National Security Adviser (United Kingdom)

The National Security Adviser (NSA) is a senior official in the Cabinet Office, based in Whitehall who serves as the chief adviser to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Cabinet of the United Kingdom on national security issues. The NSA post was created in May 2010 as part of the reforms that also saw the creation of the National Security Council.[1] There have been four holders of the office to date, of whom two served more than two years in the post.[2]

National Security Adviser
of the United Kingdom
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Mark Sedwill.jpg
Sir Mark Sedwill

since 13 April 2017
Cabinet Office
National Security Staff
Reports toThe Prime Minister
AppointerThe Prime Minister
First holderSir Peter Ricketts
DeputyDeputy National Security Adviser

The NSA is secretary to the National Security Council, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, and head of National Security and Intelligence (National Security Secretariat), which is part of the Cabinet Office.[3] The NSA will also advise Secretaries of State and other government ministers on issues of national security when necessary. The NSA was the Senior Responsible Officer for the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, with a budget of over £1 billion.[4] This role has been passed to the Deputy National Security Adviser.[5]

The first National Security Adviser (NSA) of the United Kingdom was Sir Peter Ricketts,[6] who was previously Permanent Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. He handed over to Sir Kim Darroch in January 2012. On 7 July 2015, it was announced that Sir Mark Lyall Grant would replace Darroch as National Security Adviser in early September 2015.[7] Mark Sedwill assumed the role in April 2017.

It was announced in June 2020 that Mark Sedwill will step down from his role as NSA in September, and that current chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, will take over.[8]

The NSA is supported by at least two Deputy National Security Advisers.[9][10]

List of National Security AdvisersEdit

# Name Term of Office Prime Minister(s)
served under
Start End
1 Sir Peter Ricketts 12 May 2010 23 January 2012 David Cameron
2 Sir Kim Darroch 23 January 2012 7 September 2015
3 Sir Mark Lyall Grant 7 September 2015 April 2017
David Cameron
Theresa May
4 Sir Mark Sedwill April 2017 Present Theresa May
Boris Johnson


  1. ^ Joe Devanny and Josh Harris (4 November 2014). "The National Security Council: national security at the centre of government". Institute for Government/King's College London.
  2. ^ Joe Devanny (3 March 2017). "Why the UK needs a better process for appointing national security advisers". Civil Service World.
  3. ^ "About - National security and intelligence". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  4. ^ Conflict, Stability and Security Fund: Annual Report 2016/17 (PDF) (Report). July 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  5. ^ Conflict, Stability and Security Fund: Annual Report 2017/18 (PDF) (Report). 18 July 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Cabinet Office Structure Charts, page 12" (PDF). Cabinet Office HM Government. May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 5, 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  7. ^ "National Security Adviser appointment: Sir Mark Lyall-Grant". Cabinet Office HM Government. July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  8. ^ "UK's top civil servant announces exit". BBC News. 2020-06-28. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  9. ^ "David Quarrey". 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser and Deputy National Security Adviser David Quarrey CMG
  10. ^ "Sir Mark Sedwill: UK's top civil servant steps down" (PDF). 28 June 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.

External linksEdit