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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 17th Dec 2019, 20:13
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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BVRAAM

Agreed.

If 'procurement' needs to be discussed, the elephant in the room is why are so many complex programmes delivered to time, cost and performance with effortless competence, while lesser ones fail miserably - often in the same team.

MoD, government and the media simply won't go there, because the answer is unpalatable.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 21:25
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tucumseh View Post
BVRAAM

Agreed.

If 'procurement' needs to be discussed, the elephant in the room is why are so many complex programmes delivered to time, cost and performance with effortless competence, while lesser ones fail miserably - often in the same team.

MoD, government and the media simply won't go there, because the answer is unpalatable.
Deliberately cock it up so they pay you twice to "fix" it.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 22:00
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
Deliberately cock it up so they pay you twice to "fix" it.
'Deleberately' is perhaps not the right word.

But very often the Service 'requirement' will be utter nonsense. It's a long time since MoD employed people to identify this. If by chance someone does, it's a career killer to speak up. So, a company can take advantage by delivering something it knows the Services don't want or need, or simply won't work in the intended application. And yes, get paid twice or more to deliver what is actually needed.

But, to be fair, I've known companies to refuse contracts until MoD asks for the correct thing. The classic example was RAF suppliers wanting to buy Active Dipping Sonar kit for C-130. GEC-Marconi fell over laughing, pointing out words like 'hover' in the spec Harrogate had called up.

I'd like to know what yer man means by 'corruption'. He needs to put up or shut up.
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 07:35
  #104 (permalink)  
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No doubt by "corruption" he was referring to the post Civil Service/Armed Forces employment by defence companies

As well as the Company's inflating the bill you of course get mission creep and the insistence on fitting new kit as the programme is under way - that suits the contractor, the Service and the front-line - but the taxpayer is hung out to dry

With respect to say "I hope Cummings is kept clear of any such Defence procurement review, this is for specialists, not political analysts." is about 40 years too late - the specialists are the people who have got us into this situation and without top level political direction there is absolutely no sign it will get better
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 10:01
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
No doubt by "corruption" he was referring to the post Civil Service/Armed Forces employment by defence companies

As well as the Company's inflating the bill you of course get mission creep and the insistence on fitting new kit as the programme is under way - that suits the contractor, the Service and the front-line - but the taxpayer is hung out to dry

With respect to say "I hope Cummings is kept clear of any such Defence procurement review, this is for specialists, not political analysts." is about 40 years too late - the specialists are the people who have got us into this situation and without top level political direction there is absolutely no sign it will get better

In which case, it's for the Secretary of State for Defence and his Ministers to lead any such review.
If memory serves, all Ministers in the MOD have a military background, including Mr. Wallace, himself. They will therefore have a more realistic idea of the needs of the Services to prevent wastage. The Department has wasted billions in cancelled projects and delay, it can't continue but it must be looked at by those who know what they're doing.

Cummings was good for BREXIT (I may be biased) but he is not a smart choice for something so critical to our way of life.
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 15:18
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
No doubt by "corruption" he was referring to the post Civil Service/Armed Forces employment by defence companies
There's 2 levels of such employment - firstly, the top-level (Board/Director) people who have the political leads back into the MoD/Government who are useful for securing Contracts and such like but don't actually deal in the detail. They are an "overhead" really.

What may be becoming a bigger issue is, due to the contraction of the Armed Services, there seem to be less people at middle management/design level within Industry with previous experience of working within the MoD (specifically operating on the Front Line) in a previous life. Just the impression I've got over the last few years. Some very bright people/boffins but, if you've not been in a foxhole at 3 a.m. in the freezing rain - well, you can't really imagine it! The result is that the chances of Tucs sanity check of MoD requirements/picking up practical issues with the design solutions by those people "in the know" within Industry reduces.

I've seen some howlers which have, sadly, cost someone something (nothing quite like the C130 dipping Sonar tho!) - which will inevitably lead back to the tax payer. Often, Industry genuinely thinks it knows what something means - but the assumptions are not based on experience, just hear-say. Inevitably, missmatches occur. This is not helped by people on the MoD side also seeming not to be well versed in some of this things they are asked to do. Deliberate deception? Actually, I've found (usually) everyone genuinely wants to do their best but, when the blind are leading the blind, things will creep past. The solution is probably unaffordable/Holy Grail-type stuff. But "Risk" estimates should build this factor in somehow.

