Dr Walker OBE was Head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Arms Control and Disarmament Research Unit (ACDRU) from December 2014 to May 2020 when he retired from the FCO. He joined ACDRU in March 1985. John’s main focus was on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism for investigating allegations of CBW use. In addition, his work also included UK nuclear weapons and arms control history and nuclear disarmament verification. John served as joint Task Leader for the On-Site Inspection Operational Manual in the CTBT Organisation’s Working Group B in Vienna; and covered on-site inspection issues for the UK delegation at Working Group B from 2002-2020.
John worked on the CWC negotiations for much of his early years in the FCO 1985-1992. He was a member of the UK delegation at six BTWC Review Conferences, four CWC Review Conferences, CWC Preparatory Commission Working Group B Expert Group meetings on verification issues 1993-1997, the BTWC’s verification experts’ meetings (VEREX) 1992-93, the BTWC Special Conference 1994, the BTWC Ad Hoc Group 1995-2001, and at most BTWC intersessional meetings 2003-2019. John was also closely involved in the FCO’s work on UNSCOM in the early 1990s and the UK/US/Russia BW trilateral process 1993-1996.
John participated in seventy on-site inspection exercises in the UK and overseas at a broad range of military and civil sites for the CWC, BTWC, Ottawa Convention, nuclear disarmament verification and the CTBT. In these exercises he played all the key roles such as Chief Inspector, Chief Escort, joint exercise control director, Requesting State Observer and Head of the External Evaluation teams.
John obtained his PhD (British Attitudes to Nuclear Proliferation 1952-82) at the University of Edinburgh in 1987. In 2020, John was awarded Order of the British Empire for his services to British foreign policy.