UK chief of defence staff to step down in autumn

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London, June 13 (ANI): Britain's Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, is to be set to leave his post, as the coalition government seeks to "draw line" under past failures in Afghanistan.

Sir Bill Jeffrey is also set to step down as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence.

Both Sir Jock, who is paid 245,000-pounds a year, and Sir Bill, on a salary of 180,000-pounds, are said to have been close to the former Labour government, The Telegraph reports.

Defence Minister Dr. Liam Fox indicated that the two men would be replaced swiftly.

"I've been discussing with them and other senior staff how we transition to the new structures," Fox said.

"We've talked about the best time to be replacing our senior staff, probably the end of the SDR in the autumn," he added

He said their departure would take place at a "time that treats our long-serving personnel with some respect".

Critics have said Sir Jock, a former jet pilot, has failed to get a proper grip on Britain's mission in Afghanistan, where British deaths have reached 295. The death toll in the Falklands War was 255.

He was set to continue in his post until next spring.

Sir Bill has presided over a soaring MoD budget since taking his post in 2006. A report by Bernard Gray, a former MoD special adviser, said the department's "incompetent" equipment programme was damaging the troops' ability to win in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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