Royal Navy Second Sea Lord reveals he is autistic

Vice Admiral Nick Hine talks about his autism diagnosis and the need for neurodiversity in the Armed Forces

Vice Admiral Nick Hine

In a candid interview with The Times ahead of World Autism Awareness Day, Vice Admiral Nick Hine has revealed that he is autistic.

Vice Admiral Hine – as Second Sea Lord, the second highest ranking officer in the Navy – was diagnosed with autism 10 years ago. At the time he only disclosed his diagnosis to close friends and family.

In the interview, Hine talked about his reputation for being “blunt, challenging and difficult”, which eventually led him to seek a formal diagnosis. These traits, along with a single-minded determination helped him to forge a career in the Navy. With his retirement approaching in 2022, Hine made the decision to speak out in order to highlight the value of neurodiversity to the Armed Forces and the particular skills that conditions such as autism can bring to the service.

The Vice Admiral described himself as having a brain that is “wired differently”, and said: “It doesn’t mean that I am disabled, it doesn’t mean that I am odd, it doesn’t mean that I am in any way shape or form less capable. It means that I am different.” Hine went on to state his belief that it was essential for the UK’s military to recruit those who could think differently in order to remain an effective fighting force in years to come.

Information on the autism diagnosis process for adults and children can be found on the National Autistic Society website.