Deputy Director: Aviation Security International Operations (ASIO)

Contract Type
Aviation, Management
Expiry Date
Aviation Directorate sits within the Aviation, Maritime, International & Security Group in the Department for Transport.

Job Description


Aviation Directorate sits within the Aviation, Maritime, International & Security Group in the Department for Transport. It is one of two Directorates working exclusively on aviation matters – the other is the Airports, Infrastructure & Commercial Directorate which advising Ministers on commercial matters that impact the industry.

In addition to the Aviation Security International Operations Division, the Directorate has 6 other Divisions:

Aviation Security Strategy & Policy: Works to mitigate current and emerging threats to aviation. Works across HMG, industry and internationally to set and manage the UK’s aviation security strategy, lead domestic aviation security matters, mitigating the inbound threat to aviation and influencing multilateral forums to improve global aviation security standards.

Europe and International: They negotiate our international treaties, influence international partners on the UK’s global aviation objectives and lead our activity in multilateral organisations such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC);

Aviation Strategy, Consumers and Innovation: Building consumer confidence & improving the passenger experience, working across Aviation Directorate on our collective strategy and lead our innovation work including on space-based technologies and drones.

General Aviation, Safety & Skills: As well as oversight of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), they deliver the General Aviation and Aviation Skills Programmes and policy ambition as well as ensuring the UK meets and enhances domestic and international aviation safety standards.

Aviation Decarbonisation: Leading the transformation of the UK and international aviation to a ‘net zero’ future including through technology advancements, carbon pricing and HMG/industry Jet Zero partnership.

International Travel Programme: Supports the safe operation and reopening of international travel while protecting public health.


Job description

Aviation Security International Operations (ASIO) is a Division within the Aviation Directorate in the Department for Transport. Currently c.70 staff – including three grade 6s – the Division has a range of functions to work collaboratively with host states and partners to deliver an assessment and capacity development programme in a number of high-risk locations. As well as operational policy, capacity development teams this includes Aviation Security Liaison Offices – including a number posted overseas.
The assessments produced by ASIO are critical in supporting senior officials and Ministers risk tolerance and approach to mitigating the inbound aviation threat to the UK. ASIO works ‘hand in glove’ with DfT’s Aviation Security Strategy & Policy (ASSP) Division to manage the risk of an attack against inbound threats as well as working to improve global aviation security standards bilaterally and through raising international standards.

This is an exciting role for a security or operational professional to lead the Division.

The Deputy Director, Aviation Security International Operations (ASIO) will be responsible for developing and delivering the Departments international security operational activity, a critical part of the UK’s response to aviation security. You will be working in close partnership with DfT’s Aviation Security Strategy & Policy Division, the Transport Security, Resilience & Response (TSRR) teams, and with Counter-terrorism and geographical teams in Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Cabinet Office.
This can be very fast moving area and will require high levels of personal resilience on the part of you and your team. Your team will need to have a flexible and responsive culture, so as to be able to respond to real world events and an evolving threat environment.


Key responsibilities of the role include:

• Leading the implementation of recommendations of an independent review of ASIO including considering the most effective structure for the Division going forward following a period of rapid expansion and change during COVID-19.

• Overseeing the delivery of an effective and efficient assessment programme of last point of departure airports in high-risk locations including ensuring that there are effective data collection processes and production of reports that can be used to inform HMG’s risk tolerance.

• Work with host states to design, agree and deliver a prioritised capacity development programme to improve aviation security standards in a number of key countries. Work with the Home Office’s CONTEST Unit to secure Counter-Terrorism Programme Funding resource (CTPF) – currently c.£2.5m in 21/22.

• Build strong relationships with host governments in ASIO’s priority countries to develop a shared understanding of the threats to aviation and agree where the UK can support them to mitigate the threats we collectively face.

• Build on ASIO’s reputation as a critical operational capability that provides unique insights into aviation security vulnerabilities in key locations. Work closely within DfT and through the cross-Whitehall Aviation External Threats Group (AETG) to set strategic priorities for the operational programme.

• Support DfT and HMG’s response to either increased threat reporting impacting the inbound threat or an attack on aviation inbound to the UK.
In addition to leading ASIO, the successful applicant is expected to play a full role in the Aviation Directorate’s Senior Management Team as well as part of the Department’s National Security community.

Person Specification

It is essential that in your written application you give evidence of examples of proven experience in each of the essential criteria of the person specification. These responses will be developed and discussed with those candidates invited for interview.

We are looking for someone who is genuinely interested leading this vital and exciting team. You are likely to be someone who excels in leading and building a high performing team, working at pace and delivering results. You will also be adept at working in partnership with a complex network of stakeholders.

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate their experience and skills against the following essential criteria:

• Existing DV clearance (must be demonstrated within application)
• Proven evidence of working in an operational environment with an understanding of counter-terrorism or other National Security threats.
• Highly developed leadership skills, with the proven ability to build and inspire a team, drive performance, develop capability, and create an engaged and motivated workforce;
• Strong evidence of making effective decisions at pace balancing a range of interests and pressures, and involving the right stakeholders and partners early on;
• Evidence of working effectively and collaboratively across boundaries to deliver results including commanding the confidence of partners, international partners and senior stakeholders
• Experience of showing sound judgement in a politically sensitive environment with the ability to identify risk and mobilise teams to respond quickly and effectively.
• Experience leading the response to an incident or crisis with the resilience and ability to remain calm under pressure whilst leading teams through managing major incidents – even when under scrutiny.