First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff

Professional head of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff (1SL/CNS) is a statutory position in the British Armed Forces usually held by a four star admiral. As the highest-ranking officer to serve in the Royal Navy, the chief is the principal military advisor on matters pertaining to the navy and a deputy to the Secretary of State for Defence. In a separate capacity, the CNS is a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and, thereby, a military advisor to the National Security Council, the prime minister and the monarch. The First Sea Lord is typically the highest-ranking officer on active duty of the Royal Navy unless the Chief of the Defence Staff is a naval officer. Admiral Ben Key was appointed First Sea Lord in November 2021.[1]

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First Sea Lord and
Chief of the Naval Staff
Ensign of the British Armed Forces
White Ensign of the Royal Navy
Admiral Sir Ben Key
since 8 November 2021
Ministry of Defence
Royal Navy
TypeNaval officer
StatusMilitary branch chief
Member ofDefence Council
Admiralty Board
Chiefs of Staff Committee
Reports toChief of the Defence Staff
NominatorSecretary of State for Defence
AppointerThe Monarch
On the advice of the Prime Minister, subject to formal approval by the King-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 3–4 years)
FormationSenior Naval Lord (1689–1771)
First Naval Lord (1771–1904)
First Sea Lord (from 1904)
First holderAdmiral Arthur Herbert (as Senior Naval Lord)
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fisher (as First Sea Lord)
DeputyVice Chief of the Naval Staff (1941–1946)
Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff
WebsiteOfficial Website

Originally titled the "Senior Naval Lord to the Board of Admiralty" when the post was created in 1689,[2] the office was re-styled "First Naval Lord" in 1771.[3] The concept of a professional "First Naval Lord" was introduced in 1805,[4] and the title of the office was changed to "First Sea Lord" on the appointment of Sir John Fisher in 1904. Since 1923, the First Sea Lord has been a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee; he now sits on the Defence Council and the Admiralty Board.[5]