David Williams, second permanent secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care, has been appointed the next perm sec at the Ministry of Defence.
Williams will replace Sir Stephen Lovegrove as head of the ministry when Lovegrove becomes national security adviser next month.
He returns to the MoD, where he spent three years as a director general, after six years at DHSC. As the ministry’s finance DG, he oversaw defence planning and programming, financial management and investment proposals and accountability frameworks.
Before that he held several director roles, working on financial management, equipment resources and financial planning and security.
Williams moved to DHSC in 2015 to become director general, finance and operations, and was named second perm sec in the department in March 2020 "for the duration of the coronavirus situation".
Shona Dunn, the second perm sec at the Home Office, will take over his post at DHSC.
Cabinet secretary Simon Case said Williams’s appointment was “great news for the Ministry of Defence”.
“David brings to the role a wealth of leadership experience from his time at DHSC, along with a deep understanding of the MoD from his previous roles in the department.”
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said he was pleased to welcome Williams back to the department.
“David brings a wealth of experience from across government and rejoins the department at an exciting time. Following last year’s record multi-year settlement, and this week’s 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,” he said.
Williams also noted there was “lots to do”, also mentioning the publication of the integrated review earlier this month.
“I am really pleased to be returning to the Ministry of Defence, where I started my civil service career, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones,” he said.