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UK Strategic Defence Review 2020 - get your bids in now ladies & gents

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UK Strategic Defence Review 2020 - get your bids in now ladies & gents

Old 26th May 2020, 14:55
  #261 (permalink)  
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I'm sure there are quite a few people in Whitehall weeping, weeping . that Mr Cummings may have hit an iceberg...........
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Old 11th Jun 2020, 10:37
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While it might only be £9M, it says more about the lack of oversight.

This is taken from today's Times.

The Ministry of Defence has wasted £9 million paying rent on demolished properties, funding management consultants to do nothing and other “fruitless payments” in the past three years.

No disciplinary action was taken over the 60 payments and MPs have called on the MoD to get a grip on its finances. The payments were made between 2016 and last year and revealed after a freedom of information request. More than £3.2 million was paid to a contractor for 10,000 leased gas canisters that the MoD lost.

Rent of £1.1 million was paid on buildings that had been knocked down. The defence nuclear organisation paid £157,000 to McKinsey, the consultants, to do nothing because it forgot to terminate a rolling contract.

The largest category of fruitless payments, totalling £3.4 million, related to penalties and interest charges from HM Revenue & Customs for underpaid VAT. Additional training is being provided to help MoD staff to determine the correct VAT codes, it is understood.

Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chairman of the Commons defence select committee, said that he believed there was a “cultural issue” in the department and that a high turnover rate of staff contributed to waste.
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Old 11th Jun 2020, 16:22
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Over three years, that's not even 100th of 1%, just to put it in context.

Yes - it's £9M. Yes - it's public money. But in the great scheme of things, how does it compare to Government and Local government as a whole?

More importantly, would implementing a system that eradicated these sorts of human error actually cost more than it saved? More process, more "oversight", more sign-offs.
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Old 11th Jun 2020, 17:19
  #264 (permalink)  
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Agreed - £ 9 mm is n't a lot - especially over several years - I'm sure there are a lot worse thing s under the carpet

PS Boffin - you been zeroed by the Mods?
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Old 11th Jun 2020, 17:56
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Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin
More importantly, would implementing a system that eradicated these sorts of human error actually cost more than it saved? More process, more "oversight", more sign-offs.
The way to avoid most problems, if not eradicate them, is to implement PUS's mandated policy on 'Requirement Scrutiny'. Less process, less oversight, fewer sign-offs. And at a much lower level (which is what really annoys those responsible today). But I've lost count of how many times the Defence Committee and various PUSs have rejected this. Typical that they mention a paltry £9M, but say nothing about Billions on Nimrod. It's all to do with WHO they can finger. This case will be at a sufficiently low level to allow seniors to distance themselves.

This was the subject of a scathing report from the Director of Internal Audit, to PUS, in June 1996. He made 17 recommendations for avoiding waste. DIA destroyed their copy after 7 years, as they were told it would not be implemented. But, as usual, MoD forgets that reports tend to be sent to other people, so other copies remain. Still got mine.

Oddly, the ONLY part of MoD to get a clean bill of health during the 3.5 year investigation, was Tornado engines. That was because they trumpeted the fact a young supply manager at Harrogate had noticed that an item had been identified with two Ref Nos, so double were being bought. At the time, someone had decided to reward admin staff with a percentage of the total saved. (But not any other specialisation). She received something like £14k if I recall, which was probably more than 2 years salary. Well done for spotting something that was buried in the supply computer. Realising this might cost half the defence budget, as hundreds of supply staff were by now spending their time searching Ref Nos and comparing descriptions, AML promptly outlawed such payments, and reverted to the 1992 policy of disciplining staff who identified Requirement Scrutiny failings. That policy remains today, upheld by the Cabinet Secy/Head of the Civil Service on the advice of DE&S secretariat. Something else the Defence Committee body swerved.
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Old 11th Jun 2020, 18:51
  #266 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tucumseh
The way to avoid most problems, if not eradicate them, is to implement PUS's mandated policy on 'Requirement Scrutiny'. Less process, less oversight, fewer sign-offs. And at a much lower level (which is what really annoys those responsible today). But I've lost count of how many times the Defence Committee and various PUSs have rejected this. Typical that they mention a paltry £9M, but say nothing about Billions on Nimrod. It's all to do with WHO they can finger. This case will be at a sufficiently low level to allow seniors to distance themselves.

