Tony Radakin

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Sir Antony Radakin
US Navy photo 191120-N-BB269-1046 U.S., U.K., Japan Navies Reaffirm Commitment to Increased Cooperation (Tony Radakin cropped).jpg
Admiral Radakin in November 2019
Born (1965-11-10) 10 November 1965 (age 56)
Oldham, Lancashire
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of service1990–present
Service numberC032545M[1]
Commands heldChief of the Defence Staff
First Sea Lord
Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
HMNB Portsmouth
Combined Task Force Iraqi Maritime
US/UK Naval Transition Team, Iraq
HMS Norfolk
Southampton URNU
HMS Blazer
Battles/warsIraq War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Bronze Star Medal (United States)
Alma materUniversity of Southampton (LLB)
King's College London (MA)
Louise Radakin
(m. 1995)

Admiral Sir Antony David Radakin, KCB, ADC (born 10 November 1965) is a senior Royal Navy officer. He is presently the 24th Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of the British Armed Forces since November 2021, succeeding General Sir Nicholas Carter. Radakin also served as First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Naval Service from June 2019 to November 2021. He was Chief of Staff, Joint Forces Command, from 2016 to 2018, and the Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff from 2018 to 2019.

Early life and education[edit]

Radakin was born on 10 November 1965 in Oldham, Lancashire, England.[2][3] He was educated at state schools and St. Brendan's Sixth Form College in Bristol.[4][2]

Radakin studied law at the University of Southampton and was sponsored through university by the Royal Navy:[5] he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 1989.[2][4] He continued his legal career alongside his naval service, and qualified as a barrister and was called to the Bar from the Middle Temple in 1996.[2][6] He later studied international relations and defence studies at King's College London, completing a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 2000.[6][7]

Naval career[edit]

Vice Admiral Radakin as Second Sea Lord

Radakin gained his commission in the Royal Navy on 20 October 1990.[8][9] He was promoted to lieutenant commander on 1 November 1996,[10] and went on to become commanding officer of the frigate HMS Norfolk in 2003, commanding officer of the US/UK Iraqi Naval Transition Team in 2006, and commanding officer of the US/UK Combined Task Force Iraqi Maritime in 2010.[8] For this tour he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal by the President of the United States.[11]

Promoted to commodore on 30 August 2011,[12] Radakin became commander of HMNB Portsmouth in October 2011.[13] He was appointed Director of Force Development at the Ministry of Defence in November 2012.[14] Promoted to rear admiral on 3 December 2014,[15] he became Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces and Rear Admiral Surface Ships in December 2014,[8][16] and Chief of Staff, Joint Forces Command, in March 2016.[14][17]

Promoted to the rank of vice admiral on 27 March 2018 on appointment as Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff,[18][19] Radakin was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2018 Birthday Honours three months later.[20] He was promoted to admiral and succeeded Admiral Sir Philip Jones as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff in June 2019.[3][21][22] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2021 Birthday Honours.[23]

On 7 October 2021, it was announced that Radakin was to become Chief of the Defence Staff on 30 November 2021.[24] Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Radakin instead of the Ministry of Defence's preferred candidate, General Sir Patrick Sanders, due to Radakin's reputation as a reformer and Johnson's anticipation of future naval conflicts in the Mediterranean and Indo-Pacific regions.[25][26] Radakin relinquished the position of First Sea Lord to Admiral Sir Ben Key on 8 November 2021.[27]

Transformation programme[edit]

In 2019, Radakin initiated a programme of reform across the Royal Navy under the banner of Royal Navy Transformation. The initiative encompassed increasing the UK's operational advantage in the North Atlantic, developing carrier strike operations using the newly constructed aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, increasing the Royal Navy's forward presence around the world, reforming the Royal Marines into the Future Commando Force and improving the Navy's use of technology and innovation.[28] Controversially, this also included a forty percent reduction in admirals across the Royal Navy and a forty percent cut in headquarters staff.[29]

Personal life[edit]

In 1995, Radakin married Louise. Together they have four sons.[2] Radakin is also President of the Royal Navy Squash Association and the Armed Forces Tennis Association.[30]


  1. ^ "No. 62310". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 2018. p. B3.
  2. ^ a b c d e Radakin, Vice Adm. Antony David. Who's Who 2019. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2018. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U282403. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC". Ministry of Defence. 19 June 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019. First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
  4. ^ a b Sheridan, Danielle (7 October 2021). "Tony Radakin: The state school-educated boy from Oldham who 'changed how the Navy works'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Radakin, Adm. Antony David, (born 10 Nov. 1965), First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, since 2019; First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen, since 2019". [Who's Who 2021]]. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  6. ^ a b "New military chiefs appointed". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  7. ^ 'RADAKIN, Rear Adm. Antony David', Who's Who 2016, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "Rear Admiral Tony Radakin" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  9. ^ "No. 52353". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 December 1990. p. 18701.
  10. ^ "No. 54637". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1996. p. 1.
  11. ^ "No. 59554". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 September 2010. p. 18540.
  12. ^ "No. 59898". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 September 2011. p. 16983.
  13. ^ "Naval base commander seen off in style". Navy News. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Ministry of Defence and tri-service senior appointments" (PDF). Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  15. ^ "No. 61071". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 December 2014. p. 23726.
  16. ^ "Fleet awards". Royal Navy. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Chief of Staff Joint Forces Command Visits The Rock". Your Gibraltar TV. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  18. ^ "No. 62252". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 April 2018. p. 6366.
  19. ^ "Admirals" (PDF). Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  20. ^ "No. 62310". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 2018. p. B3.
  21. ^ "New First Sea Lord appointment announced". 3 December 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  22. ^ "A 'generation of innovators' has been appointed to run the military in a shake-up of the top ranks of the Army, Navy and RAF". The Daily Telegraph. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  23. ^ "No. 63377". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2021. p. B2.
  24. ^ "Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC appointed new Chief of the Defence Staff". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  25. ^ Parker, George (2 October 2021). "UK military chiefs battle to become next head of armed forces". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  26. ^ Sheridan, Danielle (8 October 2021). "PM went against MOD to appoint Radakin". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  27. ^ "Royal Navy welcomes new First Sea Lord". 8 November 2021.
  28. ^ "First Sea Lord speech to Defence and Security Equipment International | Royal Navy". Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  29. ^ Johnson, Jamie (30 January 2020). "Royal Navy to halve number of staff at headquarters, as sailors are redeployed to front line roles". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  30. ^ "Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC". GOV.UK. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
Military offices
Preceded by Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
Succeeded by
Preceded by Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Preceded by First Sea Lord
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief of the Defence Staff