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New armed forces chief announcement expected this week

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been advised to appoint a new head of Britain’s armed forces with ‘operational experience’ to replace the outgoing Gen Sir Nick Carter.

There is uncertainty at the Ministry of Defence as to who Johnson will favour for the £270,000 a year post, although there is an expectation that Downing Street will announce the appointment this week now the final stage of interviews are complete. The two frontrunners for the role are navy chief Adm Tony Radakin and the general responsible for the SAS, Sir Patrick Sanders, both 55.

Carter’s credibility was damaged by the chaotic exit from Afghanistan, with one defence source quoted as saying that he ‘hit the wrong tone in the aftermath of the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul’. This could be in reference to Carter’s remarks that the Taliban were ‘country boys’ who wanted an Afghanistan ‘inclusive for all’.

According to The Guardian, a second defence source said Johnson had been told by Stephen Lovegrove, the national security adviser, to seek somebody with ‘calm judgment’, while Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who chaired the MoD panel during the interview process, has also made his recommendation.

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