Admiral Sir Ian Forbes joined the Royal Navy in 1965. He has spent much of his career at sea, including tours in HM Yacht Brittania and on American Exchange with the USS W.H. Standley. He has commanded 4 warships; Kingfisher, Diomede, Chatham and Invincible, and been engaged in conflict and crisis operations off Iceland, the Falklands, in the Gulf and in the Adriatic. As an Admiral, he has served as Military Advisor in the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo, as the Commander of the UK Battle Group, as the Flag Officer Surface Flotilla, and as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic.
In this last appointment, he also acted as Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic for a period with responsibilities for creating a new Strategic Command, the Allied Command Transformation, the first new NATO Strategic Command to be established in more than fifty years. He was the first European Officer to fill a NATO Supreme Commander post. He has since assumed the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation role with the re-establishment of a US Supreme Commander.
Admiral Forbes is a graduate of the RAF Staff College Bracknell and the Royal College of Defence Studies. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire in 1994, was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service in 1995, and was made a Knight Commander of the Bath in 2003. For his work as Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, he was presented with the NATO Meritorious Service Medal in 2003, and was the first recipient of this newly established award. He is a Governor of the Portsmouth High School for Girls and a member of the Windsor Leadership Trust.