Gp. Capt. Darren Whiteley, RAF
Deputy Director, Combined Space Operations Center
Royal Air Force
Darren Whiteley was born in Middlesbrough and joined the RAF in Feb 98, commencing Air Battlespace Manager training in Oct 98 and completing his first tour at RAF Buchan. From here he was selected for the STANEVAL team and an associated ‘war’ role with No 1 Air Control Centre (1ACC) saw him deploy to Europe and the Middle East. A second C2 tour at RAF Buchan followed before a posting to 1 ACC in Dec 04. During his time on the Unit, 1ACC completed a NATO OPEVAL and he deployed as the initial Unit commander on Op HERRICK (Afghanistan). Upon return from HERRICK duties Whiteley was promoted to squadron leader and took up the post of SO2 C2 and Battlespace on the UK Joint Force Air Component Headquarters. This tour saw him undertake numerous deployments including Iraq, Afghanistan and a full OOA at Al Udeid where his work as the lead NATO Planner in the US Strategy Division drew recognition from the CFACC. He also undertook ABM and C2 duties with UK Special Forces during this period. In Aug 09 he was posted to 56(R) Sqn as the Executive Officer of the Air Warfare Centre’s ISR Test and Evaluation Squadron and supported several ISR initiatives. In Apr 11 he was deployed at very short notice to Op ELLAMY (Libya) where he undertook DCOS Ops, C2 and ISR duties in the fledgling UK Air HQ. His main duties were to establish UK manning on mass and maximise UK C2 and ISR operations in support of NATO’s Op UNIFIED PROTECTOR as well as assuming UK Engagement Authority duties (“Red Card holder”). Upon his return he undertook Executive Officer duties for the 2* Chief of Staff Capability at HQ Air Command. Upon promotion to wing commander he remained with the HQ Air Capability area as the Deputy Head and Programme Manager for the high-profile Financial Military Capability Transformation Programme. In this role he was responsible for the design and implementation of the new 2* Air Finance & Military Capability organisation. He was selected and successfully completed ACSC 18 before being selected for policy duties in the NATO and European Policy directorate in the Ministry of Defence. In this role he was responsible for providing politically aware military advice to Chief of Defence Staff, the Prime Minister and other government ministers to aid the formulation of UK policy on NATO and EU issues. He was appointed Station Commander RAF Fylingdales in Aug 2016 and oversaw the Unit increase its integration with US assets and address long standing sustainment and interference issues. He assumed the role of Chief of Staff Space and Battlespace Management Force in June 2018 and oversaw the movement of the Force in to the RAF’s Multi-Domain Command and Control Group (Number 11 Group). He was promoted to group captain in Sep 19 and appointed Deputy Director Combined Space Operations Center.
Darren is married to Lesley, a US Air Force Reserve Intelligence officer. They had their only child, Alex, in July 2012 and he is now a boisterous 8-year-old who is keen to know everything about everything and who is obsessed with cars, YouTube and his iPad. His spare time is spent suffering as a Middlesbrough Football Club fan, stopping his rescue dog from terrorising the local wildlife, road and mountain biking, dabbling in photography and enjoying the delights of red wine, real ale and whisky (although not at the same time).
Start Here for Space: National Space Day
Originally aired: May 7, 2021