I Say, Who Was That Masked Chap?
Martin Neill, a UK civil servant who worked on secondment in the US Office of the Secretary of Defense for three years, has been awarded the highest award the US Department of Defense can bestow on a foreign civilian: the DoD Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service. Mr. Neill was posted to work in the Pentagon as part of a scientific exchange in mid-2003, after a previous stint as a policy planner at the UK Ministry of Defence. His policy background and the emergence of the recent Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) changed that, and he was moved into the USA’s small QDR Team to help map out the USA’s future force structure and military procurement direction.
Whatever he did must have been quite something; not only did the Pentagon present him with their highest award, they expedited it. Martin Neill was personally presented with the medal on February 27, 2006 by the head of the US Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), Jim Thomas. He’s the figure on the left in the picture. Desmond Bowen, Policy Director of UK Defence Diplomacy, is the figure on the right. See UK MoD release.