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‘It’s a superb organisation’: General Sir Chris Deverell On Leaving Joint Forces Command

An inspiring career that has spanned over four decades, General Sir Chris Deverell is soon to stand down from his role as Commander of Joint...

General Sir Chris Deverell is soon to stand down from his role as Commander of Joint Forces Command (JFC) after being in the post for three years, following an inspiring career that has spanned over four decades.

JFC is one of the four commands of defence standing alongside the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force.

Founded in 2012, General Sir Chris Deverell has put quite a stamp on Joint Forces Command.

Provide the supporting framework for operations, JFC make sure joint capabilities like medical services, training, intelligence, information systems and cyber operations are developed and managed.

Not specific to one service, the command work jointly across the whole of the UK defence and overseas bases such as Gibraltar, Cyprus, British Indian Ocean Territory and South Atlantic Islands.

General Sir Chris Deverell was commissioned into the Second Royal Tank Regiment in 1979 and has served four appointments in the Head Office of the Ministry of Defence.

Promoted to Major General in December 2008, General Sir Chris Deverell was promoted in April 2016 when he took on the role of Commander of Joint Forces Command.

Reflecting on the job itself during his tenure, there have been many successes that he can celebrate.

“To illustrate the range and breadth of it, I’ll start with the Joint Expeditionary Force which we have taken to its full capability.

“Associated with that is the Standing Joint Force Headquarters which is a new command control capability in defence which has been established in the last three years.

“It’s a superb organisation as demonstrated by its role in Britain’s largest exercise for 17 years, Saif Sareea 3, which happened in Oman last year.”

Other highlights include the establishment of schools at the Defence Academy, perusing Defence Healthcare Delivery Optimisation for UK defence and lived within their budget.

Another success story from Joint Forces Command in the last three years is the move of the DMRC from Hedley Court to Stanford Hall providing world leading rehabilitation services.

“There a huge variety to my day, it’s a fantastic responsibility.

“One of the joys of working in Joint Forces Command is that you get different experiences and different backgrounds from all of the services, but also the civil service component.

With the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force all under one roof, surely there is some inter-service banter involved?

“I’m an Army Officer and I’ve always been in the Army so of course I have a high respect for the Army.

“But I can’t in this job act in the interest of the Army, I have to act in the interest of defence.

 “The thing I find most liberating about Joint Forces Command is that you can’t retain your service baggage."

Acting in the interest of defence of course comes with its challenges.

“It’s a new command in the scheme of things, very new.  

“All the component parts of Joint Forces Command pre-date its existence, so getting it to operate as a command has been a challenge but I think we have achieved it.

“We’ve been working on a JFC identity to set itself aside from the Army, Navy and RAF which in part is about values and behaviours to make people’s working lives as enjoyable and productive as we can.”

At a time where security levels are heightened and more personnel are being deployed overseas, General Sir Chris Deverell looks ahead to the future of Joint Forces Command.

“I think it will be increasingly viewed as defence’s strategic command.

“It will be the command that people go to, to do two particular things.

“One is to lead, integrate and enable our response to what is now an era of constant competition particularly with Russia.

“This is completion below the threshold of violence.

"We’re also responsible for the information environment within defence and that whole digital age is very important."

As for the Ministry of Defence’s overseas bases such as Cyprus, the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar General Sir Chris Deverell believes it’s important to have a presence there.

“They’re important operationally and strategically.

“We’ve opened two new bases, one in Oman and the other in Bahrain.

“These bases allow us to project power from these locations and give us a strategic opportunity and they’re a big part of global Britain in the future.

As General Sir Chris Deverell reflects upon an intense but exciting three years as Commander of Joint Forces Command, he shares a message to all those he has worked with and met on his travels to overseas bases.

“It’s been an absolute honour, a privilege and a joy.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and I really wish everybody here and everybody connected with Joint Forces Command the best for the future.”

For updates on Joint Forces Command and the new Commander follow @ComdJFC_UK

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