Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan to take over from General Sir Peter Wall in September
General Sir Nick Carter has been appointed as the new head of the British army, taking over in September as chief of the general staff from General Sir Peter Wall.
Carter faces a series of tough challenges, ranging from reduced military spending to problems with recruitment.
A former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, he will have to embark on a campaign to convince the public as well as the government of the army’s value.
The Ministry of Defence has been vulnerable to budget cutbacks that have seen the army reduced from more than 100,000 to 82,500 troops.
These regular troops are to be buttressed by an estimated 30,000 reservists, but the army is struggling to persuade potential recruits and their employers to give up the time needed for training. Another issue is that many potential recruits are being rejected because of a rise in obesity.
Carter is expected to campaign for spending on the armed forces to be pegged – given a fixed share of GDP in a similar way to the international aid department’s budget.
The danger he faces is that the next government, looking for more budget cuts, will target the military.
Carter, at present commander of land forces, was responsible for drawing up the army’s current restructuring plans after the government’s 2010 strategic defence review.
During his last tour in Afghanistan he was deputy commander of the international coalition force Isaf. As well as three tours of duty in Afghanistan, he has served in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany.
The defence secretary, Philip Hammond, said: “I look forward to working with Sir Nicholas as we deliver our programme of reforms to create a leaner, more efficient Ministry of Defence and more agile, adaptable armed forces.”