General Francis Richard Dannatt, Baron Dannatt, GCB, CBE, MC (born 23rd December 1950) is a retired British Army officer and the current holder of the historic post of Constable of the Tower of London. Dannatt was commissioned into the Green Howards in 1971 and his first tour of duty was in Belfast as a platoon commander. During his second tour of duty, also in Northern Ireland, Dannatt was awarded the Military Cross. He went on to complete an "in-service" degree, serving again in Northern Ireland during both summer holidays. After suffering a major stroke in 1977, Dannatt considered leaving the Army, but was encouraged by his superiors to stay. After staff college and two years as a brigade chief of staff, Dannatt served as a company commander, again in Northern Ireland, before taking command of the Green Howards in 1989, deploying with it to Northern Ireland for his sixth and final tour in the province. After taking and then running the Higher Command and Staff Course, he was given command of 4th Mechanized Brigade and served in Bosnia with NATO's Implementation Force.
Dannatt became a general officer in 1999 and served in Kosovo as commander of the British component of the Kosovo Force. He commanded the 3rd Mechanised Division, leading it on a major exercise in Canada, before being posted to Bosnia again. He briefly served as deputy commander of the Stablisation Force (SFOR) in the country, before short-notice personnel changes resulted in his appointment as Assistant Chief of the General Staff (ACGS). Following the attacks of 11 September 2001, he became involved in planning for subsequent operation in the Middle East, before being appointed Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) in 2003. Under his command the ARRC headquarters planned for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, of which the latter took place after Dannatt had left the ARRC to become Commander-in-Chief, Land Command, the day to commander of the Army. As Commander-in-Chief, Dannatt had responsibility for implementing a major reorganisation of the infantry which resulted in his regiment, the Green Howards, being amalgamated into the Yorkshire Regiment.
Dannatt was appointed Chief of the General Staff (CGS) in August 2006, succeeding General Sir Mike Jackson. Dannatt faced controversy over his outspokenness, in particular his calls for improved pay and conditions for soldiers and his calls for a drawdown of operations in Iraq in order to better man those in Afghanistan. He also set about trying to increase his public profile, worried that he was not recognisable enough at a time when he had to defend the Army's reputation against alleged prisoner abuse in Iraq. As the result of a visit to Headley Court, Dannatt discovered that the facility was in need of a swimming pool for rehabilitating wounded veterans and, along with his wife, Pippa, assisted with the formation of Help for Heroes. Later in his tenure, he brokered an agreement with the British press that allowed Prince Harry to serve in Afghanistan. He left the office, and was succeeded by Sir David Richards in 2009. He was given the historic but largely honorary post of Constable of the Tower of London upon his retirement.