The current Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton GCB, CBE, ADC Gen. Her Majesty The Queen has approved the appointment of General Sir Nicholas Houghton to take over from General Sir David Richards as Chief of the Defence Staff. Sir Nicholas was previously Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in 2009-2013 and deputised for the Chief of the Defence Staff on all defence matters. Since his appointment to the MOD, Nicholas has held a number of senior posts. The Chief of the Defence Staff is the professional head of the British Armed Forces and the most senior uniformed military adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Prime Minister.