Rear Admiral Kingwell CBE on a ship with the sea and a ship blurred in the background


Rear Admiral J M L Kingwell CBE (John) 

Commandant Royal College of Defence Studies

Rear Admiral John Kingwell joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in 1984.  

He has had four commands: Sussex University Royal Naval University Unit and its attached patrol vessel HMS PURSUER, the Type 23 frigate HMS ARGYLL and the Assault Ship HMS ALBION. As Commander United Kingdom Task Group (COMUKTG) he commanded the Response Force Task Group off of Libya in 2011.

Shore appointments have included attending the Advanced Command and Staff Course, 6 months in Baghdad as the first senior advisor to the newly appointed Head of the Iraqi Navy and a year in the Fleet HQ as the Fleet Programmer responsible for the long term operational programming of all Fleet ships, submarines, aircraft and commando units.

He has also served in the Ministry of Defence on four occasions. In the rank of Lieutenant Commander on the operational staff, as a Captain he was the Military Assistant to both the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff and the 2nd Permanent Under Secretary and twice within the Directorate of Naval Resources and Plans – firstly as a Commander and most recently in the rank of Commodore as the Head of what became Finance and Military Capability (Navy).  His first appointment as a Rear Admiral was in 2013 as the Director of the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) – the MOD’s independent strategic think tank.  He joined RCDS in May 2016 as Deputy Commandant and stepped up to become Commandant in July 2019.

Rear Admiral Kingwell lives in Bexhill on Sea with his wife and two daughters.  He is the president of RN hockey, an active supporter of the Sea Cadet Corps, a freeman of the City of London, a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights and a Younger Brother of Trinity House.