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"Broken" MoD Procurement "wasting billions"

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"Broken" MoD Procurement "wasting billions"

Old 3rd Nov 2021, 19:01
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post
the fundamental problem is the mismatch between aspiration and resource.
All true. But the problem is also that no committee (PAC, HCDC, etc.) ever takes the next step, setting out what's meant to happen, and what actually happens.

Who has the aspirations, and who makes materiel and financial provision (the resource)? And what is the mechanism by which they speak to each other, and produce a viable equipment programme (or whatever it's called this week)?

It may surprise some that both are Service jobs. Nothing to do with procurers, who are given the output. Importantly, if you have not done at least one of these jobs (as a civilian or serviceman) BEFORE being promoted to the most junior grade in procurement, you are at a distinct disadvantage. This is the answer to the question I posed above on ASaC Mk7. The PM had done both jobs many years before as a sprog, and was able to cope with the RN's HQ withdrawing all support from the programme, and around 60% of it being unendorsed or funded. (Think about that). The pivotal point in the programme was DOR(Sea) inviting the PM to act as RN Customer 2, with authority to speak for the RN, and state its requirement.

So, the system can work, but you need to avoid parachuting people into unfamiliar posts based on their rank or status. Chinook Mk3 is a good example. Nimrod MRA4 was slightly different. The correct people were there, they were just ignored, as rank can never be wrong. And there is a tendency to forget that a civilian engineering project manager is required to be able to do EVERY job in the team, but this is not applied to servicemen or non-engineers. Again, there is a disconnect between this rule and reality, with the ASaC job perhaps being the last example on a major programme.

Having accepted the evidence of all this, Mr Haddon-Cave's recommendations were excellent, although mostly mandated policy anyway. One day MoD will get round to implementing them, but not soon.
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Old 3rd Nov 2021, 19:28
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I would suggest that if you have service personnel having longer than the usual 2 year tours, you would find a lot of PVRs as that’s not really why they joined up. A longer time in post is almost certainly what is needed though.

As is proper specifications in the first place. Many a time I’ve been evolved in projects where the customer has wanted ‘something’ but we’re not quite sure as to what and left the supplier to spec it because they are the experts. What happens then, is one company gives them exactly what they need and the other company offers something considerably cheaper but exclude most of the things required (BAES?). They get the contact as it’s perceived ‘best value’ knowing full well that they will bump up the price when the excluded is included.

Worse is that they end up providing the finished product at a much higher price than the original company that offered it all up front and much much later.
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Old 3rd Nov 2021, 20:18
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Originally Posted by Saintsman View Post
I would suggest that if you have service personnel having longer than the usual amount 2 tours, you would find a lot of PVRs as that’s not really why they joined up. A longer time in post is almost certainly what is needed though.
I find that surprising. Single personnel early in their career maybe, but once people start a family a longer tour length is less stressful. I left my PC at my 38/16 option point because my family life had become extremely difficult. A major factor was uncertainty caused by constantly changing short tour lengths….but also because on three occasions I was told how my career for the next few years was going to run, only for it to be changed again at very short notice, more than once to the benefit of others who seemed to live a charmed life when it came to preferential postings.
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Old 3rd Nov 2021, 21:03
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'Bob Viking' - I was thinking more of aeronautical design engineers and production engineers, supervising from a project engineering/management perspective. RAF engineering officers are more oriented towards maintaining the operational equipment, not generally towards design. Of course good design should include listening to & taking on board, where possible, the views of the operational engineers. (A very common users complaint in all spheres is that designers don't think enough about the ****y maintenance aspects.)
These are quite different disciplines - and several disciplines of engineers will be involved in the design and construction, just as in maintenance. The views of the direct users, the aircrew, should also be of interest of course, for similar reasons - the designers may well not understand operational challenges as well as they'd like.

Any significant engineering project involves a lot of compromises.- that is one of the major challenges of project engineering, trying to find the best practical balance of compromises. This also means disappointing as few people as possible, you hope ! (Virtually no-one will be totally happy, especially the main design engineers. They can always see the opportunities they had to forego because of lack of time, lack of information or lack of cash. That's engineering.)

I hope that helps.

