Sunak names new national security adviser

Current NSA Tim Barrow tipped as next British ambassador to the United States
Jenkins and Sunak. Photo: PA/Alamy

By Jim Dunton

26 Apr 2024

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has appointed Gen Gwyn Jenkins as the UK's next national security adviser, replacing Sir Tim Barrow in the role from this summer.

Barrow, who has served in the post since September 2022, is reportedly Sunak's preferred choice to become British ambassador to the United States.

Jenkins, who was commissioned as a Royal Marine in 1990, is currently vice chief of the defence staff – a role which includes leading senior military judgement for the future development of the armed forces, including military capability requirements.

In addition to serving in Afghanistan at the rank of colonel, Jenkins has also been assistant chief of naval staff and spent two years as military assistant to the prime minster when David Cameron was in No.10.

Announcing his appointment as NSA, Sunak said Jenkins had a distinguished career in both the military and at the heart of government.

"I know he will make an exceptional contribution to this important role – promoting the UK’s interests and protecting our national security around the world," Sunak said.

"I would also like to thank Sir Tim Barrow for his expertise over the past few years, particularly his dedicated service to the UK’s unwavering support to Ukraine."

Cabinet secretary Simon Case added that Jenkins' experience in governnment also included a stint as deputy national security adviser.

"This experience makes him excellently placed to lead the UK’s national security system and represent our interests overseas in these challenging times for global security," he said.

Jenkins' time as a junior officer in the Royal Marines was spent in the Commando Logistics Regiment, competing for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in cross-country skiing, and on operations in Northern Ireland with 42 Commando RM.

He completed a master’s degree in defence studies in 2004 and went on to serve as a lieutenant colonel overseeing global operations at Permanent Joint Headquarters before being given a commanding officer appointment in 2009.

After taking up a civilian appointment in the Cabinet Office as deputy national security advisor for conflict, stability and defence, Jenkins moved back to the military in 2017 and took command of 3 Commando Brigade.

In 2022 he was selected for the role of vice chief of the defence staff and assumed the mantle of commandant general Royal Marines.

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