The Chief of the Air Staff
) 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 with the formation of the RAF in 1918, and its first occupant, Major-General
Sir Hugh Trenchard
, was key in the establishment of the RAF as a separate service.
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 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
war over Germany and the United Kingdom
. The Chiefs of the Air... Read More