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Introducing DIO's new Director of Strategy and Plans

General Bobby Walton-Knight is wearing an army uniform, is clean shaven and has grey hair. There are lots of trees in the background and it is a sunny day.
DIO's new Director of Strategy and Plans and Sustainability Champion, General Bobby Walton-Knight [Crown Copyright/MOD2020]
I’m DIO’s Director of Strategy and Plans. I’m still quite new in post, having joined in July and come to DIO from various roles in the British Army.

My early service in the Royal Engineers was in armored engineer roles in the UK and Germany, with deployments to the Falkland Islands, Angola, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, and exercises in Canada, Poland, Belize, Australia and Cyprus. I was also responsible for transforming part of the Army’s collective training, as Head Training at Army Headquarters. I was attracted to DIO as I felt that I could influence the collaboration between DIO, the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force and Strategic Command to help enhance the lived experience for our Armed Forces.

I know that others will agree, it was an interesting time to arrive at DIO as we all wrestled with the impact of COVID-19. This meant that I’ve not had the chance to meet as many individuals as I would have liked, at least not face-to-face. Like many of us, I’m spending a large part of my working day on Skype and I suspect this pattern of work may continue for the foreseeable future. At first, I was struck by how quiet the Andover offices are, with only the occasional staff member spending a day at a ‘safe’ desk. Since then, a lot has been done to make buildings safe for staff to return to work in greater numbers. I’m now spending three days a week in the office and working the remainder remotely. I’m seeing an increasing number, and different members of staff take up desks, although socially distanced introductions and virtual handshakes continue.

My role as Director of Strategy and Plans

I play an important role in DIO’s relationship with the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence by developing our ability to provide excellent advice on infrastructure matters. I’m very excited about my role and arrived as the organisation was going through changes. I also came in when DIO’s strategy was published, which lays out our six strategic responses for the next 10 years. It is this work, alongside understanding how the organisation operates and how infrastructure is managed with the Armed Forces, that has been my focus since July.

I’m also the Sustainability Champion for DIO and am responsible for sustainability, climate change, the environment and for developing Defence’s infrastructure asset management capabilities. One of the six strategic responses is helping the organisation become an expert in sustainability, but this is only part of the challenge. It’s what we do with that expertise that will make a difference. This includes providing advice across Defence, developing new initiatives that will reduce our carbon footprint and increase carbon neutral infrastructure, then identifying ways of capturing carbon through the imaginative use of the Defence estate. I will also look at the impact of climate change on our infrastructure and how this may affect how we operate.

Another strategic response is developing our infrastructure asset management capabilities. We will no longer seek external advice about our assets and their management and will proactively give that advice to the Armed Forces so they can meet their objectives. Our goal is to make better, more informed decisions about our assets and balance cost, performance and risk. We will get the right information and transform our decision making.

It is this work, alongside continuing to shape the lived experience of both military personnel and civilian staff, that I will be concentrating on in the future.

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  1. Comment by Stuart Jones posted on

    Great to “meet” you General Bobby. I hope we can introduce you to our team of Amey customer service professionals supporting defence infrastructure out of Liverpool, and across the UK, at some point in the not too distant future!

  2. Comment by Nic S posted on

    er...hopefully they were armoured engineers ;0) ?


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