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.