Does H 'n' H have the answers? Hell, if you look at my Bank Balance, you'd realise not! I'd be a rich SOAB if I had!
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 15:54
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
In which case, it's for the Secretary of State for Defence and his Ministers to lead any such review.
If memory serves, all Ministers in the MOD have a military background, including Mr. Wallace, himself. They will therefore have a more realistic idea of the needs of the Services to prevent wastage. The Department has wasted billions in cancelled projects and delay, it can't continue but it must be looked at by those who know what they're doing.

Cummings was good for BREXIT (I may be biased) but he is not a smart choice for something so critical to our way of life.
Iím afraid I disagree completely with your thoughts on the military backgrounds of MOD ministers. There are very few individuals in the military with the breadth of knowledge that would be useful to a minister and most of them are very senior officers of the sort who donít tend to reappear as politicians. Having been a major or a lieutenant 10 or 15 years ago is damn near irrelevant and perhaps even risks bringing out-of-date preconceived ideas into an environment of perpetual inter-service rivalry. To be fair, most ex-military ministers are keenly aware of this and play down their service.

As to Cummings, well, I tend to agree that he wonít get very far with an acquisition review. But thatís not where I think the problem lies. The problem is in how the National Security apparatus (which includes the MOD, Cabinet Office, security services, FCO and No10) strategises, plans and prioritises. What is Britainís place in the world? What do we need our forces to be able to do? What can we afford them to do, at what readiness and from what industrial base? Those are more political than military questions and Cummings, a disciple of Bismarck, understands that implicitly. The last couple of Defence reviews have not grappled properly with them, being more about electioneering (eg Army of 82,000), balancing the books (2010) and balancing single-service interests (2015).

Sir Mark Sedwill tried to crack this nut with his National Security Capabilities Review but Theresa May was too weak to prevent Gavin Williamson from splitting Defence off into its own completely inconsequential mini-review last year. The difference now is that Cummings has carte blanche to come in and call the Emperor (or Admiral or industry CEO...) naked, while having been thought likely to go to Washington as Ambassador, Sedwill is now staying put and reportedly on the same page as Cummings. Having those two working together puts paid to any notion of institutional resistance by MOD. And there are military people in the Department who positively welcome the opportunity for a long-overdue rinse through of exactly what we need and what we get from the billions we spend on Defence. Bring it on, I say.
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 08:39
  #108 (permalink)  
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"Times" trailing another £1 Bn overspend at the MoD - I'm beginning to see a pattern here - someone at the paper is clearly being fed all sorts of views and news to "set the scene" for the SDR

Shirley not Mr Cummings?
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 10:52
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HM The Queen has just announced an integrated foreign policy, defence and security review in her speech at the state opening of Parliament. So, just a little bit bigger than DE&S process...
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 11:53
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post
HM The Queen has just announced an integrated foreign policy, defence and security review in her speech at the state opening of Parliament. So, just a little bit bigger than DE&S process...
........ and that in itself could be very interesting as, often, the decisions taken in other areas result in changes which then DE&S and the Services (and Industry) have to rapidly gather up and stuff into a programme and make work - somehow. Again, individuals at the production level want to make things work and deliver (and sometimes stumble over) but, often, the curve-balls in from one or other wing means that the carefully planned shot at the goal needs to be hastily replanned. So the well-rehearsed, "low-risk", sure-footed strike into the net becomes a major but rather unseemly "high risk" scramble, sliding about in the mud and having to use the wrong foot to beat the goalie ahead of the Refs whistle which is about to be blown as the match has just been cut short by 10 minutes. The problems are really at both the macro and micro levels - always have been. The answer? Nah, Bank Account still empty - H 'n' H has still not found the answer!
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 16:12
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
Cummings was good for BREXIT (I may be biased) but he is not a smart choice for something so critical to our way of life.
Our economy is not critical but defense is? Good luck with that viewpoint.

