General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE (Co-Chairman)
Richard served as Commander Joint Forces Command until April 2016, one of the six ‘Chiefs of Staff” leading the UK Armed Forces, where he was responsible for 23,000 people worldwide and a budget of £4.3Bn, delivering intelligence, Special Forces, operational command and control, surveillance, reconnaissance and information systems and communications, operational logistics, medical support, and advanced education and training across the Armed Forces.
His military career included the last decade of the Cold War and leadership from Captain to General on military operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan – often as part of US-led coalitions and in NATO. He was responsible for Military Strategy and Operations in the MoD as a Lieutenant General 2011-13 and President and Colonel Commandant of the Honourable Artillery Company 2013-2019.
He is a Distinguished Fellow at RUSI, and a Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS. He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at The Queen’s College, Oxford en route to becoming an artillery officer.
Currently he is Managing Partner of Wychwood Partners and advises and lectures regularly on defence transformation, security policy, digital risk, and senior leadership to City, academic, parliamentary, military and commercial audiences.
Peter L R Hewitt JP, FCSI, FRSA (Co-Chairman)
Peter has been Chairman or Director of 13 UK Public Companies over the last 25 years and was a founding director of 8 of these. He is currently Chairman of Vordere PLC and Blackfinch Spring VCT PLC; a non-executive director of Puma 10 VCT PLC, and a senior Adviser at Brennan and Partners. In 2018 he stepped down after a 6 year term as an Alderman in the City of London where he sat on numerous committees including City’s Finance, Investment and Property Committees (£6bn under management) and was the inaugural Chairman of the City's £20m Social Investment Fund. Peter is an Honorary Group Captain in 601 (County of London ) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
Peter is a member of the Governments Taskforce on Retail Social Investment and is a former member of the Associate Parliamentary Group on Wholesale Financial Markets; a UKTI Catalyst member and advisor to the Financial Services Organisation of the UKTI, writing a number of papers on overseas investment opportunities.
He is very involved in charitable and pro bono work being on the Finance Committee of ABF the Soldiers Charity; an Appeal Patron of the Sea Change Sailing Trust; and the founder of Raleigh 400. He is a past Master of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen and immediate past Master of the Guild of Entrepreneurs.
Vice Admiral (Rtd) Duncan L Potts CB (Director Designate*)
Maritime, Joint, Service Training and Education
Duncan served as Director General Joint Force Development until 2018, responsible for ensuring the single Services can integrate on operations both with other Government Departments and internationally. This included articulating trends out to 30 years and providing individual through-career education and collective training to meet contemporary challenges. Previously he led capability development for the Royal Navy and has commanded at 1 & 2* level for NATO, EU and US led coalition operations.
Duncan served as a Royal Navy officer for 39 years. Originally a surface warfare anti-submarine officer, he commanded 3 major warships on operations, principally in the Middle East. He commanded the US led Coalition Task Group in the Northern Gulf as a Commodore and as a Rear Admiral led NATO’s High Readiness Force (Maritime) and commanded the European Union’s counter-piracy operation in the Indian Ocean at the height of the scourge of piracy. On his watch piracy was defeated. Also, as a Rear Admiral he was head of capability for the Royal Navy, Chief of Staff overseeing HQ reorganization, was an executive director on the Navy Board and was head of the surface ship fighting arm. More widely he has worked in the Ministry of Defence in resource programming and capability planning and as Military Assistant to the Vice Chief of Defence Staff. He has a strong background in Joint operations, notably as the 1* head of planning at the UK’s National Joint Operational HQ (PJHQ) and on the Joint Forces Command Board as Director General Joint Force Development and Director General of the Defence Academy of the UK. He is a graduate of The City University (Systems and Management), a fellow of The Windsor Leadership Trust and a Younger Brother of Trinity House.
Lieutenant General (Rtd) Sir Mark Poffley KCB OBE (Director Designate*)
Land, Defence Programming and Force Design
Mark has extensive operational experience as both a planner and field logistician. Most recently serving as the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff leading the UK MOD’s strategic Balance of Investment and force design teams. Overseeing a budget of £38 billion, he was responsible for the coherence of the UK’s defence portfolio including the most sensitive strategic capability programmes. Previously, he was the Deputy to the Head of the British Army and led the Royal Logistic Corps.
