Lieutenant General Sir George Norton KCVO CBE
Commandant Royal College of Defence Studies
Lieutenant General Sir George Norton was appointed Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies in July 2020 after an Army career which spanned 38 years and culminated in his appointment as the UK’s senior military diplomat in Brussels.
He went to Cambridge in 1981 on a probationary commission with the Grenadier Guards, where he read archaeology and anthropology and land economy. His subsequent regimental service included command of 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and the honorary appointment of regimental lieutenant colonel during the closing years of the colonelcy of HRH Prince Philip.
As a staff officer he has served as Military Assistant to the Chief of Staff of NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps; as a member of the directing staff at the Joint Services Command and Staff College; and in the Ministry of Defence as Secretary to the Chiefs of Staff Committee. On the misguided assumption, he assumes, that having a German wife entailed fluency in German, he was sent for 2 years to the German Armed Forces Staff College in Hamburg, and later attended the UK’s Higher Command and Staff Course in Shrivenham.
Operationally he deployed to Sarajevo for 12 months in 1995/96 in the headquarters tasked with implementing the Dayton Peace Agreement; to Kabul in 2004 as Director Plans and Policy within the Combined Forces Command Afghanistan; and to Helmand, first in 2007 as the Deputy Commander of the UK Task Force, and subsequently in 2010/11 as the Deputy Commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) and NATO’s Regional Command (South West). He has served four times in Northern Ireland, most recently as the first Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade.
He was appointed General Officer Commanding London District and the Major General Commanding the Household Division in 2011. During his tenure in London he was responsible for the military ceremonial aspects of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and as Joint Military Commander (London) provided the Army’s support to the 2012 Olympic Games. He served from 2013-2016 as Deputy Commander of the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy based north of Milan, and concluded his uniformed career as the UK’s longest serving Military Representative to NATO and its final Military Representative to the European Union.
He is married to Lexi with whom he has three daughters.