Procuring Defence

Over the past few days a number of influential players from the Defence and Maritime sectors have expressed concerns in regards to the UK’s defence and security spending.

Whilst the government might have taken U-turns in other parts of the economy, it is not about to do so in defence.

UK Defence is no just about fighting wars in Afghanistan but also about protection of our trade routes on the high seas and in the air. The Government is sticking fast to the inflexible formula of running competition for all types and scopes of defence procurement.

Whilst this formula works well for routine commodity buying, it has proved to be most inapplicable in many cases where complex equipment has to be acquired and supported through life with the support of industry.

If industry is to be given the right incentives to invest, and if necessary maintain the necessary equipment, the correct conditions must exist.

What will happen now, if the Treasury has its way, is that umpteen millions of our money will continue to be wasted on the administration of competitive procurement.

Industry will be given no real incentive to participate, the lowest price will win and the more responsible, committed and necessary defence contractors will go and seek business elsewhere.

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Artist’s impression of the future courtesy of The Royal Navy

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Mark Lowe, Sunday 18 September 2011

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