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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Navy chief made security minister
Admiral Sir Alan West
Admiral Sir Alan West is a Falklands veteran
A highly decorated former Navy chief has been appointed a junior Home Office minister in charge of security.

Admiral Sir Alan West spent his first day in the job dealing with a terror alert in central London.

He has spent most of his career at sea, including commanding the frigate HMS Ardent in the Falklands war.

He will be a parliamentary under secretary, with Tony McNulty remaining as Minister of State for security, counter-terrorism and policing.

He has been critical of government spending on defence, saying in December 2006 that lives of service personnel could be lost if more money was not invested in the Armed services.

His efforts in the Falklands war, during which his vessel HMS Ardent sunk, won him the Distinguished Service Cross, and he led the victory parade through the City of London on his return.

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Sir Alan joined the Navy as a teenager, and served on 14 ships, commanding three of them.

He has worked in various posts in the Ministry of Defence, including heading a study into women's integration and service at sea.

He was honoured in the Millennium New Year Honours List, being promoted to admiral that year when he became Commander-in-Chief Fleet, NATO Commander-in-Chief East Atlantic and NATO Commander Allied Naval Forces North.

He was responsible for moving most of the Fleet Headquarters from London to Portsmouth, and organised the Navy's response to 9/11, involving major deployments in the northern Indian Ocean and the Royal Marines into Afghanistan.

He was appointed as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff in September 2002 as well as being the Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen.

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