In 1963, the three independent service ministries (Admiralty, War Office
and Air Ministry) were merged to form the present MoD.
The UK MoD is the government department that is responsible for all
defence related aspects of national policy. This large organisation, which
directly affects the lives of about half a million servicemen, reservists
and MoD employed civilians, is controlled by The Secretary of State for
Defence and his deputies.
The Secretary of State for Defence has three principal deputies:
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
Minister of State for International Defence
Under-Secretary of State for
Defence Equipment and Support
Under Secretary of State for Defence and
Minister for Veterans
The Secretary of State is assisted by two
Permanent Under Secretary of State (PUS): The PUS is responsible
for policy, finance and administration in the MoD. As the MoDís Principal
Accounting Officer he is personally responsible to Parliament for the
expenditure of all public money voted to the MoD for Defence purposes.
Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS): The CDS acts as the professional
head of the Armed Forces and he is the principal military adviser to the
Secretary of State and to the Government.
Both the PUS and the CDS have deputies; the Second Permanent Under
Secretary of State (2nd PUS), and the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS).
In general terms defence is managed through a number of major committees
that provide corporate leadership and strategic direction:
The Defence Council is the senior committee which provides the legal basis
for the conduct and administration of defence and this council is chaired
by the Secretary of State for Defence, The composition of the Defence
Council is as follows:
The Secretary of State for Defence
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
Minister of State for Defence and Security
Under-Secretary of State for Defence Equipment and Support
Under Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Vetaerans
Chief of the Defence Staff
Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
Chief of the Naval Staff and First Sea Lord
Chief of the Air Staff
Chief of the General Staff
Chief of Defence Materiel
Chief Scientific Adviser
Second Permanent Under Secretary of State for Defence
SINGLE SERVICE BOARDS
There are three single service boards: Admiralty Board, Army Board and the
Air Force Board all of which are chaired by the Secretary of State for
Defence. In general the purpose of the boards is the administration and
monitoring of single service performance. Each of these three boards has
an executive committee chaired by the single service chief of staff; Navy
Board, Executive Committee of the Army Board and the Air Force Board
This board is chaired by the PUS and is the MoDís senior non-ministerial
committee. In essence the Defence Board is the MoDís main
corporate board providing senior leadership and direction to the
implementation of defence policy.
CHIEFS OF STAFF COMMITTEE
This committee is chaired by the CDS and is the MoDís senior committee
that provides advice on operational military matters and the preparation
and conduct of military operations.
CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE STAFF
The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is the officer responsible to the
Secretary of State for Defence for the coordinated effort of all three
fighting services. He has his own Central Staff Organisation and a Vice
Chief of the Defence Staff who ranks as number four in the services
hierarchy, following the three single service commanders. The current
Chief of the Defence Staff is:
General Sir David Richards
GCB, CBE, DSO
General Sir David Richards was born in 1952 and educated
at Eastbourne College, He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in
1971 prior to studying international relations at University College
Cardiff. Graduating in 1974 he spent the next nine years at regimental
duty in the Far East, Germany and the UK (principally with 29 Commando
Regiment RA and C Anti-Tank Battery Royal Horse Artillery) and on the
staff of 11th Armoured Brigade in Germany. This period included three
tours in Northern Ireland.
After attending the Staff College in 1984, he returned to 11th Armoured
Brigade to command a field battery in 47th Field Regiment. From there he
spent two years in Berlin as the Chief of Staff of the Berlin Infantry
Brigade. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, he spent the next three years
as an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley, before being appointed
to command 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. This period included
another operational tour in Northern Ireland.
In 1994 he was promoted and appointed Colonel Army Plans in the MOD,
responsible for the shape and size of the Army. Promoted to Brigadier in
1996, and after attending the Higher Command and Staff course, he became
Commander 4th Armoured Brigade in Germany. In 1998 he was posted to the
Permanent Joint Headquarters as Chief Joint Force Operations, the UK's
default one star commander for short notice expeditionary operations. In
this role he was involved in a number of operations, including
commanding the UK Contingent in East Timor in 1999, and commanding a UK
Joint Task Force in Sierra Leone in 2000.
Promoted to Major General, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Allied
Rapid Reaction Corps in April 2001 before becoming Assistant Chief of
the General Staff in September 2002. He assumed the appointment of
Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in January 2005, in which role he
served as Commander of the International Stabilisation and Assistance
Force Afghanistan between May 2006 and February 2007.
On completion of NATO/ISAF expansion across the whole of Afghanistan in
October 2006, he was promoted to General for the remainder of his time
in Afghanistan. His operational awards include a Mention in Despatches,
Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the Distinguished Service
Order and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
He became Commander in Chief Land Forces in February 2008 and was
appointed as Chief of the General Staff in August 2009. On 29 October
2010 he was appointed as Chief of the Defence Staff.
General Richards is the Honorary Colonel of 3rd Regiment RHA, Colonel
Commandant Royal Artillery, Colonel Commandant Brigade of Gurkhas,
Chairman of the Gurkha Welfare Trust and President of Army Tennis.
VICE CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE STAFF
Where appropriate the Vice Chief of the
Defence Staff deputizes for the Chief of the Defence Staff. On a day to
day basis he is responsible through the Central Staff for running defence
business (with the Second Permanent Under-Secretary).
As of May 2009 the Vice Chief of the Defence
General Sir Nicholas Houghton GCB CBE
ADC Gen who had spent the previous two years
as the Chief of Joint Operations at Permanent Joint Headquarters.