Patrick Turner

Patrick Turner is a Senior Advisor at The Cohen Group in Washington DC. He is also is a Distinguished Fellow with the Transatlantic Defense and Security Programme at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).

Patrick was the Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning at NATO from 2018 to July 2022, and was the chair of NATO’s Defence Policy and Planning Committee and its Resilience Committee. He was responsible for work to increase defence spending by Allies, improve Allies’ defence capabilities, strengthen the force structure and military posture of NATO and Allies, assure NATO’s nuclear deterrent capability, and build resilience amongst Allies. All of those lines of effort assumed even greater importance after Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

From 2015 to 2018, he was the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations, responsible for advising and supporting decision-making on NATO’s operations and missions (in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, for example) and planning and exercising for the defence of Allies. He was the chair of NATO’s Operations Policy Committee. From 2011 to 2015 he was the UK’s Deputy Ambassador to NATO. In the 1990s, he served in the Private Office of three NATO Secretaries General (Manfred Worner, Willy Claes and Javier Solana).

Patrick joined the UK Ministry of Defence in 1984 after studying history at Merton College, Oxford. He held a wide of variety of roles in the UK Civil Service, including Private Secretary to the Minister for the Armed Forces and Private Secretary to the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service at the time of Mrs Thatcher. He led a team which helped build new defence relationships between the UK and the countries of the former Warsaw Pact and the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Later, he led work to implement the 1998 UK Strategic Defence Review and was subsequently the Director of Defence Policy in the Ministry of Defence at the time of 9/11, when he led work on the UK defence response. Later, he led work on the renewal of the UK nuclear deterrent, in 2005-7, and then led a team in the Cabinet Office which produced the first UK national security strategy in 2008. From 2008-10 he was the Minister Counsellor (Defence) at the British Embassy in Washington DC.

Patrick now lives in McLean, Virginia with his family.