Our governance

Defence Board

The Defence Board is chaired by the Secretary of State and is responsible for top level leadership and management across defence. The Defence Board is the highest committee in the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It is responsible for the full range of defence business, other than the conduct of operations.

The Defence Board is responsible for the Defence Vision, which is: ‘To defend the United Kingdom and its interests, strengthen international peace and stability, and act as a force for good in the world’. In order to achieve this vision the Defence Board is responsible for pursuing 3 high level departmental objectives, namely:

  • achieve success in the military tasks we undertake, at home and abroad
  • be ready to respond to tasks that might arise
  • build for the future

In pursuit of these high level objectives the Defence Board’s core tasks are:

  • to help define and articulate the department’s strategic direction, and provide a clear vision and set of values for defence
  • to establish the main priorities and defence capabilities needed to achieve the strategy
  • to ensure that defence priorities and tasks are appropriately resourced
  • to manage corporate performance and resources in-year to achieve the required results

The members of the Defence Board are:

Defence Council

The Defence Council is a formal body, with almost all of its work conducted by the Defence Board. The Secretary of State is the most senior individual in the Defence Council, which comprises of other Defence ministers, the Permanent Secretary, the Chief of Defence Staff, senior service officers and senior officials who head the armed services and the department’s major corporate functions.

It provides the formal legal basis for the conduct of defence in the UK through a range of powers vested in it by statute and Letters Patent. 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.

The members of the Defence Council are:

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee (ExCo) provides top level leadership across defence, as a Department of State, by:

  • owning the operating model of defence and managing its risks
  • agreeing plans for delivery of defence objectives
  • ensuring coherence
  • leading transformation

The ExCo meets fortnightly and includes the Head Office Directors General. It considers the major managerial and strategic policy issues impacting the MOD, at a more delivery focussed level than the Defence Board or Defence Strategy Group. This focus on delivery means that ExCo papers are concise, with targeted questions for discussion and a clear sense of next steps. All ExCo papers include a coversheet to help funnel the discussion towards useful outcomes. The ExCo is supported by 2 committees; the Finance Committee and the Corporate Services Committee.

The attendees are:

  • Permanent Secretary (Chair)
  • Chief of the Defence Staff (co-chair)
  • Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (co-chair)
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Chief of Defence People
  • Chief Scientific Adviser
  • Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Military Capability)
  • Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Military Strategy and Operations)
  • Director General Finance
  • Director General Nuclear
  • Director General Security Policy
  • Director General Strategy and International