Deputy Head Policy Advisor

Ministry of Defence

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



Reference number



Posts based in London will attract the relevant London weighting.

Job grade

Grade 6

Contract type


Business area

MOD - Head Office & Corporate Services

Type of role


Working pattern


Number of jobs available



MOD Main Building

Job summary

Europe and Canada:

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.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Leadership
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

External recruits who join the MOD who are new to the Civil Service will be subject to a six-month probation period.

This post does not offer any assistance with relocation allowances. 

Please be advised that the Department is conducting a review of all pay related allowances which could impact on those allowances that the post currently being advertised attracts. 

Any move to MOD from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax-Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at   

Please note: Interview travel expenses will not be reimbursed.

Posts based in London will attract the relevant London weighting

The Ministry of Defence is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for its staff which includes educating them on the benefits of not smoking, protecting them from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and supporting those who want to give up smoking. Under the Smoke-Free Working Environment policy, Smoking and the use of all tobacco products (including combustible and chewing tobacco products) will not be permitted anywhere in the Defence working environment by 31st December 2022. The policy is Whole Force and includes all Defence personnel, contractors, visitors and other non-MOD personnel. All applicants seeking, considering, or accepting employment with the Ministry of Defence should be aware of this policy and that it is already in place at a number of Defence Establishments.

MOD Recruitment Satisfaction Survey – we may contact you regarding your experience to help us improve our customer satisfaction. The survey is voluntary and anonymous. You may however be given the opportunity to provide additional information to help us improve our service which includes the collection of some personal data as defined by the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). The MOD Privacy Notice sets out how we will use your personal data and your rights.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.

We will assess you against these behaviours during the sift and selection process:

  • Leadership
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions

Candidates will be required to submit a CV (no more than two pages) and 500 word supporting statement on the application form giving details of previous experience and skills relating to the job description.

In the event of a high quantity of candidates we will be using Leadership as the lead behaviour at Sift. 

‘Sift will take place w/c 12th June with interviews in w/c 26th June – 10th July.

Should candidates be assessed to be over the line for Grade 6 but do not make the top two candidates, they will be placed on a reserve list for 12 months and may be offered alternative roles with the MOD at Grade 6,

Candidates applying on promotion who do not meet the required standard may be offered alternative roles within MOD at their current grade.

Security Clearance

Please note that the successful applicant will need to hold Developed Vetting level security clearance. The position is reserved for UK nationals only.

Working for the Civil Service 

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria 

Reserve list 

Strong candidates if unsuccessful for this post may still be considered for other similar roles. A reserve list will be held for 12 months and reserve candidates may be contacted about similar roles during this time.  

If any applicant is not found appointable at the advertised grade, but the panel considers them suitable for a similar role at a lower grade, they may be asked if they wish to be added to a reserve list for roles that may become available in the organisation at the lower grade. 

Inclusivity & Flexibility 

We want our team to be able to balance home and work responsibilities.  Many of our team members already work flexibly through hybrid working (blend of office based and home working), compressed hours and part time patterns. We fully recognise the benefits that flexible working brings to the organisation in terms of improved morale, increased productivity and the general wellbeing of the team. Roles can be considered on flexible / full time / part time / job share basis. However, due to the nature of SPO outputs, some roles may not be deliverable via all working patterns.  


These posts are permanently located in MOD Main Building in Westminster, London. Following COVID-19, majority of our people are working in a hybrid arrangement, combining office and home working. All working arrangements are subject to business need and the level of flexibility will vary from role to role. We expect hybrid working to remain part of our future way of working, however these roles are permanently based in London (MOD Main Building) and you must be available for regular attendance in the building in accordance with business requirements. Based in London, the positions attract the relevant allowance of £3,000 per annum. 

As a result of the changes to the UK immigration rules which came into effect on 1 January 2021, the Ministry of Defence will only offer sponsorship for a skilled worker visa under the points-based system, where a role has been deemed to be business critical. The role currently being advertised has not been assessed as business critical and is therefore NOT open to applications from those who will require sponsorship under the points-based system. Should you apply for this role and be found to require sponsorship, your application will be rejected, and any provisional offer of employment withdrawn.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is developed vetting (opens in a new window).

See our vetting charter (opens in a new window).
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK nationals only.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles (opens in a new window).
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name : Rahema Begum
  • Email :
  • Telephone : 03001628523

Recruitment team

  • Email :

Further information

Please ensure you read the attached candidate information document prior to completing your application. Please refer to the attached Candidate Information guide.

Share this page