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Derek Powles

Commander, Royal Navy
Assistant Naval Attaché

British Naval Staff

Washington, D.C.

Joining the Royal Navy in September 1990 as a University Cadet Entry he completed initial officer training at BRNC before gaining his Masters in Engineering at the University of Surrey in 1995. Following SEMC in HMS SULTAN and AMEO time in HMS LANCASTER, his first appointment was in May 1996 to HMS RICHMOND as DMEO.

A short 12 month shore appointment in FOSF(HQ) on the Small Ship Desk followed before returning to sea, joining HMS SCOTT as the Engineer Officer in December 1999. Following numerous Survey periods in the Indian Ocean and North Atlantic, a major refit in Portsmouth and a successful OST period he joined the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training (South) (FOST(S)) for the first time in March 2003. As Staff Damage Control Officer 6 he had responsibility for delivery of mobile Continuation Training to all RN/RFA Platforms before promotion to Lieutenant Commander in September 2004.

Returning to HMS RICHMOND as MEO in March 2005 he assumed role as Senior Naval Officer as she entered dry dock for a major Upkeep Period. He remained throughout the complete force regeneration cycle and deployment to the Gulf on OP KIPION before departing in September 2007 and moving to Maritime Commissioning, Trials and Assessment. As one of three Trials Officers within the Marine Trials Assessment Unit he was responsible for providing assurance of pre and post Refit machinery trials of all RN Platforms from MCMVs, T23, T42, CVS, and overseeing the build and entry into Service of the first two T45’s from Scotstoun. He then served as the Deputy Staff Marine Engineer Officer (DSMEO) on the staff of the Portsmouth Flotilla from February 2010 to March 2012.

His first Joint appointment followed on a 7-month OP TOUR to Afghanistan as part of OP HERRICK, serving as SO2 Operations and Deployment (O&D) on the staff of the UK National Contingent Commander (UKNCC). In this role he was responsible for the oversight of all UK tri-service posts embedded within HQ ISAF organisations. On his return to the UK he was appointed in October 2012 to NCHQ as Second Sea Lord’s Risk Manager working for Commodore Naval Personnel Strategy.

Following Advanced Command and Staff Course (ACSC) he was promoted Commander in September 2015 and appointed to the Queen Elizabeth Carrier Project within Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). As the MOD representative within the Aircraft Carrier Alliance he was responsible for acceptance of Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) and the development of the QEC support philosophy, gaining an insight into the commercial and financial realities of Capability Acquisition. During this appointment he assumed the role as Marine Systems Design Authority within the newly created QEC Strategic Class Authority, adapting and implementing the new Common Support Model policy and procedures for the safety and availability of the QEC class and through life management of Design Intent.

Returning to MCTA in July 2018 as head of Marine Systems for a short 10 month period before Professional Command selection and returning to FOST(S) as Staff Marine Engineer Officer in May 2019. A challenging assignment delivering world class operational sea training, including for First of Class HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and coalition warships ahead of CSG21, delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Aug 2021 he took up the 3 year assignment as Assistant Naval Attaché in the British Embassy, Washington, D.C. with both representational duties and oversight for wider RN to USN and USCG collaboration.

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