General Sir Mike Jackson KCB CBE DSO was born in 1944, and was educated at Stamford School, RMA Sandhurst and Birmingham University. Commissioned from Sandhurst into the Intelligence Corps in December 1963, he studied for an in-service degree in Russian Studies from 1964 to 1967.
After graduating, he spent 2 years on secondment to the Parachute Regiment and subsequently transferred from the Intelligence Corps in 1970. During the early 70s he served in Northern Ireland, and with the TA in Scotland.
He attended the Staff College in 1976, after which he spent 2 years as the Chief of Staff of the Berlin Infantry Brigade. He then commanded a parachute company for 2 years, once more in Northern Ireland.
After a 6 month course at the National Defence College at Latimer in 1981, he joined the Directing Staff at the Staff College. His two and a half year tour at Camberley included a 10 week attachment to the Ministry of Defence during the Falklands conflict.
He commanded 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment from March 1984 to September 1986. Throughout his period of command the Battalion was part of NATO's Allied Command Europe Mobile Force, a role which included 3 winters spent in Norway on arctic training.
For just over 2 years, until the end of 1988, he was the Senior Directing Staff (Army) at the Joint Service Defence College, Greenwich. Following the Higher Command and Staff Course at Camberley in early 1989, he then spent 6 months on a Service Fellowship at Cambridge writing a paper on the future of the British Army.
He moved back to Northern Ireland in late 1989 to command 39 Infantry Brigade for two and a half years. 1992 and 1993 were spent in the Ministry of Defence as Director General Personnel Services (Army).
He commanded the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division from March 1994 to July 1996; the last 6 months of this period were spent in Bosnia commanding IFOR's Multinational Division South West on Operation RESOLUTE.
He assumed the appointment of Commander ACE Rapid Reaction Corps in the rank of Lieutenant General in February 1997, following a brief assignment as Director General Development and Doctrine. He returned to the Balkans with the ARRC during operations in Kosovo in 1999.
Upon his return to the UK, Jackson was promoted to full general and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Land Command, the second-most senior position in the British Army. After three years as Commander-in-Chief, Jackson was appointed Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, in 2003. He took up the post a month before the start of the Iraq War. He was succeeded as Chief of the General Staff by Sir Richard Dannatt in 2006, and retired from the Army after serving for almost 45 years.
Jackson has held a number of honorary and ceremonial positions in various regiments. His first was as Honorary Colonel, 10 (Volunteer) Battalion, The Parachute Regiment in 1994, which he relinquished in 1999. In 1998 he was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment, until he was relieved by Sir John Reith in 2004, and Colonel Commandant, Adjutant General's Corps, succeeding Sir Jeremy Mackenzie, until he was relieved by Sir Freddie Viggers in 2005.
He was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Territorial Army's 2nd Battalion (Volunteers) The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, in 1997. Following their amalgamation in the modernisation of the regimental structure, Jackson was appointed to the newly created position of Honorary Colonel, the Rifle Volunteers, in 1999. He was given the title of Aide de Camp General (ADC) to Queen Elizabeth II in 2001, succeeding Sir Rupert Smith. He relinquished the appointment in 2006. After his retirement from the Army, he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire (DL) in 2007.
General Sir Mike Jackson was awarded the MBE in 1979, the CBE in 1992, the CB in 1996 and the KCB in 1998. He is married to Sarah, and has 2 sons and a daughter. His interests include, music, reading, travel, skiing and tennis.