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John Gower

Former Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Nuclear, Chemical, Biological) in the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence

Rear Admiral John Gower, CB OBE served in his last appointment, until his retirement from active service in December 2014, as Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Nuclear, Chemical, Biological) in the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence. Previously, he had spent half his 36-yr military career at sea, culminating in the sequential command of two operational and globally deployed submarines, the first being the most advanced and last diesel submarine in the Royal Navy (HMS UNICORN) and the second a Trafalgar class SSN (HMS TRAFALGAR).  He then spent 17 years ashore mostly in the MoD in London increasingly specialising in UK nuclear weapon and counter-CBRN policy but also with time in Washington DC as the Assistant Naval Attaché and the UK Defence Academy.   He had a key leadership role the UK contribution to the international activity between 2011 and 2014 to counter the threat of Syria’s CW programme culminating in its successful removal and destruction.  With very close ties to US and French nuclear and counter-CBRN operators and policy makers, he also represented the UK in senior NATO nuclear and counter-WMD committees.  Concentrating on the very real 21st century issues of continuing nuclear and CBR non-proliferation activity whilst securing strategic stability through coherent deterrence, he has been a speaker at several USSTRATCOM Deterrence Symposia, the 2015 Carnegie Endowment Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington DC, at the NATO Defence College in Rome and the Royal United Services Institute and the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He writes on his specialist issues and participates in strategic dialogues wherever he can add value and is a Consulting Member of the IISS.  He has significant experience in strategic planning and risk management.

Content by John Gower


Successor SSBN: a Necessary Strategic Decision for the UK Parliament

John Gower argues that in an era of strategic uncertainty the UK Parliament must act and approve the main investment decision necessary to renew the UK's nuclear deterrent. Numerous reviews support its validity and it remains a significant pillar of the western security system.

11 July 2016 | John Gower
Euro-Atlantic Security|Global Security