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Our chief

Leading the Secret Intelligence Service

Richard Moore CMG became the seventeenth ‘C’ in October 2020. He returned to SIS having been a Director General in the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office since 2018. Previously Richard served as British Ambassador to Turkey and has been Deputy National Security Advisor in the Cabinet Office.

Richard joined SIS in 1987 where he undertook a range of roles across the Service both in the UK and overseas. Richard was born in Libya and is married to Maggie – they have two children. Outside of work Richard’s interests include playing golf and watching cricket and rugby. He speaks fluent Turkish.

‘C’ reports to the Secretary of State for Foreign Commonwealth and Development Affairs and is a member of the National Security Council. His vision is for SIS to become one of the most inclusive and welcoming employers in the UK and to build on our great partnerships with allies and partners around the globe, sharing our values and priorities, to help preserve the rules based international system.

Diversity and Inclusion

SIS is a supportive place to work, and more sociable than you might think. We are very proud to have a wide range of affinity groups run by staff, dedicated to a number of causes. So you’ll feel confident bringing your whole self to work, with groups raising awareness of race, gender equality, disability, sexual orientation and religion. They host events, celebrate national diversity days like Pride, and most importantly, they create a culture where everyone feels included.

We are also proud to be ‘Disability Confident’ and have achieved ‘Leader’ status within the Department for Work and Pension’s scheme. We ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for a role are then offered an interview. We also have a dedicated disability network group, which aims to build awareness of disability through internal talks, activities and social events. 

Our history

Our mission since 1909

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Current threats

Tackling the threats to our national security

The risks to UK security, as identified in the National Security Strategy, are becoming increasingly diverse. Past threats were more predictable, but today’s adversaries are constantly changing. So the ability to adapt and combine the UK’s collective security resources is paramount.

SIS plays a prominent role in supporting UK national security against three of the four highest priority risks – by countering international terrorism, combating weapons proliferation, supporting stability overseas and securing the UK's cyber advantage. As laid out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, we focus on identifying risks and opportunities at the earliest possible stage, shaping developments and preventing threats from emerging.

The UK Government is working to combat the international proliferation of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Weapons (CBRN) and SIS plays a crucial role.

We obtain intelligence on malign states which aim to get hold of these weapons, disrupt their efforts and stop their proliferation. 

Working with the UK’s other intelligence agencies and partners overseas, we also help to ensure UK weapons exports are rigorously controlled so they don’t get into the hands of terrorists or states.

Terrorist threats to the UK and its interests overseas could come from a number of terrorist organisations and their supporters, both inside and outside the UK. As these threats become more diverse and unpredictable, SIS plays an active role in reducing the risks to the UK.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review sets out the UK’s overall approach to counter terrorism. This focuses on gathering and assessing intelligence, investigations and disruption, preventing people from becoming terrorists, and protecting critical national infrastructure and public places. This is summed up in four stages – Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare.

We detect and disrupt overseas terrorist threats to the UK and its interests, in partnership with the other UK agencies, close allies and partners. One of our main activities is recruiting agents who can provide key intelligence on terrorist plans and organisations. Working closely with the Security Service (MI5) we also disrupt threats in the UK, where the threat has an international angle.

The world increasingly interacts digitally through cyber space. Alongside the many benefits, it leaves individuals, organisations and governments open to cyber risks. These include the possibility of hostile cyber intrusions or attacks against the UK and the UK’s interests. The National Security Strategy identifies this as one of the four main areas of security risk to the UK.

Working as part of a cross-government effort, including GCHQ and it's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), MI5 and law enforcement, SIS provides secret intelligence to help protect the UK from current and future cyber threats. These can come from a range of cyber actors, such as malign states, terrorists and/or criminals.

We know that instability and conflict overseas can create weak governments and poor security – just the right environment for terrorists and organised crime groups to thrive. Terrorist groups increasingly recruit, plan and direct their global operations within conflict-affected states.

SIS works with our foreign partners and UK enforcement agencies to disrupt criminal activity. Through the work of our agents and allies, we provide intelligence to the UK Government and early warning indications of potentially hostile threats. The work we do, including the strategic insight and understanding we provide, informs policy and decision-making – often leading to early political intervention to prevent prolonged instability.