Former director of Britain’s special forces and old Etonian to be named new head of the Army 

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A former director of Britain’s special forces is to be named as the new head of the British Army, according to reports. 

Old Etonian Lieutenant-General Mark Carleton-Smith, 54, is expected to be named today as General Sir Nick Carter’s successor as chief of the general staff when Sir Nick is promoted to head of the armed forces next month.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is greeted by Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith on arrival at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan (stock photo)

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is greeted by Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith on arrival at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan (stock photo)

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is greeted by Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith on arrival at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan (stock photo)

Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith is made a CBE for services in Afghanistan by the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace in 2009 (stock photo)

Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith is made a CBE for services in Afghanistan by the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace in 2009 (stock photo)

Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith is made a CBE for services in Afghanistan by the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace in 2009 (stock photo)

Lt Gen Carleton-Smith has been offered the job following interviews with defence secretary Gavin Williamson, a military source told the Times.

He headed the SAS in 2002 when they pursued Osama bin Laden, then the world’s-most-wanted man after masterminding the 9/11 terror attacks. 

He went on to serve as Director Special Forces, putting him in charge of all the UK’s covert units. Sources said his CV indicates a desire to step up the war against ISIS and al-Qaeda militants as they disperse from the Middle East battlegrounds, The Sun reported.

The other short-listed officers were Lieutenant-General Patrick Sanders, commander field army, and General Sir James Everard, Britain’s top officer at Nato, the newspaper reported.

Lt Gen Sanders had been expected to get the role as he is well-liked by General Carter and came from the same regiment.

Another source told the Times that Lt Gen Carleton-Smith was ‘incredibly intelligent, urbane and polished. He’s also a career long special forces officer and war fighter.’

He will be made a four-star general when he moves into his new post from his current role as the senior officer in charge of military operations at the Ministry of Defence.