Coronavirus firefighter official brought in to head up Ministry of Defence

Danielle Sheridan
·2 min read
David Williams announced as new Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence
David Williams announced as new Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence

A coronavirus firefighter official has been brought in to head up the Ministry of Defence.

David Williams, who was appointed Second Permanent Secretary in the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) for the duration of the coronavirus situation in March 2020, took up the position as Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence last week.

Mr Williams has replaced Sir Stephen Lovegrove, who was picked by Boris Johnson to replace Lord David Frost as the next National Security Adviser.

Mr Williams spent six years at the DHSC, previously serving as Director General, Finance and Operations where he was responsible for DHSC and NHS finance, strategy and system oversight.

From 2012 to 2015 he was Director General, Finance at the MOD where his portfolio covered defence planning and programming, financial management and investment proposals and accountability frameworks.

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said Mr Williams “brings a wealth of experience from across Government and rejoins the department at an exciting time”.

He said that “following last year’s record multi-year settlement" and publication of the "Defence Command Paper", there is much to do to fulfil the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves. I’m confident David will lead the department to achieve those ambitions.”

Mr Williams said he was “pleased to be returning to the Ministry of Defence, where I started my civil service career” and that he looked forward “to take forward the Government’s plans” following the recent Integrated Review and Command Paper.

However, Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, said Mr Williams was a “seasoned and canny civil servant who will have no illusions about the financial challenges ahead”. However, she cautioned that “as with all Permanent Secretaries at the MoD he faces the challenge that there is more to do than is affordable and even with the review some tough decisions ahead”.