Skip to main content
January 09, 2021

Tough Soldier – General Sir Mike Jackson KCB CBE DSO – former Army Chief of the General Staff, Author & TV commentator – inspiring leadership interview with Jonathan Bowman-Perks MBE

Soldier: An Autobiography. By General Sir Mike Jackson

Podcast Details

Top Tip

We are not infallible. Don’t preach! Be competent don’t bullshit. Delegation is key. Don’t get bogged down in the fine detail. Be clear on what you want done what they’ve got to do it with and how is up to them
  1. General Sir Mike Jackson KCB CBE DSO – former Army Chief of the General Staff, author and TV commentator.  Mike Jackson’s illustrious career in the British Army has spanned almost 45 years and all that time he has shown loyalty, courage and commitment to the British army whilst also being an undeniable media attraction. A man of substance where foreign policy is concerned, he has served in theatres from the Artic to the jungle but is perhaps best known for his role in charge of the British troops to end ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, for assembling the British ground component of the coalition that toppled the Taliban, for equipping and organising the army we dispatched to defeat in Iraq and for re-organising the British army with aplomb. His drive, enthusiasm and dominating personality were always popular with his soldiers and drove him right to the top of his profession. He may have been a general but he never stopped caring about the men and women in his charge, despite the politics. “Soldier: The Autobiography” exhibits all the qualities for which Jackson is admired; his professionalism, his honesty, his directness, his exuberance and his sense of humour. Most of all, it gives a vivid sense of what modern soldiering entails. 

Mike Jackson was born in 1944, and was educated at Stamford School, RMA Sandhurst and Birmingham University. Commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in December 1963, he studied for an in-service degree in Russian Studies 

After graduating, he spent 2 years on secondment to the Parachute Regiment and subsequently transferred from the Intelligence Corps in 1970. During the early 70s he served in Northern Ireland, and with the TA in Scotland. 

He attended the Staff College in 1976, after which he spent 2 years as the CoS Berlin Infantry Brigade. He then commanded a parachute company for 2 years,  in Northern Ireland. 

After a 6 month course at the National Defence College at Latimer in 1981, he joined the Directing Staff at the Staff College.

He commanded 1 PARA and was part of NATO’s Allied Command Europe Mobile Force, with 3 winters spent in Norway on arctic training. 

For just over 2 years, until the end of 1988, he was the Senior DS at the Joint Service Defence College, Greenwich. Following the Higher Command and Staff Course at Camberley in early 1989, he then spent 6 months on a Service Fellowship at Cambridge writing a paper on the future of the British Army. 

He moved back to NI to command 39 Infantry Brigade. 

He commanded the 3rd (UK) Div in Bosnia commanding IFOR’s Multinational Division South West on Operation RESOLUTE. 

He was Commander ACE Rapid Reaction Corps, following a brief assignment as Director General Development and Doctrine. He returned to the Balkans with the ARRC during operations in Kosovo in 1999. 

Upon his return to the UK, Jackson was promoted to full General and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Land Command. He became Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, in 2003. He took up the post a month before the start of the Iraq War. 

How can we help you?