Sir Mark’s service over 34 years has included tours in both heavy armoured and light forces, including operational roles with 1 (UK) Armoured Division and 16 Air Assault Brigade. He has seen active service on operations during the first Gulf War, UN operations in the Balkans, and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has commanded on operations at every level up to and including brigade level. His staff appointments have included specialist assignments in planning the introduction of the UK’s attack helicopter, logistics, force design, finance and strategic planning. The latter part of his military career was dominated by senior appointments including two years as the principal aide the UK Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chief of Staff of the Army HQ and the Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in the MOD responsible for Resources and Plans across the three Services. He was awarded his 3rd star in 2014 and appointed as the commander of the Army’s Force Development and Training organisation. He went on to be the Deputy Chief of the General Staff before his last appointment as the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff responsible for the delivery of coherent tri-service capability plans and strategic balance of investment. He was personally responsible for the delivery of many of the most strategic Defence programmes such as the international capability dialogues, national shipbuilding and combat air strategies and the introduction of the UK’s aircraft carriers and the UK F35 programme. In his last appointment, he acted as the National Armaments Director and sat on the MOD executive committee, People and Infrastructure Boards and the main board for the Defence Equipment and Support organisation.
He was knighted in 2018 and retired from the Army in April 2019. He remains connected to the military in an honoury appointment as the Master General Logistics and is a trustee of the Blind Veterans charity.
Will Jessett CBE (Director Designate*)
MoD, Policy and Strategy, Civil Service and Acquisition
Will retired from the MOD in Jan 2019. His last role was as the department’s strategy director, in which he led work on the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review and the 2017/18 National Security Capabilities Review and Modernising Defence Programme. He worked in a variety of policy, strategy and operational roles during his 33 years in public service, specialising in strategic planning. He spent more than a third of his career living and working overseas (Namibia, Poland, Cyprus, USA).
Air Marshal (Rtd) Phil Osborn CBE, FRAeS (Director Designate*)
Air, Space, ISR and Cyber
Phil joined the Royal Air Force in 1982 and, as a Tornado navigator, he has served on numerous Tornado GR1/4 squadrons. His roles have included: Commander British Forces Op RESINATE (NORTH), responsible for all in-country air operations planning during the run-up to Op TELIC; Air Officer Commanding No 2 Group. Previous staff tours have all had a Capability focus with responsibilities being focussed on Combat Air, Carrier Strike, Land Forces Engagement, Weapons and, latterly, Joint Enabling capabilities. In Jan 2015, Osborn was appointed as Chief of Defence Intelligence.
*Director Designate, pending ACOBA approval.
Senior Leadership Team
Commodore Adrian Aplin MBE MA FCILT FIoD CDir RN (Rtd)
Maritime Support and Infrastructure
Adrian retired from the MOD in 2019, after 32 years as a Royal Navy Logistics and Supply Chain specialist, working primarily in the joint arena in the support to operations, strategy and policy areas. He served in the UK MoD Head Office in Whitehall, Navy Command Headquarters, and the Defence Equipment & Support organisation in addition to operational roles ranging from a survey ship to aircraft carriers.
He was also second in command of Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton and Directing Staff and Divisional Executive Officer at the Advanced Command & Staff Course. As a Commodore, he was Head of the RN’s Infrastructure portfolio, senior Logistics professional responsible for all Logistics and Supply Chain activity across the Naval Service and Deputy Chief Naval Logistics Officer.
Latterly he was Head of Defence Logistics Strategy across all 3 Services driving the Defence Support Network Transformation and a new generation of evergreen digital cloud based cyber-secure logistics services as Programme Director of the £1.4Bn Logistics IS Programme.
Air Commodore (Rtd) Nicholas Bray CBE MSc MA
Defence Technology & Innovation
Nick is Chief Operating Officer of a cyber security company, Non-Executive Director of a drone company and leads Business Development for an aerospace technology company. He retired from the Regular RAF in April 2017 but continues to serve as a Reservist on the RAF’s innovation unit, 601 Squadron RAuxAF.
Prior to this, he headed UK MOD’s international strategy and operations staff covering Asia Pacific and Latin America and had significant involvement with the highest levels of several foreign governments. He was Commandant General RAF Regiment and Air Officer RAF Police and Security with global responsibility for the Force Protection of 36, 000 personnel and some of the Nation’s most advanced technologies and aircraft. Nick led the UK’s specialist Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear units and has significant Ground Based Air Defence, Air / Land Integration and Aviation Security experience.
Lieutenant General (Rtd) Professor Martin CM Bricknell CB OStJ PhD DM FFPH FIHM MFOM MRCGP
Defence Medical and Healthcare
Martin served 34 years in the UK Defence Medical Services, finishing his service as the Surgeon General of the UK Armed Forces. He undertook operational tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans with multiple additional overseas assignments. In 2010 and 2006, he held senior Medical Adviser appointments in the NATO ISAF mission.
