Whilst the major policy issues were the province of the politicians, the day-to­day or month-to-month work was carried out by officials at the various Ministries. One of the most influential, by virtue of his post, was CGWL, or Controller of Guided Weapons and Electronics at the Ministry of Supply and its successors. For almost all the period, with a break of two years, Sir Steuart Mitchell held the post. From the Ministry papers he appears to be a sensible and capable administrator. Dr Robert Cockburn filled the break.

However, delving deeper into the Ministries, one drowns in a soup of alphabetic titles: in the RAF there was VCAS (Vice Chief of the Air Staff, who dealt with nuclear matters); DCAS, the Deputy Chief; DCAS (OR) Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operational Requirements). There was DRAE (Director of the Royal Aircraft Establishment); DDRAE (his deputy); DAWRE (Director of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment) and DDAWRE, his deputy. Then there are all the Ministry and Establishment departments with their heads: Guided Weapons, Space Department, and so on. Ministries have Private Secretaries (PS), Permanent Under Secretaries (PUS), and varieties of subordinate secretaries. It was part of their job to turn policy into hardware. But they were also responsible for the papers that went to Ministers, and, as a result, a good deal of the policy was made at a lower level than is often supposed.

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