joint Forces Command|
Deputy Commanding General, Multi-National Corps – Iraq
39th Infantry Brigade
3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
War in Afghanistan
|Awards||Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath|
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (2)
Officer of the Legion of Merit (United States)
|Other work||Author, guest speaker|
Chairman of the Royal Artillery Museum
Barrons' early career was spent in various staff and field posts in the UK, across Europe, and in the Far East. He also spent time working at the Ministry of Defence and in education. Sent to Germany in 1991, Barrons then served his first tour of duty in the Balkans in 1993. Returning to the UK, Barrons took up a staff position and went on to do a tour in Northern Ireland and then to become a Military Assistant, first to the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and then to the Chief of the General Staff. Between 2000 and 2003, Barrons served again in the Balkans, in Afghanistan during the early days of International Security Assistance Force, and then in a staff position in Basra, Iraq.
As a brigadier in 2003, Barrons served his second tour in Northern Ireland, this time as a brigade commander. In 2005, he was appointed to Assistant Chief of Staff, Commitments, a senior staff position. He was promoted to major general in 2008 and deployed to Iraq for the second time, this time to Baghdad, with responsibility for joint operations. He then served briefly with the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps before being sent to Afghanistan for the second time, when he headed an ISAF reintegration unit to provide incentives for Taliban soldiers to surrender. He later became Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations).
Barrons was commissioned as a second lieutenant on probation as a university cadet into the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 2 September 1977 prior to reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at The Queen's College, Oxford and becoming a full-time army officer on 21 June 1980. His commission was confirmed in 1981, with seniority from 17 May 1977 and he was promoted to lieutenant with seniority from 17 May 1979. Between 1980 and 1990, he served in various positions across Europe and the Far East as well as in a staff position at the Ministry of Defence in London. He was promoted to captain on 19 November 1983. and took a master's degree in Defence Administration in 1990, after which he attended the British Army's Staff College, Camberley, in 1991.
Barrons' first field officer promotion was to major in September 1991. He was sent to Germany to take up a position as chief of staff, 11 Armoured Brigade, which then deployed to the Balkans in 1993. Barrons then served briefly as Balkans desk officer at the Directorate of Military Operations and before becoming battery commander of B Battery, 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery from 1994–1996, which included a tour of duty in Northern Ireland. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 30 June 1997. After promotion, he served again in Bosnia, as Military Assistant (MA) to the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and then, back in the UK, as MA to the Chief of the General Staff.
He went on to command 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, headquartered in Hohne Germany, with which he deployed to the Balkans again in 2001. At the end of 2001, Barrons was appointed chief of staff of the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division and immediately deployed to Afghanistan, where the division assisted in establishing the International Security Assistance Force. After serving in Afghanistan, Barrons returned to the UK to attend the Higher Command and Staff Course, before promotion to colonel in June 2002. Barrons' next deployment was to Iraq in 2003 as chief of staff, Multinational Division (South East), stationed in Basra.
Barrons was promoted to brigadier on 31 December 2003, with seniority from 30 June 2003. Upon promotion, he was posted to Northern Ireland, commanding 39 Infantry Brigade in Belfast, a position he held for two years. After Northern Ireland, he was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff, Commitments in 2005, with day-to-day responsibility for British Army operations.
Barrons attained general officer status in 2008, when he was promoted to the substantive rank of major general and appointed Deputy Commanding General, Multi-National Corps – Iraq. He was posted to Baghdad, where he had responsibility for overseeing joint operations conducted by the multinational force and the Iraqi Army. Having served in Iraq, he returned to the UK to take up a staff post in April 2009 as chief of staff to the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), but the appointment was short-lived as, in October 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan at short notice to establish a force reintegration unit, part of an effort to persuade Taliban fighters to rejoin society by offering alternatives to fighting, such as jobs and training—a role for which he was hand-picked by U.S. Army General Stanley A. McChrystal, then commander of all troops in Afghanistan. Barrons defended the controversial scheme in interviews, saying that it was not "about buying insurgents off the battlefield" and that "the idea is that you get the whole community benefiting and turning against the insurgency". In a later interview, Barrons also said "I am absolutely convinced it can be done, and that the time is right. This is an opportunity the Afghan people aren't going to get again. Most of them realize that, and are keen to take it now".
Barrons' position, as of February 2011, was as Assistant Chief of the General Staff. In May 2011 he became Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations) in the rank of lieutenant general. On 24 January 2013 it was announced that he was to be appointed Commander Joint Forces Command in April 2013. As of 2015, Barrons was paid a salary of between £175,000 and £179,999 by the department, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time. In April 2016, he handed over command of Joint Forces Command to General Sir Christopher Deverell.
Barrons co-authored a book, The Business General, published by Vermilion, with Deborah Tom in 2006. He has also lectured as a guest speaker, including at the University of Oxford. As of 2010, Barrons was chairman of the Royal Artillery Museum.
Barrons is married with two daughters.
Honours and decorations
Barrons was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1993 "in recognition of service during operations in the former Republic of Yugoslavia", and was promoted to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours. On 29 April 2003, he was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Afghanistan during the period 1 April 2002 to 30 September 2002". He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2013 Birthday Honours.
In 2004, Barrons was awarded his first Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for services in Iraq the previous year, his second coming in 2006 in recognition of his service in Northern Ireland in 2005. He was also awarded the United States Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer) "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during coalition operations in Iraq".
|Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB)||2013 Birthday Honours.|
|Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)||2003 'in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Afghanistan during the period 1 April 2002 to 30 September 2002'.|
|Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)||2000 New Year Honours.|
|Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)||1993 "in recognition of service during operations in the former Republic of Yugoslavia",|
|Officer of the Legion of Merit (United States)||2010 'in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during coalition operations in Iraq'.|
|Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service||2003|
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| Deputy Commanding General Multi-National Corps – Iraq
| Assistant Chief of the General Staff
| Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations)
Sir Stuart Peach
| Commander, Joint Forces Command
Sir Christopher Deverell
| Colonel Commandant and President, Honourable Artillery Company