Tony Radakin

Admiral Sir Antony David Radakin, KCB, ADC (born 10 November 1965) is a senior Royal Navy officer. Since November 2021, he is the 24th Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of the British Armed Forces, 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.

Sir Tony Radakin
191120-N-BD231-113 (49106133536) (Tony Radakin cropped).jpg
Admiral Radakin in 2019
Born (1965-11-10) 10 November 1965 (age 57)
Oldham, Lancashire, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of service1990–present
Service numberC032545M[1]
Commands held
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)

Early life and educationEdit

Radakin was born on 10 November 1965 in Oldham, Lancashire, England.[2][3][4] He moved to Portishead, Somerset, when he was five years old.[5] He was educated at St Brendan's College, then an all-boys state Catholic grammar school in Bristol.[6][2][5]

Radakin studied law at the University of Southampton,[4] graduating with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 1989.[2][6] He was sponsored through university by the Royal Navy.[7]

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][8]

He later studied international relations and defence studies at King's College London, completing a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 2000.[8][9][4]

Naval careerEdit

Vice Admiral Radakin as Second Sea Lord

Radakin gained his commission in the Royal Navy on 20 October 1990.[10][11] After a period watchkeeping on HMS Leeds Castle, he was navigating officer aboard HMS Charybdis and HMS Andromeda (1991–1992).[12] He was commanding officer of HMS Blazer from 1993 to 1995.[12] He was promoted to lieutenant commander on 1 November 1996,[13] 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.[10] For this tour he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal by the President of the United States.[14]

Promoted to commodore on 30 August 2011,[15] Radakin became commander of HMNB Portsmouth in October 2011.[16] He was appointed Director of Force Development at the Ministry of Defence in November 2012.[17] Promoted to rear admiral on 3 December 2014,[18] he became Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces and Rear Admiral Surface Ships in December 2014,[10][19] and Chief of Staff, Joint Forces Command, in March 2016.[17][20]

Promoted to the rank of vice admiral on 27 March 2018 on appointment as Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff,[21][22] Radakin was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2018 Birthday Honours three months later.[23] 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][24][25]

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.[26] Controversially, this also included a forty percent reduction in admirals across the Royal Navy and a forty percent cut in headquarters staff.[27]

Radakin was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2021 Birthday Honours.[28]

Chief of the Defence StaffEdit

Admiral Radakin as First Sea Lord

On 7 October 2021, it was announced that Radakin was to become Chief of the Defence Staff on 30 November 2021.[29] 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.[30][31] Radakin relinquished the position of First Sea Lord to Admiral Sir Ben Key on 8 November 2021.[32]

Radakin made his first Chief of Defence Staff speech to the Royal United Services Institute in December 2021. He stated that the security outlook for the UK was "far more complex and dangerous than at any time over the past 30 years" and that the geopolitical situation was in "a real sense of back to the future, with the return of the State as the central, indispensable feature of the international system."[33][34] Radakin also stated the UK military was at risk of looking "ridiculous" until it improved diversity and leadership in the armed forces.[35]

Radakin stated on 7 January 2022 that the UK faced a number of security challenges from Russia and that an attempt to damage underwater communication cables could be considered by the UK as an "act of war".[36][4] However, he also stated that the UK and Russia continue to test daily the telephone connection between the UK Ministry of Defence and the Russian Situation centre, which could be used "if urgent talks were needed to de-escalate an incident."[4]

During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Radakin stated that a Russian victory is not inevitable. Asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme whether Russia taking over Ukraine was “inevitable”, Radakin said: “No. I think we’ve seen a Russian invasion that is not going well.[37] On 31 March 2022, he said Russian President Vladimir Putin had "already lost" the war in Ukraine due to "catastrophic misjudgments."[38] In June 2022, Radakin answered questions from the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee.[39] He stated that, following support for Ukraine, replacing the weapons stockpiles of the UK could take "years" to achieve and that it may also be “five to 10 years” before the UK was ready to deploy a division with sufficient capabilities to fight with US forces.[39]

