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Monday, 8 October, 2001, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Profile: Admiral Sir Michael Boyce
 Admiral Sir Michael Boyce
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce has open access to Tony Blair
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce is Tony Blair's most senior military adviser. He is facing his first major challenge in his role of Chief of the Defence Staff, but has the weight of a long, accomplished naval career behind him.

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce took up the post of Chief of the Defence staff in February.

The former Chief of Naval Staff is the first Royal Navy man in overall charge of Britain's armed forces for 12 years.

As the prime minister's most important military adviser, Sir Michael has direct access to Tony Blair.

During the war on terror, he will be talking to Mr Blair on a daily - if not hourly - basis.


I am here to serve the public - that is my job

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce

Sir Michael will also liaise with US and Nato military and political leaders

Mr Blair is known to have wide admiration for Sir Michael as a man never afraid to be brutally frank with politicians.

But unlike his predecessor, General Sir Charles Guthrie, Sir Michael is not a political animal.

"I am completely apolitical," Sir Michael said after his appointment.

"I am here to serve the public - that is my job."

Nonetheless, Sir Michael is believed to have reservations about US plans for a national missile defence system.

Qualified submariner

Born in 1943 in South Africa, where his father was stationed, Sir Michael joined the Royal Navy in 1961.

He qualified as a submariner in 1965, and served on the submarines Anchorite, Valiant and Conqueror, qualifying as a torpedo and anti-submarine specialist.

He completed the submarine commanding officer's qualifying course in 1973, and went on to command the submarines Oberon and Opossum.

He was promoted to the rank of commander in 1976, and commanded the submarine Superb before spending nearly a year at the Ministry of Defence's directorate of naval plans.

In 1982 he was made a captain.

Knighted

Sir Michael's next job was to take command of HMS Brilliant before returning to the MoD in 1986.

In 1988 he moved to the Royal College of Defence Studies, before serving as Senior Naval Officer Middle East and Carrier Task Group.

He was Director of Naval Staff Duties between August 1989 and June 1991, before being promoted to rear admiral and taking up the duties of Flag Officer Sea Training and Naval Base Commander Portland.

In November 1992 Sir Michael assumed the duties of Flag Officer Surface Flotilla, which until January 1994 included the Nato appointment of Commander Anti-Submarine Warfare Striking Force.

After being promoted to vice admiral in February 1994, he was knighted in the 1995 New Year Honours List.

Fitness fanatic

On 25 May 1995, Sir Michael was promoted to admiral, and simultaneously took up the appointments of Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command.

In September 1997 he became Commander-in-Chief Fleet with the accompanying Nato appointments of Commander-in-Chief Eastern Atlantic and Commander Allied Naval Forces North Western Europe.

A fitness fanatic, Sir Michael enjoys playing squash and tennis as well as windsurfing.

The married father-of-two is also a keen amateur photographer.


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See also:

18 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair's war team
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