Board member and Permanent Secretary

David Williams


David Williams was appointed as MOD Permanent Secretary in April 2021.

David Williams was appointed Second Permanent Secretary for the duration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in March 2020.

David was appointed as Director General of Finance at the Department of Health on 16 March 2015. The role became Director General of Finance and Group Operations in July 2016.

Previously he was Director General of Finance at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) where he has held a number of senior posts including:

  • Director Financial Management
  • Director Equipment Resources
  • Director Financial Planning & Security

Board member

Civil Service Board

Permanent Secretary

The Permanent Secretary is the government’s principal civilian adviser on defence, has primary responsibility for policy, finance and planning, and is the Departmental Accounting Officer. He or she reports to the Head of the Civil Service and is a member of the Defence Council, and the Defence Board. He or she co-chairs, with Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), the Defence Strategy Group.


The Permanent Secretary’s responsibilities include:

  • leading defence (with CDS)
  • setting strategy for defence, including corporate strategy (subject to ministers’ direction, and together with CDS)
  • heading the Department of State and the MOD Civil Service
  • providing policy advice to ministers and leading the relationship with other government departments;
  • the overall organisation, management and staffing of defence
  • performing the full range of Accounting Officer responsibilities, including the delegation of financial and other authority and accountability to senior colleagues, with personal accountability to Parliament for the economic, efficient and effective use of defence resources

Ministry of Defence

Previous roles in government

  • Second Permanent Secretary
  • Director General, Finance and Group Operations
  • Director General Finance