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Organisation: How the Royal Navy is Managed

MoD and Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is a Department of State, headed by the Secretary of State for Defence (SofS) who creates Defence Policy and plans the spending of the Defence Budget. The MoD is the highest level of headquarters for the Armed Forces, both Administrative and Operational. All major issues of policy are referred to the SofS or to one of his three Ministerial colleagues:

Minister for the Armed Forces Min (AF) responsible for Operational and Policy Issues.

Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support responsible for Defence Equipment and Support Issues.

Under Secretary of State for Defence (USofS) Responsible for Personnel, Estate Matters and Veterans Issues. Under the Defence Council management of the Services is the responsibility of the Service Boards, in the case of the Royal Navy the Admiralty Board.

Admiralty Board

The Admiralty Board is chaired by the SofS, and its members include: Min (AF), Min (DP), USofS, First Sea Lord, Commander-in-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET), Second Sea Lord (2SL), Commander in Chief Naval Home Command (CNH), Naval Member for Logistics (NML), Controller of the Navy (CofN), Second Permanent Under Secretary of State for Defence (2ndPUS), Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (ACNS).

The Admiralty Board meets formally twice a year.

Chiefs of Staff Committee

As a member of the Chiefs Of Staff (COS) committee, the First Sea Lord advises the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on maritime strategy and policy. Other members are the Chief of the General Staff of the British Army and the Chief of the Air Staff of the Royal Air Force.

First Sea Lord

The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff known as 1SL, is the professional head of the Royal Navy and is responsible to the Secretary of State for Defence for the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Naval Service.

Navy Board

The Navy Board (NAVB) is the Service Executive Committee of the Admiralty Board.  It is responsible for assisting the 1st Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff (1SL/CNS) as Head of Service, and member of the Defence Board and Chiefs of Staff Committee; and has a statutory role as the Service Executive Committee to provide a strategic policy focus for the Naval Service.  This includes:

Assisting 1SL/CNS in discharging his executive responsibilities for the delivery of coherent military capability; the current and future fighting effectiveness and efficiency of the Royal Navy; and the morale of the Service.

Assisting 1SL/CNS as a member of the Defence Board and Chiefs of Staff Committee in the discharge of his executive responsibility for the collective decisions taken in those groups.

On behalf of the Admiralty Board, to exercise command and administration of the Service, disposing of all such matters that can be settled within its discretion, and making recommendations to the Admiralty Board where matters are remitted for consideration/decision.
1SL/CNS is supported in the discharge of his responsibilities as Budget Holder for the RN Top Level Budget by means of a separate Committee structure based in Navy Command Headquarters.

The NAVB is chaired by 1SL/CNS and comprises: 

First Sea Lord

The First Sea Lord is individually accountable for the delivery of military capability generated by the Navy, the fighting effectiveness and efficiency of the the forces in being and the morale of his personnel. He is the chairman of the Navy Board.

Commander in Chief Fleet

The purpose of CINCFLEET is to provide ships, submarines and aircraft ready for any operations that the Government requires. This is done by preparing and operating Fleet units to a level of readiness as required by the Defence Strategic Plan.

2nd Sea Lord (Principal Personnel Officer)

The Second Sea Lord is Naval Service's Principal Personnel Officer. He has responsibility for maintaining operational capability by providing the correctly trained manpower. He is also Commander in Chief Naval Home Command responsible for all non DLO naval real estate.

Naval Member for Logistics

The NML has two major roles. As Deputy Chief Executive of the Warship Support Agency (WSA) he is responsible to the WSA's support to ships, submarines and the three naval bases. As NML he provides logistical support to naval aircraft and certain areas of the Royal Marines, as well as all aspects of the defence supply chain.

Controller of the Navy (Capability Manager (Precision Attack))

The Controller of the Navy is responsible for reporting to the Board on Royal Naval procurement and safety issues. He is also a Director of the Defence Logistics Organisation in his role as Director General (Nuclear).

The Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (ACNS)

The Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff's primary aim is to lead the naval staff effort to drive forward naval policy towards a future Navy. In doing so he acts as the First Sea Lord's Chief Executive and on his behalf to direct the implementation of Admiralty Board and Service Executive Committee (Navy Board) policy, providing the high level guidance and prioritisation needed by the Naval Commands (TLBs) to deliver their military outputs.

2nd Permanent Secretary

The 2nd Permanent Secretary is the sole civil service member of the board and formally he is designated as the secretary. He adds a wider departmental MoD view to any discussions held.

Non-Executive Director (Policy)

Meetings also include: Executive Assistant to 1SL; Deputy Director Naval Staff (Minuting Secretary); Assistant Director of Defence Public Relations (Navy); and other officials and advisers as required.

The NAVB meets seven times a year, or additionally as required by 1SL/CNS. The agenda will be driven by the need for timely input of the Royal Navy perspective into Defence business and the priorities identified by NAVB, drawing on supporting staffs as appropriate.  It provides strategic direction for future work, either through the auspices of ACNS or the responsible business owners as appropriate. 

Naval Strategic Advisory Group.

The Naval Strategic Advisory Group considers strategic and pan Navy policy issues. It takes executive decisions where such issues can be resolved without reference to the Navy Board. The Naval Strategic Advisory Group is chaired by the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (ACNS) with the NAVB members' deputies; Deputy Commander in Chief Fleet (DCINCFLEET), COS(P&S), Chief of the Strategic Systems Executive (CSSE), Capability Manager (Strategic Deployment CM(SD) and Director General Resources and Plans (DGRP).