Admiral Lord West was First Sea Lord, the highest position in the Royal Navy from 2002-06. In 2007 he was asked by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to join the UK Government as Minister for Security responsible for national security and counter-terrorism as well as cyber and Olympic security.
Lord West has been closely involved in the UK National Security Strategy and has made numerous speeches on cyber security, information assurance and cyber warfare. He has been asked to speak on nuclear issues, the nuclear deterrent and nuclear proliferation and also talks about urban security and security responses in mega-cities.
Lord West spent the majority of his naval career at sea, serving in fourteen different ships and commanding three of them. He is a graduate of the Royal Naval Staff Course, the Higher Command and Staff Course and The Royal College of Defence Studies. He commanded the frigate HMS ARDENT during the Falklands War and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his part in active service.
He has held several appointments in the Ministry of Defence in the Plans, Programmes and Policy areas plus three years as head of Naval Intelligence and three years as Chief of Defence Intelligence covering the Kosovo War. He was promoted to Admiral in November 2000 when he became Commander-in-Chief Fleet, NATO Commander-in-Chief East Atlantic and NATO Commander Allied Naval Forces North.
Lord West became First Sea Lord in 2002 and led the Navy during its crucial and successful role in the initial invasion of Iraq. He retired as First Sea Lord in 2006 becoming Chairman of the QinetiQ Defence Advisory Board.
He produced the United Kingdom’s first ever National Security Strategy and Cyber Security strategy as well as formulated a series of other groundbreaking strategies for countering international terrorism and providing local government with guidance in enhancing the security of crowded places.
Lord West left the UK Government in 2010 and became chairman or strategic advisor to a number of companies, and Chancellor of Southampton Solent University.