He commanded 22 Field Hospital in 1999-2002. He has trained as a general practitioner and is an accredited specialist in both Public Health and Occupational Medicine. He holds two doctorates and 3 masters degrees. He has published over 100 academic papers across military medical subjects. He is especially interested in how organisations learn, care pathways in military healthcare, and the political economy of health in conflict. He was awarded the Companion of the Order of Bath, the Order of St John and the US Bronze Star during his military service. He took up an appointment at King’s College London in April 2019.
Rear Admiral (Rtd) Steven B Brunton CBE MSc MCGI CEng FCMI FIET
Steve trained as a submarine weapons engineer, leaving the Royal Navy after a 36-year career with acquisition roles in every rank from Lieutenant to Rear Admiral. His last MOD role was Director Ship Acquisition responsible for the MOD’s warship building portfolio of over £1Bn per annum, including the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and the Type 26 Global Combat Ship.
Since 2014 he has been operating as an independent advisor on complex portfolios and programmes. During 2015 and 2016 he was Interim Estates Director for the Valuation Office Agency where he established new Governance and a programme to reduce the 70 UK based offices to 30. Since 2016 he has been Independent Advisor to the Canadian Government on its c$80Bn National Shipbuilding Strategy. During 2017 he was a member of the Expert Advisor Panel to Australian Department of Defence in the evaluation of the $35Bn Australian Future Frigate programme competition. In 2018 he led a US/UK team review of the Dreadnought Submarine build programme. Steve is currently Independent Advisor to the Senior Officer responsible for the Metropolitan Police CONNECT project, a major information system and business change programme. Since May 2019 he has been part of a team putting in place Portfolio management across the 5,500 worldwide properties managed by the Foreign Office.
Major General (Rtd) Keith H Cima CB
Keith’s 32-year career in the Army included regimental duty, project management, teaching international studies, logistic support, infrastructure engineering, strategic manpower planning, career management, operating in a Department of State, corporate strategy and planning at board level.
After retiring from the Army in [20XX], he spent 4 years as Resident Governor of the Tower of London, running a £35M heritage business in a Royal Palace as part of a larger charity. For the next 4.5 years Keith was a full-time, salaried coxswain for the RNLI in London at a busy, manned 24/7 station. He now has a portfolio of other activities: some business interests; Chairman of SSAFA France; Protection Civile (a volunteer civil security organisation in France).
Air Commodore Peter J Grinsted OBE MA MBA CEng RPP FRAeS MAPM RAF (Retd)
Peter retired from the Royal Air Force after 37 years’ service in April 2016. Originally an aircraft engineer he enjoyed a wide variety of appointments supporting mostly fast-jet aircraft before his career focused on programme management. His last tour was as the Head of UAS Team within Defence Equipment & Support where he was responsible for equipping and sustaining UAS operations for all UK Armed Forces whilst maximising synergies and efficiencies across the programmes.
He also had additional pan-government responsibility for developing the UK government policy and strategy for the UK UAS enterprise. Prior to this, he was on loan service to the US Department of Defense in the multi-national F-35 Joint Program Office where, as Deputy Director Logistics and Sustainment, he was instrumental in developing the global support solution for F-35.
He now manages his own business consultancy helping clients with strategy development and optimizing marketing opportunities.
Martin Howard CB FRSA
Cyber, NATO Policy and Strategy
Martin retired from public service in . His last two postings in government were as Director for Cyber Policy and International Relations at GCHQ, focusing on strategic development and communication of cyber-security policies, and on cyber and intelligence co-operation with international partners; and Chief of the Assessments Staff in the Cabinet Office Joint Intelligence Organisation, analysing conventional and novel threats to national security and critical infrastructure.
He previously served as Assistant Secretary General for Operations in NATO, dealing with the alliance’s missions in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Libya, Iraq and on counter-piracy; as Director General Operational Policy in the Ministry of Defence; and as Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence. Most of Martin’s earlier service was in the Ministry of Defence, working primarily on security policy, operations, intelligence and corporate communications. He also worked in the Northern Ireland Office acting as Private Secretary to the Secretary of State and as part of the UK team that helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement. Martin was appointed Companion of the Bath (CB) in 2007.
Alan J T Nicholl FIExpE, MCIPS, MAPM, MCILT, MIoD, RCNC
Acquisition, Programme Management and Commercial
Alan’s last role in the MoD was as Director Weapons, where he led the creation and sustainment of sovereign industrial capability at sector level, whilst delivering a range of high value complex equipment systems and capabilities. Before that, he held a range of senior level appointments in the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation.
