Defence Council of the United Kingdom

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Defence Council of the United Kingdom
MinistryofDefence.svg
Agency overview
Formed 1964
Preceding
  • Defence Board
Jurisdiction United Kingdom United Kingdom
Headquarters Whitehall, Westminster, London
Agency executive
Parent agency Ministry of Defence
A sign erected under the auspices of the Defence Council

The Defence Council of the United Kingdom is the body legally entrusted with the defence of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories and with control over the British armed forces, and is part of the Ministry of Defence.[1]

Functions

Prior to 1964, there were five bodies responsible for the armed forces: the Admiralty, the War Office, the Air Ministry, the Ministry of Aviation, and a smaller Ministry of Defence. By Orders-in-Council issued under the Defence (Transfer of Functions) Act 1964,[2] the functions of these bodies were transferred to the Defence Council and the Secretary of State for Defence, who heads a larger Ministry of Defence.

The Secretary of State for Defence, who is a member of the Cabinet, chairs the Defence Council, and is accountable to the Queen and to Parliament for its business. The letters patent constituting the Defence Council vest it with the power of command over Her Majesty's Forces and give it responsibility for their administration, or in the words of the letters patent:

...to administer such matters pertaining to Our Naval Military and Air Forces as We through Our Principal Secretary of State for Defence direct them to execute And to have command under Us of all Officers Ratings Soldiers and Airmen of Our Naval Military and Air Forces...

In practice, the Defence Council is a formal body, and almost all its work is conducted by the Defence Board (see below). In addition, the three Service boards (the Admiralty Board, the Army Board and the Air Force Board), which are sub-committees of the Defence Council meet annually for each service chief to report to the Secretary of State on the health of their respective services.[3]

Membership

As of November 2018, membership of the Defence Council is as follows:[4]

Members Title Name
Political Secretary of State for Defence (Chairperson) The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, MP
Minister of State for the Armed Forces Colonel Mark Lancaster, TD MP
Minister of State and the Lords Spokesman on Defence The Rt Hon The Earl Howe, PC
Her Majesty's Civil Service Permanent Secretary Stephen Lovegrove, CB
Director General Finance Cat Little
Military The Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter, GBE, KCB, ADC, DL
The Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO* OBE ADC
The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sir Philip Jones, KCB, ADC
The Chief of the General Staff General Mark Carleton-Smith CBE, ADC Gen
The Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, KCB, CBE, DFC
The Commander, Joint Forces Command General Sir Christopher Deverell, KCB, MBE, ADC Gen

Defence Board

The Defence Board is described as the highest committee of the Ministry of Defence, responsible for the full range of defence business other than the conduct of operations.[5] It meets every month and provides strategic direction and oversight of Defence matters.[6]

Members Title Name
Political Secretary of State for Defence (Chairperson) The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, MP
Minister of State The Rt Hon The Earl Howe PC
Her Majesty's Civil Service Permanent Secretary Stephen Lovegrove, CB
Director General Finance Cat Little
Military The Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter, GBE, KCB, ADC, DL
The Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO* OBE ADC
Non-Executive Board Members Lead Non-Executive Board Member Sir Gerry Grimstone
Chair of the Defence Audit Committee Simon Henry
Chair of the Defence Equipment and Support Board Paul Skinner, CBE
Chair of the People Committee Danuta Grey

Sources

  • Ministry of Defence news item on new letters patent issued to the Defence Council

References

  1. ^ "Defence Council". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  2. ^ "No. 43277". The London Gazette. 20 March 1964. p. 2545.
  3. ^ "How Defence Works (December 2015)" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  4. ^ MOD website
  5. ^ "Our Governance". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  6. ^ "How Defence Works (December 2015)" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 16 June 2016.

External Links

  • Ministry of Defence Our Governance
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