Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : New Defence Export Advocate appointed to drive UK defence exports [January 2023]

The press release issued by the Department for International Trade on 25 January 2023.

Lord Lancaster appointed as the Government’s new Defence Export Advocate by the Trade Secretary, to drive the UK’s defence exports in a brand-new role.

  • Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch appoints Army Reservist and former Defence Minister Mark Lancaster into brand-new role
  • Lord Lancaster will engage with industry leaders, ministers and other key players both in the UK and overseas to drive UK defence exports
  • UK is the world’s second-largest defence exporter, and its defence sector contributed £10.6 billion to the economy in 2020 – supporting 92,000 jobs

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has appointed Lord Mark Lancaster as the Government’s new Defence Export Advocate, to drive the UK’s export success across its world-class defence sector in a brand-new role.

Lord Lancaster – who will report directly to the Trade Secretary – will take on a programme of visits both overseas and at home to promote UK defence exports, developing relationships with industry leaders, foreign government ministers and other key industry players to create new export opportunities for UK firms.

He will also help drive defence export success in the UK, visiting key defence shows like Defence Security Equipment International (DSEI), Farnborough International Airshow and others, using his influence and experience to engage with key contacts such as defence company CEOs.

The UK’s defence sector is hugely important to the economy. In 2020, it supported over 92,000 full-time jobs across the country – including over 20,000 each in South West and North West England – areas where the sector makes a significant contribution to local economies, such as Gloucestershire and Cumbria.

In 2020 the sector also had a turnover of £25.3 billion, while the wider aerospace, defence and security sectors supported 415,000 direct jobs in 2022.

Lord Lancaster brings a wealth of specialist defence experience to the role – as an active Brigadier in the Army Reserves, and having served as a Defence Minister between 2015-2019. He was also previously a Major in the Territorial Army, having served as part of NATO peacekeeping forces in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

The UK’s defence sector is worth billions in exports and drives growth, investment and jobs in every corner of the country, helping to grow our economy and moving us forward in the Race to a Trillion exports.

Mark knows that more exports and investment are just what this industry needs to boost jobs and help us stay ahead of the competition, and I’m delighted to have him on board to spearhead our efforts.

Defence Export Advocate Lord Lancaster said:

Our defence export sector makes a crucial contribution to the country, bringing advanced jobs, cutting-edge defence capabilities and investment to the UK.

I’m delighted to be taking on this role to boost our exports further, and help to cement the UK’s standing as a global leader in the defence sector.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

Our thriving defence industry is a national asset, worth billions of pounds, supporting our Armed Forces and driving growth, innovation and significant investment across the UK.

It’s right that we prioritise supporting British industry with a dedicated champion for UK defence exports, and Mark is the right man for the job.

Lord Lancaster will initially focus on defence export opportunities in Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia and Qatar, as well as countries in NATO’s Eastern Flank – markets which DIT’s Defence and Security Exports Directorate, UK DSE, has identified as where Lord Lancaster will be able to make the biggest impact in his role.

The role of Defence Export Advocate is unpaid and similar to that of a Trade Envoy – but with a global remit, rather than focusing on any one geographic region.