Cumming is part of the deal we voted for, like it or lump it, its too late to get picky.

https://dominiccummings.com/an-index...ticles-papers/

Last edited by peter we; 19th Dec 2019 at 16:57.
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 18:19
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by peter we View Post
Our economy is not critical but defense is? Good luck with that viewpoint.

Cumming is part of the deal we voted for, like it or lump it, its too late to get picky.
Is that the Royal WE, Peter?

OAP
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 20:13
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post
HM The Queen has just announced an integrated foreign policy, defence and security review in her speech at the state opening of Parliament. So, just a little bit bigger than DE&S process...
Foreign policy as well? Interesting.

Iran's about to buy a bunch of WMDs then..........allegedly.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 07:25
  #114 (permalink)  
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I hope any review starts with the idea that the UK can't go and fight the Iranians, or the Chinese. These are manifestations of believing the UK still has an Empire.

What will be needed is a lot of Fisheries Protection vessels to keep Spanish fisherman at bay and illegal migrants coming from a France that will be less motivated to help
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 12:15
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Direct quote from Ben Wallace outside the House of Commons just now'

"The military will have to cut it's cloth to meet it's ambitions."

There you have it, another Tory Options for change, Front Line First, Defence Costs Study capability cutting review is on the way and they've only just got back to the house!

With the fifth largest economy on the planet and one of the largest defence budgets in the world we still cannot maintain the hugely reduced capabilities we have. The MoD budget must be one of the most scandalous examples of waste of taxpayers money ever. Dominic Cummings will have his work cut out.

So all you Tory voters, how many capability(s) do you think you will lose first and what will they be.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 12:47
  #116 (permalink)  
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"The military will have to cut it's cloth to meet it's ambitions."

and there was me thinking it was the Politicians who keep banging on about freedom of movement in the S China Sea and taking on the Chinese and opening bases in the Gulf again............... and it was clearly the Top Brass all the time...........
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 13:59
  #117 (permalink)  

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"The military will have to cut it's cloth to meet it's ambitions."
Is it just me who thinks that statement doesn't make sense? Surely one cuts one's cloth, or ambitions, to meet one's purse.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 14:36
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Direct quote from Ben Wallace outside the House of Commons just now'

"The military will have to cut it's cloth to meet it's ambitions."

There you have it, another Tory Options for change, Front Line First, Defence Costs Study capability cutting review is on the way and they've only just got back to the house!

With the fifth largest economy on the planet and one of the largest defence budgets in the world we still cannot maintain the hugely reduced capabilities we have. The MoD budget must be one of the most scandalous examples of waste of taxpayers money ever. Dominic Cummings will have his work cut out.

So all you Tory voters, how many capability(s) do you think you will lose first and what will they be.

Well, you lefties weaponised the NHS, forcing the Conservatives to enshrine a whopping £34Bn in law - an utterly ridiculous sum that wasn't needed, which could have partly gone on defence. But here we are.....

The point is that we have a finite budget and political pressure should not be the single decider on how money is spent, if we want to avoid damaging cuts to vital services such as Defence.

Last edited by BVRAAM; 20th Dec 2019 at 16:35.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 14:45
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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I'd settle for working heating after the second winter without any at work.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 15:48
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Asturias56 and Herod - agreed. SofSís statement (as quoted) was nonsensical, which rather confirms my earlier point about a military background not being a reliable indicator of ministerial competence. It doesn't bode well for coherence of the supposed integrated review; the level of ambition should be certainly be dictated to MOD by Government and the HM Treasury-supplied cloth is cut into service-sized chunks by MOD, not the services themselves. If SofS thinks the services are guilty of pursuing their own narrow interests, he is more than capable of constraining them should he wish to do so.

On the other hand, perhaps SofS is just playing cynical politics, setting the services up to be seen as cutting themselves so that the Government doesn't have to take the blame. I can easily imagine Cummings spinning a line such as 'the Army actively wanted to reduce its headcount to 60,000 due to recent advances in training methods and equipment automation' and ruthlessly discrediting any retired general who dared to disagree...

Last edited by Easy Street; 20th Dec 2019 at 16:45.
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