Ian Forbes

Sir Ian Forbes
Born (1946-10-24) 24 October 1946 (age 73)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of service1965–2004
Commands heldDeputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
United Kingdom Task Group
HMS Invincible
HMS Chatham
HMS Diomede
HMS Kingfisher
Battles/warsCod Wars
Falklands War
Bosnian War
Kosovo War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
NATO Meritorious Service Medal
Legion of Merit (United States)

Admiral Sir Ian Andrew Forbes, KCB, CBE (born 24 October 1946) is a former Royal Navy officer who served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic.

Naval career

Educated at Eastbourne College, Forbes joined the Royal Navy in 1965.[1]

Forbes was given command of the patrol craft HMS Kingfisher, the frigate HMS Diomede, the frigate HMS Chatham, and the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible.[1] He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1994 for his work in the Ministry of Defence on the Bosnian War.[2] During his time in HMS Invincible, he was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in 1996 following the ship's contribution to NATO's Operation Deliberate Force, the bombing campaign against the Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[3]

After promotion to rear admiral in 1996, Forbes was appointed Military Advisor to Carl Bildt at the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo charged with reconstructing Bosnia and Herzegovina following the Bosnian War.[4] He also acted as the Chief of Staff in the Office of the High Representative during this period. Appointed as the Commander United Kingdom Task Group, he led the Battle Group's contribution during the Gulf Crisis of 1998, and during the NATO led Kosovo War in the Adriatic Sea in 1999. This appointment carried with it the NATO post of Commander Anti-Submarine Warfare Striking Force. He went on to become the Flag Officer, Surface Flotilla in 2000, and was then sent, in the rank of admiral, in 2002 to the Supreme Allied Command Atlantic (SACLANT) in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, as the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander.[4] In this post, he filled the role of Supreme Commander as the last SACLANT.[5] While doing so, he was the architect of the new NATO Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk with responsibilities for the delivery of a transformation process across the Alliance mandated at the Prague Summit in 2003.[6] Appointed as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 2003,[7] he retired as the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in 2004. For his work in Norfolk, he was awarded the inaugural NATO Meritorious Service Medal by the NATO Secretary General, George Robertson, at the NATO Defence Ministerial Meeting in Colorado Springs in 2003.[8] In the following year, the United States government awarded him the Legion of Merit.[9]

Later life

In retirement, Forbes has become an advisor to Booz & Company, now Strategy&, the management consultancy arm of pwc.[9] He was also Chairman of the Governors of Eastbourne College from 2005.[1][10]

Chairman of the Naval Review from 2006 until 2013, Forbes is currently the President of the Forces Pension Society. He is also the President of the HMS Glamorgan Association, established following the ship’s service in the Falklands War. He is married to Sally who is sponsor of the survey vessel HMS Enterprise.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Sir Ian Forbes". Debretts People of Today. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  2. ^ "No. 53696". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 June 1994. p. 5.
  3. ^ "No. 54393". The London Gazette. 10 May 1996. p. 6547.
  4. ^ a b "Senior Royal Navy Appointments" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  5. ^ NATO Review 2003
  6. ^ Foreign Policy Magazine dated Mar/Apr 2004
  7. ^ "No. 56963". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2003. p. 2.
  8. ^ US Congressional Record 1333 dated 24 Jun 2003
  9. ^ a b "Admiral Sir Ian Forbes". Strategy&. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Board of Governors – Eastbourne College". Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Navy's new survey vessel named Enterprise". Retrieved 11 January 2015.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir James Perowne
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
January 2002 – October 2002
Succeeded by
As Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
Preceded by
William F. Kernan
Acting Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
October 2002 – June 2003
Succeeded by
Post Disbanded
Preceded by
As Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
June 2003 – July 2004
Succeeded by
Sir Mark Stanhope

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