Ministerial role

Minister of State for the Armed Forces


The minister is responsible for the armed forces, including: operations, operational policy, operational legal matters, training and force generation.

Priority areas:

  • force generation, including ‘military productivity’
  • armed forces operations
  • overseas military capacity building
  • military support to the civil authorities

Other responsibilities include:

  • deputise for the Secretary of State
  • Defence Board member
  • cyber
  • overseas military capacity building
  • Permanent Joint Operating Bases and Overseas Territories
  • defence relations with Africa and South America

Current role holder: Mark Francois

Mark Francois was elected Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford in 2001.


Mark was born in Islington in 1965 and moved to Basildon in Essex in 1971. He now lives in Rayleigh.

He studied history at Bristol University and War Studies at King’s College, London. He served as an infantry officer in the Territorial Army, including with the local Royal Anglian Regiment, in the 1980s.

Political career

  • Member of Basildon District Council, 1991 and served as the Vice-Chairman of the Housing Committee, 1992 to1995
  • MP for Rayleigh, June 2001 to present
  • Opposition Whips’ office with departmental responsibility for home affairs, health and education, 2002 to 2004
  • Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, 2004 to 2005, and Shadow Paymaster General, 2005
  • Shadow Minister for Europe 2007, and member of the Shadow Cabinet, 2009
  • Vice Chamberlain of Her Majesty’s Household, a senior position in the Government Whips Office, 2010
  • Member of the Privy Council, 2010
  • Minister of State for the Armed Forces in October 2013

Career outside politics

Before becoming an MP, Mark worked in banking and as a self-employed consultant. In 1988 he joined lobbying company Market Access International, leaving as a director in 1996 to set up his own lobbying firm Francois Associates.

Personal life

Mark enjoys reading, hill walking and history, particularly military history.

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon Andrew Robathan

    • 2012 to 2013
  2. Sir Nick Harvey

    • 2010 to 2012


  1. Piracy off the coast of Somalia

    • 12 December 2012


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    • 13 March 2015
    • Speech
  2. Vodafone pledges support for Armed Forces Covenant

    • 12 March 2015
    • News story
  3. NGO Military Contact Group conference 2015

    • 3 March 2015
    • Speech
  4. Minister for the Armed Forces talks civil-military relations

    • 26 February 2015
    • News story
  5. Armed Forces Minister meets troops deploying to Sierra Leone

    • 14 January 2015
    • News story
  6. British reservists prepare to join fight against Ebola

    • 11 December 2014
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  7. Foreign Secretary visits Sierra Leone to visit next phase of UK Ebola response

    • 12 November 2014
    • Press release
  8. First British Ebola treatment facility opens in Sierra Leone

    • 5 November 2014
    • Press release
  9. Troops prepare for Sierra Leone Ebola duty

    • 7 October 2014
    • News story
  10. UK treatment centre to tackle Ebola in Sierra Leone

    • 11 September 2014
    • Press release