Assistant Secretary General for Operations

Martin Howard

2007 -

Martin Howard took up his present post as Assistant Secretary General for Operations NATO in August 2007 on secondment from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD).  In this post, Martin supports the North Atlantic Council and the Secretary General of NATO in the political direction and management of NATO’s operational commitments.

Martin Howard joined MOD in 1975.  After serving in a number of jobs connected with Naval logistics, he transferred to the fast stream programme in 1980.  Between then and 1985 he occupied posts covering RAF personnel issues, the Royal Naval Medical Service and conventional defence policy in Europe, and served as Private Secretary to the 2nd Permanent Under Secretary to both Sir Ewen Broadbent and Sir John Blelloch.

Promoted in 1985 Martin spent two years in Master General of the Ordnance Secretariat with responsibility for managing the budget for land systems.  This was followed by a tour in Resources and Programmes (Army) with responsibility for managing the Army forward programme including the annual long term costing exercise.  In 1989 he moved to Secretariat (Overseas), covering UK defence policy and commitments in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Martin was promoted to the Senior Civil Service in 1993 and was then appointed Project Director European Assistance, a new post with responsibility for developing defence contacts and links with the new democracies of Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.

In 1994 he was loaned to the Northern Ireland Office as Private Secretary to Sir Patrick Mayhew, the then Northern Ireland Secretary.  He moved from there to the Cabinet Office in 1996 as Deputy Chief of the Assessments Staff covering issues in the Middle East and Asia and international terrorism.  During this posting he was briefly seconded back to the Northern Ireland Office to assist in the final stages of the negotiations of the Belfast Agreement in 1998.

Martin then returned to the MOD as Head of Secretariat (Overseas) in December 1998 dealing with defence policy and operations outside Europe and North America and from there moved to become Director News in December 1999.

In July 2001 Martin was again promoted to Director General Corporate Communications.  In January 2003 he became the Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence and in May 2004 he became Director General Operational Policy.  He was appointed a Companion of the Bath (CB) in the 2007 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Martin is married to Caroline Delves.  They have no children.  His hobbies include classical and contemporary guitar, swimming, sailing, music and reading.