Defence Services Secretary

Defence Services Secretary

The Defence Services Secretary is a senior member of the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Reporting to the Private Secretary's Office, he is responsible for liaison between the Sovereign and the British Armed Forces. He has an office at Buckingham Palace and an office at the Ministry of Defence in the Main Building, Whitehall.

The first Defence Services Secretary was General Sir James Newton Rodney Moore, KCB KCVO CBE DSO, who was appointed in 1964. He was succeeded by Vice Admiral Ian Hogg, CB DSC, in 1966. Air Vice Marshal Alan Boxer, his successor, appointed in the following year, was the first of the two star officers to hold the post.

When the office was first created the Defence Services Secretary was to be the sole future channel of communications between the Sovereign and the Secretary of State for Defence, largely responsible for giving advice to the Sovereign on appointments. It was anticipated that it would become a source of independent advice on higher appointments. However, within the first decade it was downgraded in rank and powers, and latterly is primarily concerned with matters relating to the British Royal Family and the Royal Households. Unless his assistance is specifically invited he does not however concern himself with the Household Division, nor with royal travel. From 1992 until 2007 the Defence Services Secretary concurrently held the post of Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel and Reserves).

The Defence Services Secretary is answerable to the Sovereign's Private Secretary for all matters concerning the Sovereign's relationship (under the Royal Prerogative) with the Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence, such as appointments within the Armed Forces, amendments to Queen's Regulations, the submission of service invitations to the Royal Family, and arrangements for royal appointments within the services, and for attendance on the Sovereign during service visits.

He is answerable to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff for tri-service appointments, national ceremonial events and honours, decorations, awards and medals[1], and to the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel) for other personnel responsibilities which include veterans, resettlement and joint personnel administration. In January 2009 the Defence Services Secretary once again became double-hatted as the Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel). [2]

List of Defence Services Secretaries


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