The Permanent Joint Headquarters

The PJHQ, based in Northwood, commands joint and combined military operations and provides politically aware military advice to the MOD.

The Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) is an adaptable and agile headquarters created to command joint and combined military operations.

Our organisation and responsibilities

Headed by the Chief of Joint Operations (CJO), we are responsible for:

  • planning and executing UK led joint and multinational operations
  • exercising operational command of UK Forces assigned to multinational operations led by others
  • providing policy aware military advice to the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

The CJO appointment is rotational between the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. The current incumbent is Vice Admiral Ben Key.

The Chief of Staff (Operations) (COS (Ops)) is deputy to CJO and is responsible for the planning and execution of operations.

The rest of PJHQ is organised by divisions (numbered J1 to J9). Each division is led by a senior officer or senior civil servant and is responsible for a particular area of capability.

The specific responsibilities of each division are:

  • J1: personnel
  • J2: operational intelligence
  • J3: current operations
  • J4: logistics/medical
  • J5: crisis and deliberate planning
  • J6: communication and information systems
  • J8: finance and human resources
  • J9: policy, legal and media operations

We have personnel from the 3 services and the civil service who are responsible for directing, deploying, sustaining and recovering UK joint forces. However, we are not involved the following areas:

  • strategic nuclear deterrent
  • defence of the UK home base
  • territorial waters and airspace
  • Northern Ireland
  • counter-terrorism in UK
  • NATO article V (general war)

Command and control

In addition to our main function, we also have a dedicated Command Secretariat which provides policy, legal, presentation and financial advice to CJO during an operation. Through this close relationship we are able to give politically aware military advice to the MOD central staff including ministers.

Joint Commander

CJO will normally be appointed as the Joint Commander, although Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) may appoint one of the operational Commanders-in-Chief (CINC) to act as a more senior Joint Commander if the operation is of a large scale.

In this case, CJO will act as the Deputy Joint Commander whilst still retaining the mantle of Joint Commander for other operations.

Single service advice

We have a number of dedicated single service appointments that work closely with their respective Operational Command HQs and have ready access to key members of staff and the single service deputies when required.

This complements the advice given by MOD directorates and allows full single service advice to be woven into coherent joint advice before submission to MOD central staff. Thus CDS and ministers are provided with a fully balanced assessment on all aspects of a joint operation.

Supporting commands

The 3 single service CINCs are responsible for providing forces for joint and multinational operations.