UKMOD sets out plans to ensure investment in state-of-the-art defence equipment

The Gov­ern­ment has set out its plans to pri­ori­tise invest­ment in Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, in order to ensure the UK’s Armed Forces con­tin­ue to have state-of-the-art tech­nol­o­gy, equip­ment and sup­port, in a White Paper pub­lished today.


Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The inten­tion to sus­tain Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy spend­ing at 1.2 per cent of MOD’s total annu­al bud­get has been stat­ed in the Gov­ern­ment White Paper ‘Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Through Tech­nol­o­gy’. This new pol­i­cy paper sets out how the Gov­ern­ment will pro­vide the best equip­ment for our Armed Forces and Secu­ri­ty Ser­vices and achieve best val­ue for mon­ey for UK tax­pay­ers. It pro­vides clear prin­ci­ples that will under­pin the rela­tion­ship with indus­try as the MOD invests more than £150bn in mil­i­tary equip­ment over the next decade. See the White Paper ‘Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Through Tech­nol­o­gy: Tech­nol­o­gy, Equip­ment, and Sup­port for UK Defence and Secu­ri­ty’, as well as the accom­pa­ny­ing Con­sul­ta­tion Sum­ma­ry Paper, at Relat­ed Links. The White Paper fol­lows a com­mit­ment in the Strate­gic Defence and Secu­ri­ty Review to out­line the Government’s future approach to work­ing with the Defence and Secu­ri­ty indus­tries. It has been devel­oped joint­ly by MOD and the Home Office, fol­low­ing exten­sive con­sul­ta­tion, and includes plans to: 

  • pro­tect the essen­tial Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy bud­get — to ensure our Armed Forces con­tin­ue to have state-of-the-art tech­nol­o­gy, equip­ment, and sup­port. The MOD is pri­ori­tis­ing invest­ment in Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy (S&T) and the White Paper states the Government’s inten­tion to halt years of decline in spend­ing on Defence S&T by main­tain­ing spend at least at the cur­rent 1.2 per cent of MOD’s bud­get, spend­ing over £400m each year. 
  • pro­vide sup­port for exports — the Defence Sec­tor is vital to the suc­cess of the UK econ­o­my. The MOD will help all UK-based sup­pli­ers obtain export orders and pro­mote prod­ucts abroad while pro­tect­ing our own secu­ri­ty and our core val­ues of human rights and democ­ra­cy. Min­is­ters will be close­ly involved in sup­port­ing Defence and Secu­ri­ty exports, exporta­bil­i­ty will be built into new acqui­si­tion require­ments, co-ordi­na­tion across gov­ern­ment will be improved, and new arrange­ments devel­oped to pro­vide the train­ing that over­seas cus­tomers often seek. 
  • encour­age Small and Medi­um-sized Enter­pris­es (SMEs) — these are cur­rent­ly award­ed 42 per cent of MOD’s equip­ment con­tracts (worth almost £1bn per year) and many more con­tribute to Defence and Secu­ri­ty pro­grammes as sub­con­trac­tors. The new mea­sures in the White Paper will make it eas­i­er for small­er con­trac­tors to com­pete for gov­ern­ment ten­ders, help them to devel­op new prod­ucts, and pro­vide expert advice to help them export. 

Min­is­ter for Defence Equip­ment, Sup­port and Tech­nol­o­gy, Peter Luff, said: 

“Our Armed Forces must con­tin­ue to have inno­v­a­tive, high-tech­nol­o­gy equip­ment to give them a bat­tle-win­ning edge, so we will sup­port the devel­op­ment of defence tech­nol­o­gy direct­ly and pro­tect the amount we spend. 

“We had to take tough deci­sions to tack­le the £38bn black hole this Gov­ern­ment inher­it­ed, but we are now close to achiev­ing a sus­tain­able and bal­anced bud­get for the first time in decades. 

“This will mean we can start order­ing new equip­ment for the Armed Forces with con­fi­dence and will help pro­vide the clar­i­ty indus­try needs to invest in the right areas. 

“We plan to spend over £150bn on defence equip­ment over the next ten years. We will strong­ly sup­port respon­si­ble exports, increas­ing the mar­ket oppor­tu­ni­ties for all Defence and Secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies and encour­ag­ing them to invest in the UK

“If we can save mon­ey and get the capa­bil­i­ty now rather than lat­er, our bud­gets will go fur­ther and the coun­try will be bet­ter defended. 