After a spell of consultancy, involving, amongst other things, organisational design and transformation, in 2015 he moved to the Department of Defence in Canberra, to lead the largest recapitalisation of the Royal Australian Navy’s surface fleet since 1945. He returned to the UK in 2019.
Major General (Rtd) Michael L Riddell-Webster CBE DSO
Defence Training, Education and Procurement
Mike served as the Director of the College of Management Technology, where he was responsible for the education of senior leadership, management, technical, commercial and language skills and nuclear propulsion, project management and acquisition training for Defence. Responsible for a budget of some £30M, he led the Defence partnerships with Cranfield University and Welbeck Sixth Form College.
An infantry officer, Mike has been on operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. As the Battalion Commander of an armoured Infantry battalion, he led his Battalion on operations in Kosovo, shortly after the initial break in, and in Iraq, during the initial invasion in 2003. As a Brigade Commander, he was responsible for bringing the 37-year operation in Northern Ireland to a conclusion.
Mike has spent nearly ten years working in the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, where latterly he was responsible for setting equipment investment priorities and requirements for much of the Army’s equipment and balancing a budget of some £17Bn over a ten-year timeframe. He also had a tour as the Military Assistant to the Chief of Defence Staff, which covered the period of the invasion of Kosovo and gave him real exposure to the political and diplomatic aspects of military operations.
Having retired from the Regular Army in 2014, Mike has just finished a 4-year tour as the Governor of Edinburgh Castle, representing senior Army interests in Scotland.
Air Marshal (Rtd) Sir Graham Stacey KBE CB MA BSc CCMI
NATO Transformation, Planning and Operations
Graham Served as the Chief of Staff of NATO Allied Command Transformation until July 2018. Prior to that, in a series of major international appointments, he was the deputy commander of NATO Joint Force Command Brunssum, the commander of British Forces Cyprus and the UK Senior Advisor to US Central Command.
He commanded at every level and saw operational service in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, The Gulf, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has extensive experience of leadership and organisational development, innovation, the application of emerging and disruptive technologies, C2 and decision making in multinational environments, and international analysis, strategy and policy.
Rear Admiral (Rtd) Robert Tarrant MA CB
Maritime Strategy and Operations
Bob has significant experience in the maritime operations, from the nuclear deterrent to humanitarian assistance. He has commanded at every rank from Lieutenant Commander to Rear Admiral. In his last role as Commander Operations he exercised command over all fleet units and was responsible for the delivery of Royal Navy’s operational risks and outputs.
He has worked in a variety of regions, from the North Atlantic and Africa to Antarctica and from the US to the Middle East. He has held a number of strategy positions in the Royal Navy and the MOD. These included the Director of the Naval Staff, in which as the de facto strategy director for the Navy Board, he prepared its policy and approach to the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010. He has operated in NATO, the EU and worked in US led coalitions.
Brigadier (Rtd) Gerhard Wheeler CBE
Reserves and National Service
Gerhard has developed a deep understanding of resilience and risk in a series of key defence appointments. He completed his service in the British Army as the Head of Reserves in the Ministry of Defence. Prior to this role, he commanded British Forces in Afghanistan, built and led a multi-national force in Kabul, commanded a UK region, acted as deputy commander of Task Force Helmand and led a British Battle Group in Iraq.
Rear Admiral (Rtd) Simon Williams CB CVO CCMI
Simon has a wide ranging operational, planning and policy background from the Royal Navy, Royal Household and central UK MOD posts. He has a wealth of senior experience in MOD and Navy personnel and training policy and delivery, ranging from setting Tri-Service Personnel and Training Policy as an Assistant Chief of Defence Staff in the MOD including the talent management of senior officers in the joint environment.
He also worked for HM The Queen as her Defence Services Secretary in the Royal Household, managing the link between the Armed Forces and the Royal Family. In his final post as Naval Secretary and Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Personnel) he assumed most of the people-specific responsibilities for the Royal Navy previously held by the Second Sea Lord, manning new aircraft carriers and the F35 while reducing HQ staff. As Flag Officer Reserves he successfully grew numbers and integrated Royal Navy and Royal Marines reservists with regular service as part of a refreshed whole force approach.
Commodore David Wolfe FCMI RN (Rtd)
David Wolfe is a Chief Executive level leader with global experience as a senior officer in the Royal Navy, including major warship command. Former NATO lead on relations with Africa Union and British Defence Attaché to Spain. Managed teams of several hundred, operating budgets of £25m and assets worth £120m. Bilingual English and Spanish.