Top Nato role for Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach
The head of Britain's armed forces has been elected to one of the most senior roles in Nato, the Government has announced.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chief of defence staff (CDS), will take over as chairman of the military committee from June next year.
The role involves chairing meetings of all the alliance's military chiefs as well as advising secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: "That Air Chief Marshal Peach has been elected to this position by his fellow chiefs of defence across Nato underlines the esteem in which he is held by his peers.
"No one understands better the challenges that Nato faces and I am sure that he will serve the alliance with the same professionalism and rigour with which he has furthered Britain's interests throughout his distinguished career.
"While Sir Stuart's appointment is testament to his ability and achievements, it is also a demonstration of the leading role that the UK plays in Nato and the importance of the alliance to the UK."
Sir Stuart, a father-of-two from the West Midlands, was commissioned into the RAF in 1977, and flew Canberras and Tornados, serving in Iraq, Belize, Hong Kong and Germany. In 2011, he was in command of the UK's intervention in Libya.
The military chief was appointed CDS, the UK's highest military position, in July 2016.
It will be the first time a Briton has been chairman of the military committee, a role currently held by Czech general Petr Pavel, for 25 years
Sir Stuart said: "It is a huge honour to have been chosen to be the next chairman of the military committee, one of the most important positions in Nato, central to European security.
"I am excited to take on this next challenge at such an important time for Nato, at a time when the alliance must modernise to face new and ever adapting threats.
"Having spent the last year in the hugely rewarding position as head of the UK's Armed Forces, I know I am ready to take on this challenge."