Defence Export Services Organisation

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The UK Ministry of Defence’s former arms export promotion department, headed by James Blyth, Lord Blyth of Rowington (the current chair of Diageo) from 1981 to 1985, to which he was seconded from Lucas Aerospace ltd, an arms manufacturer [1] [2]. DESO's aims are to encourage arms sales by UK companies. It is a forum for arms industry executives to enter the heart of government, through secondments, in order to help the industry sell arms with direct government support. [3].

When the Minister for Defence Procurement, Paul Drayson, aka Lord Drayson, addressed the Royal Aeronautical Society in September 2006 part of his speech made reference to the importance of DESO:

A strong defence industry is crucial to strong defence. This is one of the key tenets of the Defence Industrial Strategy. Exports play a big part in the success of firms such as Thales and others represented here. That is why we encourage defence exports and support them directly through DESO [4]

The DESO has been disbanded and now joins the UKTI. This brings together "existing expertise in UKTI (for the civil market) and the former DESO (for defence), who now comprise the new Security Directorate within the UKTI Defence & Security Organisation. The UKTI Defence & Security Organisation is part of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the Government organisation that helps UK-based companies succeed in international markets [5].


  1. Campaign Against the Arms Trade Hemscott accessed 18.01.05
  2. CAAT Political Influences - viewed 18.01.05
  3. DESO website MOD Policy - viewed 18.01.05
  4. MOD Website, Lord Drayson, Speech to the Thales seminar ‘Doing Business in France’ accessed 3rd June 2008
  5. MOD Website About the UKTI Defence & Security Organisation accessed 3rd June 2008