'The military, civilians and contractors must work together to transform defence'
31 August 2012
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond's foreword from the current edition of the Defence Management Journal in full
The first priority for defence remains delivering on operations in Afghanistan. When Britain's armed forces are deployed in dangerous circumstances, our first duty is to ensure that they have the resources and support they need to succeed – and that is what we are doing.
But the end of combat operations is now in sight and, intellectually, we have moved on to look beyond 2014 at the shape of the forces we will need for the future: forces ready to deal with the unexpected and unplanned, rather than the more predictable rhythms of the Telic and Herrick campaigns, and transformed to protect national security in the volatile global security environment of the future. And we are doing this against a background of fiscal constraint and the legacy of mismanagement in the defence budget.
It has required tough decisions to put our armed forces on a sustainable future footing, including reducing personnel numbers, retiring some capabilities, and taking some calculated and managed risks. But the future force we are building, though smaller, will be well-equipped and well-trained – supported by the fourth largest defence budget in the world and with an equipment programme that offers a high level of confidence that we will deliver it. This gives our armed forces the ability to plan for the future with confidence.
Central to sustainability has to be transformation of the management of defence. Tighter resources require greater efficiency; new structures require new ways of delivering. With the direction provided by Lord Levene's Defence Reform Review and the hard work put in over the last year by the management team, we now have a blueprint for the future operation of defence. This includes renewing the way strategic direction is provided, pushing authority and accountability down the chain of command to encourage innovation and budgetary responsibility. We are also developing a new approach to the procurement of defence equipment, which seeks to instil private sector disciplines to our acquisition process, driving up productivity.
Taken together, this adds up to the biggest and most complex change programme being undertaken anywhere in Britain. The objective is to maintain highly capable, agile armed forces, with fully integrated reserves, supported by balanced budgets, disciplined processes, with an efficient and effective department of state behind them. We will also require more from the contractors who do so much to keep our armed forces trained, equipped, and supported both at home and in the field.
So the challenge is great, and only with the military, civilians and contractors working together will the transformation of defence be successful, and the security of the nation protected.This article appears in the current edition of The Defence Management Journal.
HAVE YOUR SAY
31 August 2012
High levels of of confidence of equipment delivery, who is he trying to kid? No government this side of 1945 has delivered anything on time, on budget and that does what it was supposed to do!
All they have done is shrink our armed forces, told employers that they will be losing more staff for longer periods of time and got rid of capabilities that are still needed now.
The armed forces aren't at fault here, they have no control over price increases, slippage of contracts and reduced capabilities of systems, that is down to government meddling and contractors trying to keep the money rolling in by slowing production.
All in all a smaller less well equiped, less motivated armed service.
JC - UK
01 September 2012
I don't suppose we'll ever see publication of these "calculated and managed risks", for the simple reason that they were not calculated or analysed at all. In 2010, only months after the election,Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne decided that all departments would suffer 30% to 40% cuts for his now discredited "austerity" programme (in truth the Conservative dream of destroying the state sector to replace it with their party donor private company friends).
This arbitrary cut was done without any attempt to quantify the risks, and has remained the default position for MOD. The normal process of decision-making - gathering your facts, analysing risks, taking action - has been done only partially, and that part has been done in reverse: an investment appraisal is mandated as the government/Treasury method for making decisions - this includes risk analysis for every option.
No such appraisals or risk reduction or analysis were carried out before the order to slash 38% from the forces/MOD. Osborne ignored his own Department's rules and the British constitution in order to accomplish an ideological attack that will cost the UK's security dear - with a party political swipe thrown in ("the legacy of mismanagement in the defence budget.").
AlMiles - Bristol, UK