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Former Chief of the General Staff and Senior Advisor at PA Consulting Group
General Sir Mike Jackson GCB CBE DSO has had a distinguished career, serving in numerous high-profile and difficult roles requiring operational leadership, strategic insight and unfailing good judgement.
Gen Sir Mike Jackson served as Chief of the General Staff (CGS) from 2003-06, the culmination of four decades in the British Army. He previously served as Commander in Chief Land Command (from 2000), Commander Kosovo Force (in 1999), Commander ACE Rapid Reaction Corps (from 1997) and Director General Development and Doctrine at the MoD.
His active service included command at company and brigade level in Northern Ireland, divisional command in Bosnia, and corps commander in Macedonia and Kosovo.
Gen Sir Mike Jackson is now Senior Advisor at PA Consulting Group and has other consulting roles. He is a trenchant and authoritative commentator on military and other issues. He draws on a wealth of unique experience, combining sharp-end military action and the heavy responsibility of many life-and-death policy and command decisions.
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After four decades in military service culminating in three years as Chief of the General Staff from 2003-06, Gen Sir Mike Jackson has a distinguished strategic leadership profile and a powerful and authoritative style.
After a degree in Russian Studies he joined the Intelligence Corps in 1963, transferring to the Parachute Regiment in 1970 where he was present at the infamous 1972 ‘Bloody Sunday’ shootings in Northern Ireland. After a spell as Chief of Staff to the Berlin Infantry Brigade he returned to Northern Ireland and witnessed the grim aftermath of the heavy loss of British troops in the Warrenpoint Ambush in 1979.
After appointments at the Army Staff College and the Ministry of Defence he returned to Northern Ireland for a third time as brigadier commanding 39 Infantry Brigade.
In 1997 he was appointed Commander of the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and served in the Balkans before becoming the UK’s Commander-in-Chief, Land Command in 2000 and finally Chief of the General Staff in 2003. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in 2004. He retired from the armed forces in 2006, joining PA Consulting Group and taking on other consultancy positions.
Gen Sir Mike Jackson’s military service involved him in a wide range of morally and operationally challenging situations, most notably his high-profile disagreement in with NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander General Wes Clark in June 1999 over the response to an unexpected Russian military move in Kosovo to occupy Pristina airport. He played the ‘national card’ and referred back to London General Clark’s orders to isolate the Russian contingent (“I won’t start World War III for you”). This more subtle approach paid off – NATO asserted control over the whole of Kosovo successfully and without dangerous confrontation with Moscow.
Gen Sir Mike Jackson subsequently spoke out forcefully in defence of British troops accused of ill-treating Iraqi prisoners when the Daily Mirror published faked photographs, but also apologised publicly in 2005 when British Army abuses in Basra were confirmed. In 2006 after British troops helped free a British peace campaigner kidnapped by Iraqi extremists General Sir Mike Jackson publicly criticised the hostage’s lack of appreciation, saying that he was saddened “that there doesn’t seem to have been a note of gratitude for the soldiers who risked their lives to save those lives“.
In 2006 he used the annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture to say sharp words about the UK Ministry of Defence: “One’s loyalty must be from the bottom. Sadly, I did not find this fundamental proposition shared by the MoD.” In 2007 he criticised the way the Bush administration had handled Iraq, arguing that the US approach had been too focused on military might rather than nation-building and diplomacy.
Gen Sir Mike Jackson now has a strong public profile emphasising leadership and strategic insight. He draws on a wealth of unique experience combining sharp-end military action and the heavy responsibility of many life-and-death policy and command decisions.
His presentations are sharp and memorable, featuring remarkable personal anecdotes and thoughtful examples of both success and failure.
Risk and risk strategy
Effective management and responsibility
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