Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach served as the 32nd Chairman of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) from June 2018 to June 2021. He was NATO’s most senior military officer and the Military Adviser to the Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council. In addition, he was the United Kingdom’s most senior serving officer.
He was educated in the West Midlands, attended the University of Sheffield (BA), University of Cambridge (MPhil in International Law and International Relations), RAF Staff College and the Joint Services Command and Staff College (HCSC). He holds four honorary Doctorates from UK Universities: Hull, Kingston, Sheffield and Loughborough, in Technology and Letters (DTech, DLitt).
Commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1974, he flew Canberras in the photographic reconnaissance role assigned to FIVEATAF in Italy prior to three successive tours on Tornado GR1 in the UK and Germany, qualifying as a nuclear, weapons and electronic warfare instructor. He commanded IX (Bomber) Squadron at RAF Brüggen in Germany 1994-1996 acting as Brüggen Strike Wing Leader for NATO response missions both nuclear and conventional. Staff tours include personal staff officer to the Deputy Commander and Commander-in-Chief in RAF Germany, Executive Officer to Commander TWOATAF and Director Defence Studies Royal Air Force. He has written widely on defence issues.
Operational service includes Belize, Hong Kong and Germany in the 1980s, Deputy Commander British Forces in Turkey (Op Warden), UK Head Military Coordination Centre Zakho (Iraq), Detachment Commander in Saudi Arabia (Op Jural), Commander British Forces in Italy (Op Engadine) and Battle Staff Director NATO CAOC Vicenza, Air Commander (Forward) in HQ KFOR (NATO) in Kosovo and Deputy Senior British Military Adviser in US HQ Central Command 2001-2002.
He commanded the Air Warfare Centre at RAF Waddington from 2000 to 2003, where he was also UK Director of Electronic Warfare in support of NATO (and is a Gold Medal “Old Crow”). He was Director General Intelligence Collection in the Ministry of Defence 2003-2006 and Chief of Defence Intelligence and Deputy Chairman of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee 2006-2009, where he held the UK seat at the NATO Intelligence Board. He held the appointment of Chief of Joint Operations at PJHQ(UK) from March 2009 to December 2011 commanding all UK Force Elements in support of NATO operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya before becoming the first Commander of the UK Joint Forces Command from December 2011 to Apr 2013. He was Vice Chief of the Defence Staff from May 2013 to May 2016 and was responsible for all UK military personnel in NATO. He was Chief of the Defence Staff (CHoD) from July 2016 to June 2018.
Air Chief Marshal Peach is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Lincolnshire. He holds the Freedom of the City of London and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Defence Studies, an Honorary Fellow of the Downing College Cambridge and Royal Institute of Navigation. He was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in 1990, an operational CBE for command in the Balkans in support of NATO in 2001, knighted by HM The Queen (KCB) in 2009, and became a Knight Grand Cross of the British Empire (GBE) in 2016. He has been awarded the Joint Staff medal by Italy, the Order of Abdulaziz (First Class) by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Defense Intelligence Medal by the United States, is a Commander of the Legion of Merit of the United States and holds other awards.