He has received an Honorary Doctorate from City and is the former Director General of the UK Defence Academy, Former Assistant Chief of Naval Staff and Former Controller of the Navy.

By Mr John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer), Published

Vice Admiral Duncan Potts will deliver the keynote address at City’s STEM Alumni Awards ceremony on September 7th, 2023.

He has enjoyed an outstanding career with the Royal Navy as a former Director General, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, former Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Capability) and former Controller of the Navy from 2013 to 2014, Vice Admiral Potts.

In July 2023, Vice Admiral Potts was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree by City, University of London, in recognition of his outstanding career with the Royal Navy and his contribution to public service.

Given this vast military experience, his thought-provoking and highly relevant address is titled, Defence, Leading or Lagging Technological Change – Are we seeing a paradigm shift?

Vice Admiral Duncan Potts

Vice Admiral Potts is of the view that “throughout history, warfare has been a major driver of science, technology and wider change.  This was nowhere clearer than in the 20th Century through two World Wars and The Cold War.  But in the 21st Century is that paradigm now inverted?”

He adds:

"In the digital age, other sectors are disrupting Defence, Security and Resilience, where technologies developed for wider use are having a profound impact.  Moreover, Governments are no longer in control of change and are at best second adopters of commercial and societal developments. What are the implications of this and what does it mean for Defence and Security?"

Vice Admiral Duncan Potts was educated at Wellington School before joining the Royal Navy in 1979.

After training and sea time, he studied at City University, London, graduating with a BSc in Business Systems and Management in 1983.

On promotion to Commander in 1996, Vice Admiral Potts commanded HMS Brilliant and HMS Southampton, and as a Captain, HMS Marlborough.

Throughout this early career he was deployed to various parts of the world to locations such as the Falkland Islands, the Middle East and the Gulf, as well as on NATO operations.

As a Commodore and Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral Potts led Coalition Task Groups in the Gulf and led on naval counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.

He also worked in the Ministry of Defence and was a member of the Navy Board responsible for capability planning.

On promotion to Vice Admiral in September 2014, he became Director-General of the Joint Force Development and Defence Academy.

Since leaving the Royal Navy in 2018, Vice Admiral Potts has established a portfolio career based around defence and security consultancy and is Chair of the Public Weather Service Customer Group, which effectively regulates the UK Meteorological Office. He also has a range of other pro-bono commitments, including being National President of the Royal Naval Association - the principal organisation for retired Royal Navy sailors.


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