Catalogue description Ministry of Defence: Defence Secretariat Branches and their Predecessors: Registered Files

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Details of DEFE 24
Reference: DEFE 24
Title: Ministry of Defence: Defence Secretariat Branches and their Predecessors: Registered Files

Registered files of the Defence Secretariat established in 1964 to co-ordinate the work of the service departments of the new, unified Ministry of Defence. As a result, the files reflect all the various aspects of the new ministry's work, including the defence programme, research and development and policy.

Date: 1952-2009

The files within this series are arranged in file number order within each transfer.

Please note that piece numbers 1977-2085 were not allocated at the time of the release of piece 2086 in August 2009.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in The National Archives: DS file series
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 3741 file(s)
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

From 1992 Ministry of Defence

Accruals: Series is accruing.
Administrative / biographical background:

The Defence Secretariat was formed partly from the pre-1964 central administrative divisions of the Ministry of Defence and partly by the direct transfer of some branches from the Admiralty, War Office and Air Ministry.

Most of the new, unified ministry was organised on a joint rather than an integrated or functional basis in that sections of the naval, general (army) and air staffs with similar responsibilities remained separate within their own departments but were brought together in joint committees. The consequent co-ordinating role was performed by the Defence Secretariat which acted as the nerve centre of the whole ministry.

Initially, it was organised under a second permanent under secretary with three deputy under secretaries of state, responsible for programmes and budget, policy and administration, respectively. Below them were ten assistant under secretaries of state and subjects covered included the defence programme and budget, research and development, advice and aid to the naval, general and air staffs, policy, matériel (equipment), and general functions such as press and public relations.

In 1968, as a reflection of the change from three single-service ministers of state to two functional ministers, the Defence Secretariat was re-organised under two, new, second permanent under secretaries of state for administration and equipment. The number of deputy under secretaries was increased to five and they were responsible for personnel and logistics, policy and programmes, civilian management, finance and equipment.

The re-organisation of the Ministry of Defence on 2 January 1985 ended the Defence Secretariat as such, although its functions continued to be carried out by several directorates in the new Office of Management and Budget.

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