This was the subject of a scathing report from the Director of Internal Audit, to PUS, in June 1996. He made 17 recommendations for avoiding waste. DIA destroyed their copy after 7 years, as they were told it would not be implemented. But, as usual, MoD forgets that reports tend to be sent to other people, so other copies remain. Still got mine.

Oddly, the ONLY part of MoD to get a clean bill of health during the 3.5 year investigation, was Tornado engines. That was because they trumpeted the fact a young supply manager at Harrogate had noticed that an item had been identified with two Ref Nos, so double were being bought. At the time, someone had decided to reward admin staff with a percentage of the total saved. (But not any other specialisation). She received something like £14k if I recall, which was probably more than 2 years salary. Well done for spotting something that was buried in the supply computer. Realising this might cost half the defence budget, as hundreds of supply staff were by now spending their time searching Ref Nos and comparing descriptions, AML promptly outlawed such payments, and reverted to the 1992 policy of disciplining staff who identified Requirement Scrutiny failings. That policy remains today, upheld by the Cabinet Secy/Head of the Civil Service on the advice of DE&S secretariat. Something else the Defence Committee body swerved.
as ever, citation needed.
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 10:56
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...1992 policy of disciplining staff who identified Requirement Scrutiny failings. That policy remains today, upheld by the Cabinet Secy/Head of the Civil Service on the advice of DE&S secretariat
Grateful for some recent (say, last 5 years?) evidence of this.
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 12:12
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Originally Posted by alfred_the_great
as ever, citation needed.
And as ever, the evidence has been linked to many times, on many threads... and formally published in 2016 and 2019 after MoD cleared the manuscripts.

But if you insist, the last time a Cabinet Secy had the decency to reply to a request that the policy be rescinded, and the record of disciplinary action expunged from offenders' personnel files, in an unreferenced letter dated 28 October 2014 the late Sir Jeremy Heywood said it would be 'inappropriate' to do so. In it, he referred to the previous ruling by his predecessor, Sir Robert Kerslake.

My latest MP also took an interest (Abbey Wood is in his constituency), and on 8 April 2016 asked PUS at the Cabinet Office, Lord Bridges of Headley, for a statement. He did not reply. MP then wrote to Tobias Ellwood MP, then a Defence Minister, on 12 December 2017. Ellwood did not reply either.

So, the current chairman of the Defence Committee, quoted in this recent article, knows of the issue and has remained silent. There'll be reasons for that, not least the historical record, including a notification to civil servants by their Trades Union, Prospect, after an appeal hearing - which was recorded because there were reasonable grounds for believing an offence was going to be committed. Prescient. The chair of the hearing advised the Chief of Defence Procurement to uphold disciplinary action in such cases. He did, in writing, twice. It is these two rulings that Ministers continue to cite and support. There is an unbroken audit trail going back to January 1988. I have most of it, including MoD briefings to PUS, which MoD happily supplied under FoI.

You know why I'm interested. These rulings led directly to the deaths of a number of airmen. As I've said before, you may not like what I say, but it is demonstrably true. And anyone who thinks the rulings are correct, has no respect for the deceased and is seen to support those whose (in)actions were a root cause.

Hope this has been helpful and illuminating. I must admit I had hopes when Captain Johnny Mercer was appointed to the Committee. He has all the evidence, but has also failed to comment, although he acknowledged receipt. However, he is good value in other areas, so I can't be too harsh. But a notorious and well-kent name from past fatal accidents remains, and I doubt whether John Spellar would be keen on the Committee going there, given his involvement in the Mull of Kintyre aftermath. As you know, quite often you have to wait for all participants to leave the field before a change of mind becomes possible. Or perhaps Dominic Cummings might be interested....
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 15:52
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Tuc, sorry if I am being dense here but... From what I understand from your post, the last time there was any 'new' input to this debate was in 2014 when Sir Jeremy Haywood declined to expunge a disciplinary offence from the records of a Civil Servant. Since then, the PUS in the cabinet office and a Defence Minister have not replied to some written enquiries.

