- Chief of the Air Staff (United Kingdom)
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is the professional head of the Royal Air Force and a member of both the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Air Force Board. The current Chief of the Air Staff is Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Glenn Torpy as Chief of the Air Staff on 31 July 2009.
The post was established in January 1918, just prior to the official formation of the RAF, and its first occupant was Major-General Sir Hugh Trenchard. Following Trenchard's resignation in March 1918 after disagreements with the first air minister, his rival Major-General Sir Frederick Sykes was appointed. With Churchill's post-War appointment as Secretary of State for War and Air, Sykes was moved sideways to head up the nascent Civil Aviation ministry and Trenchard returned as Chief of the Air Staff. In the early 1920s Trenchard had to fight to keep the RAF from being divided and being absorbed back into the Royal Navy and the British Army. After Lord Trenchard retired in 1930 there were still suggestions that the RAF should be broken up, but Trenchard's foundations proved solid.
By the time World War II broke out in 1939, the then occupant of the post, Air Chief Marshal Sir Cyril Newall, had a service that had been undergoing the most rapid of expansions during the British rearmament programs of the late 1930s. Newall gave way in 1940 to Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, who led the service for the rest of the war. Portal was a tireless defender of the RAF and extremely able in administration and strategy.
Postwar the RAF was reoriented to perform the dual roles of defending the shrinking British Empire and possibly fighting against the Soviet Union in a Warsaw Pact verses NATO war over Germany and the United Kingdom. The Chiefs of the Air Staff of the day had to fight a constant battle to keep the British aircraft industry alive. In the end only minimal success was achieved, with only a rump aviation industrial base left by the 1970s.
Supporting staff and honours
The Chief of the Air Staff's deputy is the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. From 1918 to around 1968, the Chief of the Air Staff's deputy was the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff. They also appoint the Chief of the Air Staff's Warrant Officer who is the most senior Other Ranks member of the RAF.
The Chief of the Air Staff is normally appointed an Air Aide de Camp to the British sovereign.
Chiefs of the Air Staff
The following list gives details of the chiefs of the air staff from 1918 to the present:
- ^ The ranks shown are the highest rank that the officer in question attained during his tour as Chief of the Air Staff. However, in the case where the officer was promoted on the day before he was posted or retired, then the lower rank is shown.
Other service chiefs
- Chief of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom)
- First Sea Lord / Chief of the Naval Staff
- Chief of the General Staff (United Kingdom)
- Chief of Air Force (Australia) (Between 1922 and 1997, the RAAF's senior officer was known as "Chief of the Air Staff".)
- Chief of the Air Staff
- CAS Air Power Workshop
- ^ Air Marshal Stephen Dalton appointed next Chief of the Air Staff Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- ^ Barrass, Malcolm (9 October 2007). "Marshal of the RAF The Viscount Trenchard of Wolfeton". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/Trenchard.htm. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
- ^ London Gazette: . 20 May 1919. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- ^ London Gazette: . 31 December 1929. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
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