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Good article! and more analysis of this type is required.
Defence procurements have been miss-managed for years. Virtually ever single procurement programme runs over budget and is delayed.
The MOD is seen as the gravy train by certain businesses.
It is time to change attitudes and approaches.
If businesses were run this way they would all be bust.
Delays and equip,ent failures also puts lives at risk.


Great opportunity to fix this with National (War)ship Building Strategy. A similar effort was required to fix Dreadnought warship building in early 1900’s. Unfortunately operating these warships was conducted in an obsolete fashion despite the best efforts of Admiral Fisher and others.

Warships and their crews are there to fight wars and absolute priority must be taken to ensure survivability and fighting efficiency.


Umm, some good points on Contractor greed/mismanagement and MoD procurement ineptitude, but just a tad hard to follow for the layman, or a Canadian in my case eh. Could be written, to borrow the authors words, in slightly more “plain and clearly written English” with terms more clearly explained. For example: Task Performers & Principles of Natural Justice.
I have regularly written on defence procurement [ & ], but find myself unable to easily follow the article, thus imagine the problems of joe public (with a Defence attention deficit) clearly following same.


My pardons, 1st link no longer seems to work, try:


Yet another catalogue of possible reasons for past failure. 40 years Experience in both the Services and defence industry make me doubt your analysis. No matter what is to be done to ensure that the Services get systems & equipment that is reliable and can be used when they are cold, wet and tired. Are you going to give Industry & MOD to reply? A public debate is needed.


I am suprised that big up front design hasn’t been covered. A fault of contractors and mod. An approach that’s been proven wrong by many but still at the heart of this industry and MOD

The Ginge

Interesting article but I think lacking in understanding of the dynamic that now operates in the world of private enterprise.
1. Loyalty. Sorry but the days of any Company caring for you, getting more work or redeploying you if work dry’s up in your area. The simple fact is it is a hire them and fire them world. If the MOD wishes to retain key skills at certain Companies suppliers either they pay for it as per the make work scheme on the Clyde operating now or they pay for it by bringing the skill in house within the MOD.
2. Training. Again the days of Employers actually bothering to have a training plan at whatever level are long gone. You either go to university and pay for it in student loans or you pay to train yourself as an added “life Skill” to make your employability better to get a job in the first place. Since the 1950’s in house training schemes have died a death as businesses became run by accountants who know the cost of everything the value of nothing. And why train someone when you can go to the Government even post Brexit and plead “skill shortage” and import an already trained individual from overseas. Stuff promoting or training your own staff. This has lead to a general deskilling of the UK work force exactly the opposite of the German Model where every company thinks it is their duty to up skill their staff even if they don’t have a role for them right away. Investing in people is something the British don’t do. Just look at the Governments latest wheeze of removing Bursaries to train as Nurses so that Nurses are now going to leave University with £40/£50k of debt that they will never pay back because they will never earn the £50 to £100k a year you need to.
3. Moving key personnel on quickly. Again sorry but where has the writer been over the last 50yrs. I do not work in an industry manufacturing goods, but here we have the “good” people come in for max 1 or 2yrs solve a problem or run a project then move on. People of that calibre do not want to be solving the same problem for the 10yrs it takes to get a Defence Programme through. Why because they will be side-lined for promotion within an y organisation. You only get promotion by moving departments/location/project. The days of getting promotion for “time served” stopped 30yrs ago as it was thought it encouraged people to plod along and get promotion by default. No No cried the accountants its a lot better to promote by results, the problem is if that result takes 10yrs to manifest itself people can not get promoted quick enough to earn decent money with only 3 or 4 promotions in a career. Hence as soon as a project reaches a natural break point the high flyer is of and the next promotion taxi in the rank is looking to break in as the next 23yr old super star who knows nothing.
4. Money Money Money. I am sorry we pay engineers rubbish money. The hardest A levels Maths and Physics, the hardest Degrees where you are at the coal face 35hrs a week in labs etc and you come out and are offered a job at £23k with the prospect of maybe making £50k by the age 40 or 50. Whilst you can go in to the city and earn £30k starting and be on £100k a year doing nowhere near as complicated or stressful job. Companies need to start paying these people to attract top talent. People are not becoming Engineers etc because they can see the pay structures and the chance of getting the one well paid job is minimal. The same goes for working further down the chain, come and be an apprentice at 18 and oh by the way we will only pay you £5 per hour (not sure what the 18yr old minimum wage is there days) we will pay you hourly and after 3yrs of the equivalent of training and working a lot harder than someone at University doing an easy degree, you’ll be working shifts, being asked to move around the country from project to project and only earn enough at most to struggle by in a 2 bed semi/terrace house with a 5yr old car. When you can get an office job working 9 to 5 and sitting on your bum in a nice warm office earning the same ? Pay attracts people followed by the challenge. But if you can’t pay the mortgage or have the lifestyle you want then sorry that’s just not happening.
So cure those problems and then you will get the loyalty and the people you want. But since no Government has for over 50 to 60yrs hence why our productivity has collapsed compared to Germany/France/Italy etc we are where we are.