In September 2022, Radakin paid tribute to Elizabeth II following her death.[40][41] He described the relationship between the Queen and the Armed Forces as "deeply personal" and that the Armed Forces would perform their final duty to the Queen by participating in her state funeral.[40][41]

On 19 October 2022, Radakin delivered the annual Lord Mayor of London Defence and Security Lecture in Mansion House, London.[42] He discussed the wider security situation in Europe, focusing on Ukraine and Russia.[42][43]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1995, Radakin married Louise. Together they have four sons.[2][4] Radakin is also President of the Royal Navy Squash Association and the Armed Forces Tennis Association.[44]


  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 c d e f "Admiral Sir Tony Radakin: 'We check every day that the line to Russia works — but there isn't a chat'". The Times. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Most Famous Old Boys: Admiral Sir Antony David Radakin, KCB, ADC". Sancti Brendani. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ a b "New military chiefs appointed". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  9. ^ 'RADAKIN, Rear Adm. Antony David', Who's Who 2016, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Rear Admiral Tony Radakin" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  11. ^ "No. 52353". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 December 1990. p. 18701.
  12. ^ a b "Radakin, Adm. Sir 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 2022. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  13. ^ "No. 54637". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1996. p. 1.
  14. ^ "No. 59554". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 September 2010. p. 18540.
  15. ^ "No. 59898". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 September 2011. p. 16983.
  16. ^ "Naval base commander seen off in style". Navy News. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Ministry of Defence and tri-service senior appointments" (PDF). Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  18. ^ "No. 61071". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 December 2014. p. 23726.
  19. ^ "Fleet awards". Royal Navy. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Chief of Staff Joint Forces Command Visits The Rock". Your Gibraltar TV. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  21. ^ "No. 62252". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 April 2018. p. 6366.
  22. ^ "Admirals" (PDF). Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  23. ^ "No. 62310". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 2018. p. B3.
  24. ^ "New First Sea Lord appointment announced". 3 December 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ "First Sea Lord speech to Defence and Security Equipment International | Royal Navy". Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "No. 63377". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2021. p. B2.
  29. ^ "Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC appointed new Chief of the Defence Staff". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  30. ^ Parker, George (2 October 2021). "UK military chiefs battle to become next head of armed forces". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  31. ^ Sheridan, Danielle (8 October 2021). "PM went against MOD to appoint Radakin". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  32. ^ "Royal Navy welcomes new First Sea Lord". 8 November 2021.
  33. ^ "UK security outlook more dangerous now than at any time in past 30 years, warns new head of armed forces Admiral Sir Tony Radakin". Sky News. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  34. ^ "Chief of the Defence Staff Speech to the Royal United Services Institute". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  35. ^ "Admiral Sir Tony Radakin: Improve diversity or we'll look ridiculous, urges new defence chief". The Times. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  36. ^ "Russian submarines threatening undersea network of internet cables, says UK defence chief Sir Tony Radakin". Sky News. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  37. ^ "Putin victory in Ukraine 'no longer inevitable,' says head of Britain's Armed Forces". The Independent. 7 March 2022.
  38. ^ "Putin Made 'Catastrophic Misjudgments' in Ukraine: U.K. Military Official". Newsweek. 31 March 2022.
  39. ^ a b "Replacing UK's weapons stockpiles could take 'years', says head of armed forces". Independent. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  40. ^ a b "Royal Navy to play special role in Queen's funeral". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  41. ^ a b "The Queen's military titles: What happens to the honours held by Elizabeth II after her death aged 96". iNews. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  42. ^ a b "Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Mayor of London Defence & Security Lecture". UK GOV. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  43. ^ "British defence chief: Putin's nuclear rhetoric "deeply irresponsible"". Reuters. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  44. ^ "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