FOREWORD - DEFENCE MANAGEMENT JOURNAL, March 2004
Geoff Hoon - Secretary of State for Defence
The defence White Paper, ‘Delivering Security in a Changing World’, recognises that the strategic environment has changed in the five years since the ‘Strategic Defence Review’ was published. Our Armed Forces, and their supporting systems and infrastructure, must continue to evolve if they are to confront the key challenges we face in the early part of the 21st Century: the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the threat from international terrorism, and the consequences of failed and failing States.
The White Paper presents the case for flexible Armed Forces, which are structured and equipped to deal with the pattern of multiple, concurrent small and medium operations that has become the norm in recent years. These forces must, of course, also retain sufficient flexibility to enable them to reconfigure at longer notice for the much less frequent, large-scale operations such as Operation TELIC.
Our success in meeting this challenge will ultimately be judged by the operational performance of the Armed Forces. Work is already underway to construct an appropriate and sustainable force structure and future investment programme – to turn the policy into practice. But it is equally important that the Ministry of Defence is as effective and efficient an organisation as possible to maximise both the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces and value for money for the taxpayer. Such goals demand excellence at all levels in the department, from front line combat units through to support organisations and those responsible for managing business processes.
To generate and sustain military forces we have to combine effectively all the components – people, training, equipment and logistics support – that together comprise military capability. The task of joining up these components is the key one for all managers in defence. As a department we are becoming increasingly well versed in using a range of management tools to improve the business of defence: clear objective setting (as through Service Delivery Agreements); the identification of cost drivers; the identification and effective management of risk; performance improvement through the Defence Change Programme; and performance management through the Defence Balanced Scorecard.
Effective defence management plays an important role in maximising military capability. It is a continuous process and we must embrace a culture of performance improvement. Using the tools and skills available should help to ensure that the Armed Forces are ready for the challenges they face.