FOREWORD - DEFENCE MANAGEMENT JOURNAL, Issue 32
Admiral Sir Jonathon Band KCB ADC - First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff
In the foreword to the last edition of this Journal, my predecessor described how the Royal Navy has responded to the demand to transform and modernise following SDR, the New Chapter and the subsequent White Paper. Much has been done and the Royal Navy is emerging as a modern, efficient, versatile and flexible force that is capable of meeting the demands of the modern security environment. As the new First Sea Lord, it is my task to continue this process of transformation to ensure that the Royal Navy is best able to meet the priorities set by the Defence Management Board and, in particular, to be able to support joint force projection in a high intensity warfare environment while also being able to swing between roles from disaster relief, through protection of shipping, to peace-keeping and enforcement. It is also my task to ensure that the Royal Navy continues to seek efficiencies in the way we do our business to ensure that we provide best value for money. Again, much has been done in recent years to rationalise the Naval Estate and our HQ organisation, to focus on our personnel structure to ensure that we have the right skill sets for the Navy in the future, and to improve our conditions of service such that we can continue to attract and retain top quality people.
From a defence management perspective, there is much that we can be proud of. The UK’s Armed Forces have changed dramatically over the past 10 years as a result of the changes that have taken place, not only in the maritime environment, but in the air and ground environment, as well as the way we procure our equipment, operate and support it, and meet our wider defence requirements and needs. Yet there is more that we could and should be doing to sharpen our practices and develop our defence capabilities to best advantage. As a new member of the Defence Management Board and the Chiefs of Staff Committee, I am keen to see us bear down further on the ‘tail’ and reduce our bureaucracy to ensure that defence as a whole provides best value for money for the taxpayer while
continuing to meet the requirements of current operations,
the needs of our people and investing in the future.
Defence is a challenging business, with increasing pressures on our resources, and we need to use what we have as efficiently as possible. Remaining at the forefront of technology and fighting capability comes at a premium, but that does not mean that we can no longer achieve it. Indeed, it is my firm belief that we can do more to work more closely with industry to ensure that the capabilities that we require are delivered on time, at the right price and quality, while also allowing the industrial base to flourish. We cannot afford a repeat of the historical pattern that has seen the workload of individual companies switched on and off like light bulbs, or companies propped up in expectation of new contracts. Implementation of the Defence Industrial Strategy will help to smooth our build and support programmes such that we garner efficient through life capability and reduce costs. I am clear in my mind that a closer relationship between defence and industry is the key to maintaining our industrial, technological and, ultimately, fighting edge.
I look forward to working with my defence management colleagues to ensure that we provide a force for good in the world that meets our defence requirements and represents good value for money.