James was appointed as the President of Rabdan Academy, Abu Dhabi, 12 August 2016. Rabdan Academy provides a future class multi-disciplinary learning environment of choice for the continuing development and integration of safety, security, defense, emergency preparedness and crisis management professionals. It develops individual and organizations to future-class standard that ensures a highly specialized, multi-disciplinary, coherent, robust and sustainable national capability for protection of the international community, its people and its asset.
James’ new role comes after a most successful and rewarding 34 year career in the Royal Navy, which culminated in the role of Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Capability), Controller of the Navy and Chief of Staff of Navy HQ. James joined the Royal Navy in 1982, serving in a spectrum of ships, from Patrol Craft to Aircraft Carrier, commanding HM Ships DASHER, SUTHERLAND, NORFOLK and CHATHAM. He also commanded the United Kingdom Task Group, deploying to the Gulf, and was based in Washington DC as the Chief of Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer to the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has sailed many of the World’s oceans during his career, taking part in operations and exercises across the globe, but with a strong bias to the Middle East and South Atlantic.
His shore postings have included the Permanent Joint Headquarters and within the Ministry of Defence he was the Assistant to the First Sea Lord and the Director Force Development. He also led the team undertaking the Navy Command Review, a significant change programme. As a Rear Admiral he was Commandant of The Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC) and Director General of the Defence Academy. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Bristol University and an MA in International Relations from King’s College London. He is a graduate of the Higher Command and Staff Course at JSCSC and the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, has a Diploma in Company Direction at the Institute of Directors and is a Trustee of the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust. He was appointed as a Companion in the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in the New Years Honours 2016.