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1st Meeting of the 202nd Session (2022-2023)

The Royal Air Force in 2022 and beyond; at the Leading Edge

Air Vice-Marshall Ross Paterson

Air Vice-Marshall Ross Paterson

Air Vice-Marshall Ross Paterson CB OBE ADC DL
Air Officer Scotland

On Monday 26th September 2022, at 7pm

In his talk AVM Paterson will aim to give the audience a feel for the Royal Air Force’s mission and its role; its growing interest in Space; its commitment to addressing climate change and it’s impact; and what is being done to build and sustain a Royal Air Force fit for whatever the future might bring.

Ross Paterson was commissioned in 1983 and spent his initial years in a variety of engineering training and then financial/change appointments across the Service, including RAF Cosford, RAF College Cranwell and RAF Marham.

Subsequently responsible for RAF ground training policy, he secured significant in-house training efficiencies and created a marketing partnership for RAF training that continues to realise major benefits. He moved to RAF Leuchars as OC Administrative Wing in 1998 where he also served as a full member of its Mountain Rescue Team, involved in numerous operational callouts. Promoted to serve in the Ministry of Defence Central Staffs, he then moved to RAF Brampton/Wyton/Henlow as Station Commander in 2003. There he was responsible for the support of some 6000 military and civilian personnel at 4 separate sites, with 2 active airfields and a round trip of 150 miles between them all. He then returned to Whitehall and, following promotion to air rank, provided the Defence lead for all personnel remuneration policy, including the introduction of a new Pension Scheme across the 3 Services.

In 2009 he was invited to join the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office, advising on strategic leadership, before moving to HQ Air Command as Assistant Chief of Staff Personnel Policy (RAF). Inter alia, this post provided key RAF policy input to the 2010 Strategic Defence Review, focusing on creating modern flexible employment models, work that has since been adopted defence-wide as core personnel policy. On promotion to air vice-marshal in 2011, as Chief Executive of the Service Personnel & Veterans Agency he was responsible for the handling of £15Bn pa of personnel costs and compensation via 5 UK sites and a worldwide self-service HR system (the largest of its type in Europe.) The ultimate ‘back office’ role, he also led UK Veterans welfare, the award of 150K medals pa, a 95 bed MOD care home for Polish veterans and all compassionate handling for the UK forces worldwide, including all operational casualties. On retirement in 2015, he became Air Officer Scotland as a Part-Time Reservist.

He was appointed as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2001 and then as a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 2014. He was subsequently appointed as an ADC to Her Majesty the Queen in 2016 and is also a Deputy Lieutenant for Fife.

Air Vice-Marshal Paterson is married to Helen (a civilian Doctor) and has 2 sons, both now working as junior doctors. Away from work, he enjoys restoring their 1750s family home near the Fife coast, and lists climbing the Matterhorn, recently retiling his roof and training his 2 working gun dogs amongst his greatest pleasures to date.