David Richards

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Person.png David Richards  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(soldier, businessman)
David Richards.jpg
Born4 March 1952
Alma materUniversity College Cardiff
Member ofDitchley/Governors, Ditchley/UK, Equilibrium Gulf Limited, European Leadership Network, International Institute for Strategic Studies

General David Julian Richards, Baron Richards of Herstmonceux is a retired senior British Army officer who was formerly the Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of the British Armed Forces.[1]

Having led the international occupation forces in Afghanistan (ISAF) 2006-07, he directed the British part of the covert war, then air attack on Libya in 2011; and drew up a similar to train and equip a proxy Syrian rebel army of 100,000 to overthrow the Syrian government, as an alternative option to the government's plan for direct military attack.[2]

After retirement, he took a very lucrative position as an adviser to the king of Bahrain, helping to keep him in power. [3]


Richards served in the Far East, Germany and Northern Ireland with the Royal Artillery before commanding forces in East Timor and most notably Sierra Leone, where his action without official sanctioning protected Freetown from rebel attacks during the Sierra Leone Civil War. Richards has also served with NATO as a major general, and as a lieutenant general he commanded the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2007 during its expansion across the whole country.

Richards became Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces of the British Army in 2008 and held this role until 2009 when he was appointed Chief of the General Staff, the head of the British Army. He was appointed as Chief of the Defence Staff the following year. He was succeeded by General Sir Nicholas Houghton on 18 July 2013.

Lord Richards was the queen Queen Elizabeth II’s aide-de-camp, a personal assistant, from 2008 until 2014. A few weeks after he resigned from this position, he was appointed deputy lieutenant – the monarch’s representative – for the county of Hampshire in southern England.ref>https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-10-17-how-the-british-establishment-is-working-to-keep-bahrains-ruling-family-in-power/</ref>

In 2014, Richards was created a Life Peer taking the title Baron Richards of Herstmonceux. He sits in the House of Lords as a crossbencher. In December 2015, it was announced that he had joined the global advisory board of asset management firm CQS.[4] He has also worked as an advisor to the government of the United Arab Emirates and US-based arms company DynCorp.[5]

From October 2013, Richards has worked as a Senior Adviser to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.[6][7]


A Document by David Richards

TitleDocument typeSubject(s)Description
Document:An Open Letter On Defenceopen letterUK/Ministry of Defence
An open letter the BBC published from a group of academics and military men written to the UK Prime Minister highlighting "global threats", warning that "security is threatened in almost every corner of the globe" and that decreased military expenditure would "damage our international credibility". Authors included at least three members of the Institute for Statecraft.
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