In the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a Committee of Privy Counsellors under Lord Butler of Brockwell was asked to review the pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and to ‘make recommendations on the gathering, evaluation and use of intelligence on WMD’. The Butler Review was published in 2004.
Tim Dowse was closely involved with both the review and its aftermath. Fifteen years on, he will look at how Lord Butler’s conclusions have stood the test of time and discuss the wider lessons for those tasked with producing and presenting complex assessments for senior decision-makers.
Tim Dowse CMG joined HM Diplomatic Service in 1978. In 1980 he was posted to the British Embassy in Manila, moving in 1982 to the British Embassy in Tel Aviv. He returned to London in 1986.
Following positions in the FCO dealing successively with global economic issues, South Africa and politico-military aspects of the 1991 Gulf crisis, he became Deputy Head of Non-Proliferation and Defence Department in 1991, before a secondment to the US State Department in early 1992. He was posted to the British Embassy in Washington DC from 1992-1996. After returning to the UK he became the first member of the FCO to complete the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, before joining the Cabinet Office as a Deputy Chief of the Assessments Staff in 1997, leading a team covering WMD proliferation issues, Russia and the other former Soviet states.
From 1999 Tim headed the Defence, Diplomacy and Intelligence spending team in HM Treasury. In early 2001 he returned to the FCO as Head of Counter-Proliferation Department. He was subsequently appointed Director of Central Intelligence Assessment [Chief of the Assessments Staff] in the Cabinet Office in 2003.
Tim returned to the FCO in 2009 as Director of Intelligence and National Security and subsequently became the first Director of International Cyber Policy. In 2012 he was appointed to the newly-created position of Foreign Secretary’s Intelligence Adviser: a position he held until retiring in October 2018.
He was awarded the CMG in 2009 for services to the Cabinet.
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