Deputy Head Policy Advisor

Ministry of Defence

London, UK

Application Deadline

Building, maintaining and utilising loadbearing relationships with European Allies and partners is vital for the successful delivery of His Majesty’s Government’s Euro-Atlantic defence and security objectives, and is central to two of the top defence priorities. Working closely with partners across Government, and broadly within Defence, you will ensure that the UK continues to play a leading role in the international response to Ukraine and maintains its position as the leading European Ally in NATO.

As joint Deputy Heads, you would be the policy lead for building, maintaining and utilising loadbearing relationships with 39 Allies (from Canada to Turkey, the Arctic to the Mediterranean), and for minilateral groupings such as the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) and the Northern Group.

Some work from home is possible, but access to highly classified information is required on a regular basis so most of the working week is based in Main Building.


This is an exciting opportunity within the Indo-Pacific unit, which sits within the International Security Directorate at the heart of the Ministry of Defence. We are responsible for defence and security policy across a region that is politically, geographically, economically and demographically diverse. You will lead and shape defence policy on the Indo-Pacific, following the Integrated Review Refresh direction for the UK to put our ‘tilt’ to the Indo-Pacific on a long-term strategic footing.

This is a stretching and rewarding role for a candidate interested to work in defence diplomacy, and enthusiastic about growing the UK’s bilateral relationships with key partners, in an area of rapidly increasing strategic interest to the UK. You will have the opportunity to lead a friendly, motivated and supportive team of Assistant Heads and desk officers, working together to evolve new long-term defence, industrial and technological partnerships, deepening the UK’s ties to support security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. We also support the capability development of these nations, building their capacity to manage terrorist threats, working with them to maintain maritime security and championing freedom, openness and the rule of law.

You will build on excellent skills in working across departments (especially FCDO, DIT and Cabinet Office), and close working with our overseas network of defence attaches, as well as international defence attaches based here in the UK. You will draw on these international relationships to deliver UK defence policy priorities in the Indo-Pacific region. You will have regular exposure to senior military, civil servants and Ministers, including supporting the team to design and deliver international visits, as well as briefings on hot topic and critical issues.

This position is advertised at 37 hours per week.

Job description

Key responsibilities include:

  • Owning and developing regional, bilateral and thematic policy and strategy relating to European/Indo-Pacific defence and security within the context of IR2023.
  • Leadership of four sub-regional joint civilian and military teams, totalling around 30 staff. You will play a central role in setting the tone and culture within EURC/Indo-Pacific, ensuring that the team have the safe, supportive environment needed for them to deliver to the best of their ability. You will be responsible for the accuracy and quality of the team’s outputs; you have a key role in maintaining the high standards Ministers expect.
  • Delivery of regular advice to Ministers and other seniors in support of extensive engagement with European/Indo-Pacific Allies and partners, bilaterally, multilaterally and in bespoke small groupings.
  • (Europe) Day to day policy leadership of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), Northern Group, and policy responsibility for thematic issues affecting the Arctic and High North region.
  • (Indo-Pacific) Day to day policy leadership of AUKUS strategic implications for the region, and delivery of China policy in the region, in support of the SPO China Team.
  • Day to day leadership of Defence’s strategic relationships, supporting the delivery of our critical industrial and capability partnerships in addition to managing the Defence Policy and Military relationships on behalf of the Secretary of State. This involves regularly deputising for Director Euro Atlantic Security/Director International Security across Whitehall, as well as developing key international relationships.
  • (Europe) Playing a major supporting role in the Department’s response to Russian aggression towards Ukraine. You will be responsible for delivering campaign effects through our partnerships, identifying pursuing, and delivering opportunities for cooperation
  • (Europe) Playing a key role in the Departments ongoing efforts in NATO. You will be responsible for ensuring that our priority efforts in Brussels are supported by engagement between Capitals.
  • The Head Office Review is a critical opportunity for Security Policy & Operations; you will ensure that the team is best placed to effectively support key campaigns on behalf of the Defence Secretary.
  • (Europe) Financial management of the Defence Assistance Fund (North) allocations, and oversight of CSSF programmes in the Western Balkans.

Person specification

Skills and Experience:

Candidates should be able to demonstrate an ability to lead and manage high performing teams through change, deliver high-profile security and Defence policy in operational and strategic circumstances, and work with a range of HMG and international stakeholders.

You will be flexible, dynamic and proactive with excellent communication, diplomatic and influencing skills and the ability to work with Ministers, senior military and civilian staff in a fast moving, high profile and demanding environment.

A comprehensive understanding of Defence is essential. The ideal candidates will have experience of defence policy, military operations, military capability, and Defence industry.

A tangible commitment to team development and demonstrated personal drive to support diversity and inclusion is essential.

Experience of working directly with European/Indo-Pacific partners is desirable, either overseas or from Whitehall. Experience of crisis management and evidence of personal resilience is desirable.

Location: The roles are all based in London (Main Building). Due to the nature of the role, office working is required (with an expectation of three days a week in the office) however there is some scope for working from home. Flexible working is encouraged. There are often opportunities for international travel to the nations within your area of responsibility.

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 11th June 2023

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