What I struggle with is the jump from these facts to the insinuation/accusation/implication that current equipment procurement is operating in an environment where individuals fear disciplinary action if they raise concerns over perceived errors made by other departments or sections. If you have evidence of such a state of affairs in current DE&S activity, then please share.

If you want to highlight a historic perceived injustice, then all power to your elbow. However, if you are going to lay allegations about the work being done at the moment, then I believe that you need to stump up some credible and current evidence.

Regards, RLE.
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 16:46
  #270 (permalink)  
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That should be a different thread - the grim history of RAF adherence (or not ) to their own rules is documented at length on various threads on here - and a sorry tale it is.

The question here is what people will be asking for in the next Review and what are they likely to get - I'd assume it may be kicked into 2021 with CV-19, Brexit and the Chinese taking up the rest of 2020 TBH
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 19:32
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Asturias

Fully agree. Asked and answered in previous threads, and latterly in print. There for all to read. It has been suggested before that disbelievers write to MoD, then we can compare notes. If there is a change of heart, and someone does say that it is no longer policy, then I'll be the first to applaud them. But if the resources are still made available to attack those who met legal obligations (and they are), then it must be current policy.

As for current and credible evidence, one only has to ask why DE&S staff failed to come forward during the Cunningham trial 2 years ago to confirm the exculpatory evidence that demonstrated Martin-Baker were entirely innocent. Why was it left to members of the public? Were these staff operating in an environment of fear, or does DE&S really have no-one who understands plain English and has eyesight good enough to watch 13 RAF training films that, if followed, would have saved his life? For those with a short attention span, it was claimed that MoD did not have sufficent information to service the seat properly. The judge named the MoD official who signed for it, making it clear she was dumbfounded by M-B's guilty plea. MoD's duty to correct this by admitting false declarations were made, both in aircraft documentation and to courts, is enduring. So, we're right up to date, on the subject that led to the rulings.

If you're against me, you're for the people responsible.
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 20:13
  #272 (permalink)  
 
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On the contrary Asturius56, the last few posts illustrate the complacent acceptance of waste as a way of MOD life. You started this thread in a world that we will probably never inhabit again. Never mind Defence Review, better get used to the idea of Defence Retrenchment. The vested interests that have made their short term marks while at the top have left behind mountains of waste, and as tuc rightly points out, not only financial waste but even worse a needless waste of life. There was never a time when that was acceptable but now MOD reform becomes vital for the sheer survival of large swathes of the UK Armed Forces.

100 years ago the RAF faced a similar challenge and remodelled itself into a cost effective way of projecting imperial power. Its challenge now is to transform itself into an airworthy air force. It has already lost its maritime capability which it is only now starting to regain. It has lost its special connection with air minded youth, the ACO gliders, which gave it not only a source of recruitment but more importantly a special affection among those who go on to attain high office. It has had to retrofit a tactical transport fleet with fuel tank protection that it should have had in the first place. Whenever these and other issues have been raised we are constantly assured that was then, things are different now. Maybe they are, but I doubt for the better. We can no longer tolerate cover ups and subordinate bullying in order to protect the reputations of those who have failed our Service and our Nation.

If Mr Cummings or anyone else of his ilk wants to turn out the MOD stables then I say good luck. We can no longer put up with the present shambles.
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Old 13th Jun 2020, 09:31
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Massive thread drift.

So back to the matter at hand, how will defence spend be affected by this cluster****?
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Old 13th Jun 2020, 16:50
  #274 (permalink)  
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Well the Govt still shovelling cash out as fast as they can.

In the next few months I'd expect they'll have to pump money into a number of "critical industries" to keep them afloat - cars, people like RR, Airbus etc - never mind the call for cash from everyone else.

Expect the Treasury to look at cutting some big projects - HS2, Dreadnought SSBN's, Sizewell B, the roads programme as marker to show they are serious - they won't cut them all but they'll want a big scalp somewhere. Then of course there will be the curse of any UK spending programme - delay.... no new F35's or Typhoons for a while, push back the frigate programmes, defer replacement of everything else, park a carrier in Portsmouth in deep "training"

I can't see them, being Tory's, cutting the Guards or the RM or the Paras etc but don't expect a lot of cash for pay enhancements etc

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Old 13th Jun 2020, 22:42
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I suspect they'll want to keep as many people employed as possible so I predict lots of infrastructure work and I think the forces will be told to draw the short strawer again. I never thought I'd seriously consider it, but have to wonder about the amounts of money being spent on the nuclear deterrent now.

