Until February 2006 Lord West was First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, making him head of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, responsible for the fighting effectiveness of Britain’s Naval Service.
During his career he led the Falklands War victory parade in London, led the study into women's employment in the Royal Navy which led to women serving at sea and their full integration into the service, and was also Commander in Chief and Chief of Defence Intelligence.
As well as serving as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office from 2007 to 2010, he advised both the Conservative and Labour parties on defence and security – producing the UK's first ever National Security Strategy and Cyber-Security Strategy, as well as formulating the latest counter-terrorist policy.
Rewards for Lord West's remarkable public service record include: in 1982, a Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in the Falklands War; being conferred a Knight of the Order of Bath in the Millennium Honours 2000; and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 2004 New Year Honours. Lord West was awarded a life peerage in 2007, and became a Member of the Privy Council in 2010.
"It is a great honour to have become Chancellor of Southampton Solent University. I admire the vision and values espoused by the University and have been most impressed by what I have learnt of their achievement so far, not least the high percentage of students from the lower socio-economic group and from low participation neighbourhoods across Britain. I strongly approve of the fact that admissions are highly diverse and inclusive.
"In particular I am pleased that the world-famous Warsash Maritime Academy is part of the University," Lord West adds, "Shipping is critical to the world – and in particular the UK – economy, and the high standards taught at Warsash are crucial for safety and efficient operation of the world's merchant marine."