I am glad there is now some comment on the two year tour. It has long seemed to me a most inefficient way to run the organisation, given the length of time required to get properly up to speed on any complex operation and the lead time involved in making effective changes. For much of my engineering career three to four year tours of duty were the norm, except where 'hardship' postings were involved. Those were either shorter by design or compensated otherwise.
Do many of today's RAF personnel really want to move every two years? Where to - there aren't the wide choices there once were!
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Old 3rd Nov 2021, 21:56
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My intro. to MOD(PE) ,as it was in the early 70's, was a three day course run by the Civil Service, which appeared to concentrate on claiming allowances (most of which were not available to a serving RAF officer !). The rest of the two and a half year tour in central London (with many visits to contractors) was interesting but very frustrating,as many of the contractors ideas/offers were ignored/rejected by my Civil Service bosses. Many of the reasons I understood - many others appeared to to have little or no sense behind them (and cost the taxpayer a considerable amount of money!). This was the early days of MRCA/Tornado simulators.

Bill
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Old 3rd Nov 2021, 22:38
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Item 7 page 10

For example, it is procuring considerably fewer Ajax armoured vehicles and Challenger 3 tanks than it identified it needed in earlier assessments, as well as fewer P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and Type 26 frigates
Interesting, is that the first public admission that 9 MR aircraft is too few?
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Old 4th Nov 2021, 13:17
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This is a multi faceted issue. the 2 year rotation is a weakness but it could also be a bonus, in that if you get a complete bell-end in post or as your boss, you know they will be gone in due course.

The real issue here is that DE&S has no commercial imperative to get the job done efficiently and effectively. I have witnessed first hand, comments from those in the sheds at Bristol, 'That's 5 year's work that is'. They are career civil servants with little reward or imperative for doing the job well and equally, no implications for getting it wrong. Most of them would have been sacked in a commercial organisation. Many a time those contractors say they could do the job tomorrow, on cost and on time but they are often the ones who throw the towel in from frustration or do not get selected in favour of the lowest compliant bid. I realise I am generalising here but the report and those that were written before it, right back to the days of Samuel Pepys, shows that Military procurement is broken and only during times of crisis, when the bureaucracy, prevarication, delay and stubbornness of those civil servants can be bypassed, do projects like SeaKing ASaCS get delivered. There will be many of those VSOs and others who were totally frustrated in their efforts to do the right thing.

I seem to recall a suggestion that procurement be given to the likes of KPMG or Deloittes. Sack the lot of them and bring it on.


Edited: I did recall it in Bernard Gray's report
Bernard Gray has set out a number of options for the future of DE&S: the status quo, a trading fund, an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (ENDPB) with a private sector partner and a Government-Owned Contractor-Operated organisation (GoCo). These options were presented to Minister in December 2011
.

https://publications.parliament.uk/p...dfence/9/9.pdf
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 12:58
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The really dispiriting thing is that it's a certainty that a similar report will come out in 10-15 years saying exactly the same thing. Repeat ad infinitum.
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 13:33
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DoD Program Management review from 2011.


https://dbb.defense.gov/Portals/35/D...ers_2011-4.pdf
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 13:54
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Widger


Originally Posted by Widger View Post
'That's 5 year's work that is'.
Have a look at the Jonathan Bayliss thread. The RAF has taken over 3.5 years to do a few days work on a critical safety risk, and DE&S haven't seen an endorsed requirement yet.

But I'm being kind. The system is deliberately set up so that if the RAF doesn't do its job correctly, a named individual in the project team is trained to do it and does so without being told.

It is also set up so that if the above MoD staff don't, or won't, do their job, the Design Authority can commit MoD funding without seeking approval.

Multi-faceted, I agree. But it's not rocket science and the regulations and procedures are set out very clearly. I suspect the incumbents simply don't know their job or that these rules exist. But even then, there is common sense. Where does the fault lie? Sacking them all won't help, as everyone has failed. Sacking those with oversight, and who have made formal declarations that all this is working? Yes. Quickly.
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Old 6th Nov 2021, 11:29
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Little thread drift...sorry

Interesting, is that the first public admission that 9 MR aircraft is too few?
That caught my eye too. Leaving aside grammatical interpretations as to what they are or are not implying here, it does reflect the reality that what in 1995 was going to take 24 aircraft (and 21 after some turn of the century smoke and mirrors accounting practices) now needs only 9. I am of course aware of force multiplier factors, but then Nimrod 2000 AKA Nimrod MRA4 had heaps of them too did it not??? (Well, the folk building it told me that to my face at BAE in May 1998).

