Parrhesia Inc

Advancing Whistleblowing

Maj Gen (Retd) David McDowall CBE


David McDowall was born in Stranraer, South West Scotland, in 1954. He enlisted in to the Army as a soldier in 1972, training as a Radio Telegraphist with the Royal Corps of Signals. He spent the following 6 years serving throughout the world, becoming a Class 1 tradesman and achieving the rank of Corporal. He was selected for a commission, and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1978.

Over the following years he commanded at Troop, Squadron, Regiment and Brigade level , completing tours in the Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus, and the Balkans. He completed his journey from Signaller to Signal Officer in Chief in 2002 when he became Head of Arm for the Royal Signals. He completed the journey from Junior Non-Commissioned Officer to General Officer Commanding when he assumed command of the United Kingdom 2nd Division, the Army in Scotland, Northern England, and Northern Ireland in 2007. During this tour he was also Her Majesty’s Governor of Edinburgh Castle. His final act in the British Army was to perform as the Lone Piper at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

On leaving the Army he was appointed as Vice President of Strategic Planning for Selex Communications, part of the Finmeccanica group of Companies, one of the largest Defence Electronics suppliers in the world. The main effort for the company during this period was support to operations, providing vital communications and force protection capabilities to the UK and Coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. This role kept him in close contact with the Defence community with whom he had served as a soldier.
David is now the Senior Defence Advisor to the Company (now called Leonardo (MW)) with a specific focus on worldwide C4ISR programmes. He continues to assist Leonardo (in the UK and Italy) to develop solutions that deliver “Decisive Operational Advantage at the most affordable price”.

He was Chairman of the Army Cadets Association from 2014 – 19 and assumed the role of Chairman of the Royal Signals Association in March 2020.