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Old 14th Jun 2020, 07:09
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I always thought the deterrent made sense but after the Falklands War doubts stated to creep in - if you don't use it , or threaten to use it, when someone wades into your country -or its possessions - and you just manage to retrieve the situation using conventional forces then you have to think maybe more the cash spent on the SSBN's would be better spent elsewhere on the military. Right now its very hard to see a scenario where it could ever be used.
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Old 14th Jun 2020, 11:22
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
I always thought the deterrent made sense but after the Falklands War doubts stated to creep in - if you don't use it , or threaten to use it, when someone wades into your country -or its possessions - and you just manage to retrieve the situation using conventional forces then you have to think maybe more the cash spent on the SSBN's would be better spent elsewhere on the military. Right now its very hard to see a scenario where it could ever be used.
What a ludicrous post. Nuclear war over the Falklands ? Seriously ?
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Old 14th Jun 2020, 11:43
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Asturias

I know youíre been asked this many times before, and failed to answer on every occasion, but what exactly is your angle on this?

Are you hoping for large cuts? Are you concerned about cuts?

I just donít understand why a self professed non-military person insists on coming onto a military forum and going around the same old buoy day after day.

Itís obvious that in the wake of Covid there will be savings across the board. That will undoubtedly include the military.

Global threats havenít diminished in the last 6 months though. Whilst the deterrent, as an example, may seem like a waste of money (we could argue about that forever) itíd be a brave government who got rid of it.

My advice, if you choose to take it, would be to give it a rest for a while and when an SDR is initiated you will start to get answers. Until then you just appear to be the online equivalent of a motorway rubbernecker who just wants to get a good view of a car crash.

BV
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Old 14th Jun 2020, 15:39
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https://www.express.co.uk/news/polit...ichard-barrons

Only artificial intelligence can protect Britain, top general warns

BRITAIN'S Armed Forces are still fighting "yesterday's wars" and can neither protect this country nor meet increasing 21st Century challenges, General Sir Richard Barrons said last night.........

“In 1904 Lord Esher led a review of the British Army after its experiences in the Boer War. Politics forced a military transformation which set it up for the First World War. Who is today’s Lord Esher? We are fiddling around in the margins of a broken defence programme. It’s a political failure.”

Significantly, he pointed to expensive platforms such as Britain’s aircraft carriers and the F-35 Joint Strike fighter programme, warning they could never defeat China and Russia’s advanced missile systems.

“The current Armed Forces model is just too small to be effective. It consists of military hardpower which cannot deal with emerging Chinese and a Russian capability”. Just as air power “killed the battleship”, he said long-range missile developments by Russia and China have effectively made it impossible to invade their sea and airspace.

“Our carrier groups were conceived in the 1990s. When, in 1996, China threatened Taiwan, President Bill Clinton sent two carrier battle groups. China could then not cope with two. But it has learned its lessons well,” said Gen Barrons, who last week addressed the Cogx conference on the ethics of lethal autonomous weapons.

“We imagined our carriers and Joint Strike Fighters would allow us to penetrate Chinese or Russian airspace. This is now never going to happen. Russia and China have invested in anti-air and anti-ship missiles that keep the West away, and missiles that deliver harm to other homelands.”

These include the DF-21D , a precision carrier-killer with a range of 1,600km. Its successor wil have a range of 3,000km. “The equation is a 100,000-tonne carrier with 6,000 lives on board against missiles, fired from thousands of kilometres away in clips of 20,” he said.

Similarly, Russia’s development of the S-400 missile defence system means that “Nato air forces cannot now penetrate Russian airspace”...........
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Old 14th Jun 2020, 16:53
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"I know you’re been asked this many times before, and failed to answer on every occasion, but what exactly is your angle on this?"

Bob - call me a concerned tax payer

And if people were only allowed to post on military threads if they can show 20 years withe colours there wouldn't be many posting..............
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