“Britain’s small­er busi­ness­es are the breed­ing ground of gen­uine inno­va­tion, devel­op­ing new tech­nolo­gies that pro­vide our front line forces with bat­tle-win­ning advan­tage. Last year the MOD spent almost £1bn direct­ly with small­er busi­ness­es and we want to see that fig­ure grow. 

“We will strength­en the abil­i­ty of small­er firms to com­pete for Defence and Secu­ri­ty con­tracts, mak­ing sure their inno­va­tion is ful­ly tapped.” 

The Home Office’s Crime and Secu­ri­ty Min­is­ter, James Bro­ken­shire, said: 

“Nation­al secu­ri­ty is the first pri­or­i­ty of the Gov­ern­ment and we want our counter-ter­ror and law enforce­ment agen­cies to have the best capa­bil­i­ties and expertise. 

“The rec­om­men­da­tions in the White Paper will help us assist UK-based sup­pli­ers in obtain­ing export orders and increas­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for Small and Medi­um-sized Enterprises. 

“A healthy and com­pet­i­tive UK secu­ri­ty indus­try — build­ing on our expe­ri­ence host­ing the Olympic Games — will help con­tribute to growth and sup­port our nation­al secu­ri­ty objectives.” 

The White Paper, along with the MOD’s ten-year equip­ment plan — to be pub­lished lat­er this year — will set out in detail the mil­i­tary equip­ment pro­gramme the Gov­ern­ment will under­take and how we will work with industry. 

The White Paper dis­cuss­es the under­ly­ing con­cepts of sov­er­eign­ty and explains how future inter­na­tion­al acqui­si­tion pro­grammes will be set up, empha­sis­ing the Government’s pref­er­ence for bilat­er­al pro­grammes wher­ev­er possible. 

It also exam­ines the future of gov­ern­ment in-house and sci­ence capa­bil­i­ties, inter­na­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tion on Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, and wider gov­ern­ment action to address the skills agenda. 

Recog­nis­ing the wider impact that gov­ern­ment spend­ing choic­es on Defence and Secu­ri­ty can have, it announces the estab­lish­ment of a new min­is­te­r­i­al work­ing group to co-ordi­nate the cross-gov­ern­ment aspects of the new approach. 

This White Paper is part of a broad­er approach to defence trans­for­ma­tion which encom­pass­es Lord Currie’s review of Gov­ern­ment Sin­gle Source Pric­ing Reg­u­la­tions and the Materiel Strat­e­gy, which will trans­form the MOD’s equip­ment-buy­ing pro­ce­dures, mak­ing them more cost-effec­tive and efficient. 

Already the MOD has intro­duced a num­ber of mea­sures to help SMEs: 

  • to enable firms to meet poten­tial bid­ders, the Next Gen­er­a­tion Estate Con­tracts Team is run­ning spe­cial net­work­ing ses­sions and has cre­at­ed an online ‘Poten­tial Bid­ders Direc­to­ry’ which pro­vides con­tact details for organ­i­sa­tions with a reg­is­tered inter­est in each con­tract, so that SMEs may approach them. 
  • we now adver­tise low­er val­ue con­tracts, which may be more attrac­tive to SMEs, on the Con­tracts Find­er website. 
  • we have revised inter­nal guid­ance to ensure that SMEs are not reject­ed on the basis of rigid turnover-to-con­tract val­ue ratios with­out prop­er assess­ment of their actu­al capac­i­ty and potential. 
  • a ded­i­cat­ed SME group in the new Defence Sup­pli­ers Forum has been cre­at­ed, chaired by a MOD Min­is­ter, to pro­vide a bet­ter ‘voice’ for small suppliers. 
  • the Cen­tre for Defence Enter­prise has suc­cess­ful­ly pro­vid­ed access to the Defence for Inno­va­tion SMEs, and this White Paper builds on this to broad­en its remit to cov­er secu­ri­ty and seek ways to pro­vide even more sup­port to SMEs, par­tic­u­lar­ly in bring­ing poten­tial prod­ucts to market. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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