David Omand

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Professor Sir David Omand at Chatham House, September 2013 Professor Sir David Omand at Chatham House.jpg
Professor Sir David Omand at Chatham House, September 2013

Sir David Bruce Omand GCB (born 15 April 1947) [1] is a British former senior civil servant who served as the Director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) from 1996 to 1997.

The Director of the Government Communications Headquarters is the highest-ranking official in the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a British intelligence agency that specialises in signals intelligence and cryptography. The director is a Permanent Secretary, and appointed by and reports to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Government Communications Headquarters British intelligence agency

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is an intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom. Based in "The Doughnut" in the suburbs of Cheltenham, GCHQ is the responsibility of the country's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, but it is not a part of the Foreign Office and its director ranks as a Permanent Secretary.



Omand was born on 15 April 1947. His father, Bruce, was a Justice of the Peace. [1] Omand was educated at Glasgow Academy and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, receiving an economics degree.

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Corpus Christi College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It is notable as the only college founded by Cambridge townspeople: it was established in 1352 by the Guild of Corpus Christi and the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary, making it the sixth-oldest college in Cambridge. With around 250 undergraduates and 200 postgraduates, it also has the second smallest student body of the traditional colleges of the University.

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.


Omand began his career at GCHQ. [2] After working for the Ministry of Defence for a number of years, Omand was appointed Director of GCHQ from 1996 to 1997. His next post was Permanent Secretary at the Home Office.

Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) United Kingdom government department responsible for implementing the defence policy

The Ministry of Defence is the British government department responsible for implementing the defence policy set by Her Majesty's Government and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces.

Home Office United Kingdom government ministerial department

The Home Office (HO) is a ministerial department of Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for immigration, security and law and order. As such it is responsible for policing in England and Wales, fire and rescue services in England, and visas and immigration and the Security Service (MI5). It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs, counter-terrorism and ID cards. It was formerly responsible for Her Majesty's Prison Service and the National Probation Service, but these have been transferred to the Ministry of Justice. The Cabinet minister responsible for the department is the Home Secretary.

Omand was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2000 New Year Honours. [3] In 2002 he became the first Permanent Secretary and Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator in the Cabinet Office. Omand was among those who decided that David Kelly should be pursued for talking to the media about the Government's dossier on Iraq's alleged WMD. [4] Omand and Kevin Tebbit, then permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, recommended to Jack Straw and Tony Blair that John Scarlett become the new head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). [4]

Order of the Bath series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

2000 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 2000 for the United Kingdom and New Zealand were announced on 31 December 1999, to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 2000. The Honours list is a list of people who have been awarded one of the various orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom. Honours are split into classes ("orders") and are graded to distinguish different degrees of achievement or service, most medals are not graded. The awards are presented to the recipient in one of several investiture ceremonies at Buckingham Palace throughout the year by the Sovereign or her designated representative. The Prince of Wales and The Princess Royal were deputised for The Queen.

The Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator was a senior post in the British Civil Service that oversaw the intelligence services and their relationship to the government.

Omand was promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 2004 Birthday Honours. [5] He retired from the Cabinet Office in April 2005.

The Birthday Honours 2004 for the Commonwealth realms were announced on 11 June 2004 for the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and elsewhere to celebrate the Queen's Birthday of 2004.

In 2007, he obtained Maths and Physics degrees from Open University. [1]

Physics Study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy

Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion, and behavior through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

Open University distance and research university in the United Kingdom

The Open University (OU) is a public distance learning and research university, and the biggest university in the UK for undergraduate education. The majority of the OU's undergraduate students are based in the United Kingdom and principally study off-campus; many of its courses can also be studied anywhere in the world. There are also a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48-hectare university campus where they use the OU facilities for research, as well as more than 1,000 members of academic and research staff and over 2,500 administrative, operational and support staff.

In 2009 he was asked by the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, to carry out a review into the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to "satisfy ministers" that the council is "discharging the functions" that it is supposed to. [6]

On 20 January 2010, Omand gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry. [7]

In 2013 he defended the closeness of Britain's intelligence relationship with the US, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We have the brains. They have the money. It's a collaboration that's worked very well." [8]

Since leaving the government, Omand has landed jobs with several military-related companies. He has been a non-executive director at UK arms company Babcock International and Italian arms company Leonardo-Finmeccanica and has also worked as an adviser to the Society of British Aerospace Companies. [9]

Omand is currently a visiting professor at King's College London and is a vice-president of the Royal United Services Institute. [1] [10]

Personal life

Omand married Elizabeth Wales in 1971 with whom he has two children. He is a member of the Reform Club. He served a four-year term on the board of the Natural History Museum, London, starting in 2006. He remains a trustee. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Omand, Sir David (Bruce), (born 15 April 1947), Visiting Professor, King's College London, since 2006; Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, 2002–05". Who's Who. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.28884.
  2. Aldrich, David, GCHQ, Harper Press, 2010, ISBN   978-0-00-727847-3, p.495
  3. "No. 55710". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1999. p. 3.
  4. 1 2 Waugh, Paul (2 November 2005). "Key Kelly pair helped appoint MI6 chief". London Evening Standard . Retrieved 5 November 2008.
  5. "No. 57315". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2004. p. 2.
  6. Travis, Alan; Summers, Deborah (2 November 2009). "Alan Johnson orders swift review of drugs advice body". The Guardian . Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  7. "Iraq inquiry: 45-minute claim 'asking for trouble'". BBC News. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  8. "UK intelligence work defends freedom, say spy chiefs". BBC News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  9. "Resources - Influence - Person - 2614 - David Omand". CAAT. 2015-09-14. Retrieved 2017-02-18.
  10. "Editorial Team". Royal United Services Institute. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Anthony Adye
Director of GCHQ
July 1996 – December 1997
Succeeded by
Sir Kevin Tebbit
Preceded by
Sir Richard Wilson
Permanent Secretary of the Home Office
Succeeded by
Sir John Gieve