Chief of Defence Nuclear

Madelaine McTernan CB


Maddy is Chief of Defence Nuclear at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In between December 2020 and September 2022, she was Director General of the Vaccine Taskforce (VTF), a joint unit of BEIS and DHSC, responsible for securing COVID-19 vaccines for the UK. She was made Companion of the Order of Bath in 2022 for her work on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before her appointment as Director General in December 2020, Maddy was the lead negotiator for the VTF. Maddy was also Director General for the Energy Supply Taskforce in BEIS between August and December 2022. Prior to this, Maddy was a Director at UK Government Investments (UKGI) and a non-executive director of UK Export Finance.

Before joining the public sector, Maddy was a Managing Director and Head of UK Mergers and Acquisitions at the investment bank Credit Suisse. She is also a qualified lawyer, having studied law at Trinity College Cambridge and qualifying at Freshfields.

Maddy was an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Finance at Cass Business School between 2013 and 2016. She holds an honorary doctorate from Nottingham Trent University.

Chief of Defence Nuclear

The Chief of Defence Nuclear is responsible for leading the Defence Nuclear Organisation, which acts as the focal point and sponsor for the Defence Nuclear Enterprise, from strategy to delivery. The principal function of Defence Nuclear is to support the delivery of the continuous at sea deterrent (CASD) keeping safe and capable submarines at sea today and in the future providing the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent and supporting global security.


• coordination of nuclear policies and strategies across the enterprise and supporting national level decision making on nuclear related matters

• sponsor for the Submarine Delivery Agency

• supporting ministerial engagement with Parliament, the public, and the media on the nuclear deterrent and the wider nuclear enterprise

• management of the nuclear equipment programme

• engagement with US and French government bodies and agencies on nuclear cooperation

Ministry of Defence and Defence Nuclear Organisation

Previous roles in government

  • Director General, Energy Supply Taskforce
  • Director General, Vaccine Taskforce
  • UK Government Investments representative on the Board
  • Director, UK Government Investments