Remembering Sir Charles Farr 1959-2019

The Institute mourns the loss of Sir Charles Farr, the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Head of the Joint Intelligence Organisation in the Cabinet Office, who passed away on Friday, 15 February.

Sir Charles was not only a gifted and dedicated senior civil servant, but also exceptional in his determination to engage the broader expertise of the academic and think-tank community in the task of analysing and interpreting intelligence information. All those who had the privilege of working with him would attest to his determination and razor-sharp attention to detail, but also to his ability to take seriously counter-arguments to the prevailing views of the intelligence community. Sir Charles was acutely aware of the danger of 'group-think'.

RUSI benefitted greatly from his academic engagement projects. Sir Charles was frequently at the Institute and often engaged with its researchers in professional debates. And, whenever possible, he also took part in the broader programme of lectures and seminars which the Institute held.

Commenting on Sir Charles’s death, Sir John Scarlett, RUSI’s Vice-Chairman said: 'Charles Farr was a truly exceptional public servant. I know from long personal experience his deep commitment to the safety of our country and our citizens. We are fortunate indeed to have benefited from his high intelligence, practical abilities and consistent hard work. I do not use any of these words lightly. His premature passing is a great loss and tragedy.'

Dr Karin von Hippel, Director-General, remarked, 'Charles will be missed by all of us. He was a strategic thinker, and always raised the level of the conversation when he joined us at RUSI. The country loses a great patriot, and RUSI loses a true friend.'

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