Given that it's not just airframes, its human resource too, one suspects the such things as SAR, 6 hour Stby etc have all long since been reinvented (as indeed they needed to be - no dinosaur here), one can but hope some of the PITA strains on the aircrew cadre, like losing folk for a ****ing month long guard commander duty, have been **** canned too as the bodies can no longer be spared.

No doubt the job will very different, but maybe it will nearer to the what we had in the seventies and eighties (in terms of operational flying and doing the job which we were trained to do and which we loved) than all **** we endured in the nineties.

tl/dr If the scarcity of maritime aircraft and crews means the folk on them will spend more time in the air and less time being *****ggered about on the ground, it will great and I'm insanely jealous.



Have fun and sorry for the thread drift
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Old 6th Nov 2021, 22:56
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Originally Posted by EESDL View Post
So - Leonardo have been pushing an O&G machine painted black and calling it a mil-spec helicopter - that has yet to start out on the military specification journey and only meets 50% of KURs required by Army. The price will be eye-watering for a basic airframe and long-term costs will no doubt be significantly higher and designed to extract the pi55.
Political blackmail raises its ugly head and we end up ordering brand new helicopters for a ‘stop-gap’ measure that will be over before they are up-to-speed - with the promise of an overseas company pumping billions into SW of England which, if previous history repeats itself, will never arrive.
all the while there is the option of purchasing updated ‘pre-loved’ alternative that is battle proven, out performs the new guys, half the price and can be produced in UK - and we still wonder why procurement is in a state??
Here’s an idea, why not buy a type still in production that we know would suit requirements

AS332 Super Puma H215
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Old 7th Nov 2021, 07:53
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doesn't keep the development and sales teams in business!

Look at the B-52 - 60+ years service and they'd probably buy more if the line was still open
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Old 7th Nov 2021, 17:21
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Here’s an idea, why not buy a type still in production that we know would suit requirements

AS332 Super Puma H215
Likely too big for the requirement, which also includes three smaller types. That's why Airbus is now focused on H175M, despite earlier touting possibility of both NH90 and H225M.
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Old 7th Nov 2021, 22:36
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Originally Posted by EESDL View Post
So - Leonardo have been pushing an O&G machine painted black and calling it a mil-spec helicopter - that has yet to start out on the military specification journey and only meets 50% of KURs required by Army. The price will be eye-watering for a basic airframe and long-term costs will no doubt be significantly higher and designed to extract the pi55.
Political blackmail raises its ugly head and we end up ordering brand new helicopters for a ‘stop-gap’ measure that will be over before they are up-to-speed - with the promise of an overseas company pumping billions into SW of England which, if previous history repeats itself, will never arrive.
all the while there is the option of purchasing updated ‘pre-loved’ alternative that is battle proven, out performs the new guys, half the price and can be produced in UK - and we still wonder why procurement is in a state??
AW149 is a mil-spec helicopter originally designed to meet a (Turkish) military requirement. It is in military service with Thailand and Egypt.

The Egyptian AW149s have even operated from their Mistral-class carriers.

So how exactly does this aircraft still need to start a milspec journey?

And since the MoD have thus far failed to issue a requirement, which are the 50% of KURs that it doesn't meet?

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Old 9th Nov 2021, 07:28
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Can only speak for light blue, but 3 yr tours now. Still not ideal as takes 6 months to get up to speed!
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Old 9th Nov 2021, 11:36
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"Broken" MoD Procurement "wasting billions"

This has all come as a terrible shock
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Old 9th Nov 2021, 17:53
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Ohhh dear, there goes some of the budget, MOD fined

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/mod-...hout-approval/
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Old 9th Nov 2021, 18:06
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Ohhh dear, there went some of the budget, MOD fined six years ago.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/mod-...hout-approval/
Fixed. Free of charge.
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Old 9th Nov 2021, 20:02
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Good God, it was posted on the site just recently
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