With a background in the chemical industry, Lennie Phillips joined OPCW in 2008, initially as an inspector, then as an inspection team leader from 2011. In addition to leading inspections, he also helped form inspection policy as well as designing and delivering training to inspectors, verification officers, and States Parties’ representatives.
In 2013, he was part of the team that monitored the destruction of declared production equipment related to the Syrian chemical weapons program. From 2015 to 2017, he was team leader for OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission, focussing on allegations of use of chemical weapons in areas outside the control of the Syrian Government. Amongst the allegations investigated by him and his team was the use of Sarin in Khan Shaykhun on April 4, 2017.
In 2018, he was awarded an OBE for services to international security.
After leaving OPCW and a short spell running his own company which focussed on policy, training, and international investigation, he was drawn to RUSI in January 2023 as a senior research fellow focussing on using open source information to assess the North Korean chemical weapons’ program and its links to the chemical industry.