Air Marshal Ian Gale MBE MBA MA

Air Marshal Ian Gale in RAF Uniform with a white building in the background.

Director General Joint Force Development and Defence Academy

Air Marshal Ian Gale was appointed Director General Joint Force Development and Defence Academy in April 2021, responsible for the conceptual element of UK fighting power: concepts and doctrine, training and education, exercise and experimentation, lessons learned and innovation. Before that, he was assistant chief of the air staff from April 2019, responsible for the coherence and coordination of the Royal Air Force, international relations, strategic engagement and parliamentary business on behalf of the chief.

Ian has commanded at flight, wing and station level amassing over 3000 flying hours and 350 operational missions as a tornado weapons instructor and in Operational Test and Evaluation of Tornado and Typhoon. He was appointed MBE for his leadership in ops and trials and the Sir Arthur Barratt prize for developing new tactics / techniques for the 2003 scud-hunting campaign.  He was at the forefront of the deployment of Tornado to Afghanistan in 2009 and fought the 2011 Libya campaign as the deputy air contingent commander.  As commanding officer RAF Lossiemouth, he commanded a unit of 2500 personnel, three Tornado Squadrons, a Search and Rescue Flight, an RAF Regiment Wing and various smaller units across Scotland, during a time of unprecedented operational activity in two theatres, for which he received the 1 Group Leadership Prize and an Institute of Directors award.

Ian has served twice in MOD capability directorates.  He led the rapid procurement of the HERMES 450 Remotely Piloted Air System to Iraq and Afghanistan during his time in the Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) area and serving in Deep Target Attack, was responsible for the Complex Weapons portfolio.  In 2013/14, he worked in Joint Forces Command as the deputy head of collection in C4ISR, where he led strategic development across all three services, as well as programme directing a record-breaking urgent procurement case for a new maritime patrol aircraft. As assistant chief of staff for C2ISR Capability Delivery, he was the senior responsible owner for current and nascent airborne ISR capabilities including Reaper and Protector, Sentinel, Shadow, Airseeker, E-7 Wedgetail and the P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft. His programmes secured the Minister for Defence Procurement’s acquisition award in each of the 4 calendar years he served in that post.

Ian has completed the Civil Service Senior Leadership Programme and Higher Command and Staff Course. He holds an MA in Defence Studies and an MBA. He is a Chartered Manager and a graduate of the Major Projects Leadership Academy at Oxford University’s Business School and is a mentor on the RAF's 'Rise Together' scheme, where he enjoys helping others to achieve their best.

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