Changing the army - how?

Of course its the fault of the Loamshires...it's either them or the RLC...they exist to carry the can for all s45t kit they had nothing to with the purchase of....

...besides, the Senior Brass will by now, have gone through the Revolving Door...
It’s not really about the blame game. It’s about recognising that the culture of an organisation that promotes people who lie, bully, obsess about sandwiches, falsify their expenses and fail to deliver needs to be changed.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
True.
But, like so much in UK life, the fact that they do it that way in the USA (and, increasingly the EU for that matter - e.g. Airbus) neither makes it right nor effective. Political involvement in detail of widget making simply adds cost, and causes delay. For mind-bl;owing examples see the offset programmes (a Canadian invention).

It is a sad delusion of government that they can add value to commerce; if widget has export potential the widget manufacturer will have already found it - or decided that it's not worth pursuing until they can protect their technology. Developing a product from scratch to market takes far longer than the life of one government or the career of several ministers or PUS.

BEIS employs about 20,000 people. Quite what they deliver is a mystery.
This goes back to your point that if we're doing the same as everyone else it probably means we're doing the right thing.

The flipside seems to pertain in UK defence. Work-share means being involved in niche products that no-one else wants or buys in order to maintain some illusion of strategic knowledge.

We lost a lot of that knowledge years ago, as is evidenced by the state of many of our current programmes. The army's in-house knowledge was dissipated to 'save money' or because it was 'no longer relevant'.
 
This goes back to your point that if we're doing the same as everyone else it probably means we're doing the right thing.

The flipside seems to pertain in UK defence. Work-share means being involved in niche products that no-one else wants or buys in order to maintain some illusion of strategic knowledge.

We lost a lot of that knowledge years ago, as is evidenced by the state of many of our current programmes. The army's in-house knowledge was dissipated to 'save money' or because it was 'no longer relevant'.
And yet the UK defence industry is in good health. In BAe Systems, we have one of the world’s few genuine Tier 1 defence manufacturers. A company that can manufacture aircraft carriers, submarines, armoured vehicles, fighter aircraft etc etc. But we have a culture of “anyone but British Waste of Space”.

And we have a plethora of innovative, agile SMEs. With few exceptions, there are British companies who can make pretty much anything the Army needs.

What we lack is the intelligent customer capability. It was dispensed with 20 or more years ago and replaced with a phalanx of newly minted post-ICSC Majors who spend far too little time in post to actually develop into a effective intelligent customer capability.

Abbey Wood lacks the capacity (and probably capability) to manage either complex projects or to contract and nurture SMEs. They too have been cut to the bone, so that key project management functions are outsourced to a panel of term contract consultants. And those consultants often lack experience and knowledge.

It’s really not clever.
 
And yet the UK defence industry is in good health. In BAe Systems, we have one of the world’s few genuine Tier 1 defence manufacturers. A company that can manufacture aircraft carriers, submarines, armoured vehicles, fighter aircraft etc etc. But we have a culture of “anyone but British Waste of Space”.

And we have a plethora of innovative, agile SMEs. With few exceptions, there are British companies who can make pretty much anything the Army needs.

What we lack is the intelligent customer capability. It was dispensed with 20 or more years ago and replaced with a phalanx of newly minted post-ICSC Majors who spend far too little time in post to actually develop into a effective intelligent customer capability.

Abbey Wood lacks the capacity (and probably capability) to manage either complex projects or to contract and nurture SMEs. They too have been cut to the bone, so that key project management functions are outsourced to a panel of term contract consultants. And those consultants often lack experience and knowledge.

It’s really not clever.
I am not disagreeing with your comment(s) but regarding your last paragraph I think strongly that every project or Delivery Team need a strong Requirements Manager (RM).

As long as said RM is an absolute SME and not worried about standing up, upsetting the apple cart, and actually giving a toss, he or she can ensure the 'selection and maintenance of the aim' piece and direct the project to its conclusion.

Easy for me to say; especially when you need to fill the RM slot with not only an SME but also one who is willing to possibly 'double tour' or even go into a job that is not (possibly) considered as crunchy as command/Ops/Adt/WTE etc.

Based on my own experiences I very much believe that an RM can punch way above his weight and keep CS and Mil on track to deliver what the User wants. That RM, in my opinion, can satisfy the concerns you rightly highlight in your final para.

It seems that everyone (Army, media, parliament et al) love to mention how poor UK Mil procurement is. My, possibly simplistic, view is to load up and take seriously the role of the RMs in all of this.
 
I am not disagreeing with your comment(s) but regarding your last paragraph I think strongly that every project or Delivery Team need a strong Requirements Manager (RM).

As long as said RM is an absolute SME and not worried about standing up, upsetting the apple cart, and actually giving a toss, he or she can ensure the 'selection and maintenance of the aim' piece and direct the project to its conclusion.

Easy for me to say; especially when you need to fill the RM slot with not only an SME but also one who is willing to possibly 'double tour' or even go into a job that is not (possibly) considered as crunchy as command/Ops/Adt/WTE etc.

Based on my own experiences I very much believe that an RM can punch way above his weight and keep CS and Mil on track to deliver what the User wants. That RM, in my opinion, can satisfy the concerns you rightly highlight in your final para.

It seems that everyone (Army, media, parliament et al) love to mention how poor UK Mil procurement is. My, possibly simplistic, view is to load up and take seriously the role of the RMs in all of this.
My first observation is that UK military procurement is not poor at all. An organisation that can procure, commission and integrate a system of systems as complex as the carriers is the very opposite of poor at procurement.

My second is that across the public sector, private sector and third sector, the success rate of major programmes is at best patchy. Less than 25% complex programmes are delivered on time, budget and quality. IMHO, the MOD has much to shout about in regards to procurement.

Of course there are disasters and failures. We should expect and accept that some programmes fail. Defence procurement is supposed to push the edges of the possible, because that’s how you get equipment overmatch.

What isn’t acceptable is continued failure. It is now over 30 years since the Army successfully procured a core armoured vehicle. And we find ourselves buying a vehicle that was available 20 years ago.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
And yet the UK defence industry is in good health. In BAe Systems, we have one of the world’s few genuine Tier 1 defence manufacturers. A company that can manufacture aircraft carriers, submarines, armoured vehicles, fighter aircraft etc etc. But we have a culture of “anyone but British Waste of Space”.

And we have a plethora of innovative, agile SMEs. With few exceptions, there are British companies who can make pretty much anything the Army needs.

What we lack is the intelligent customer capability. It was dispensed with 20 or more years ago and replaced with a phalanx of newly minted post-ICSC Majors who spend far too little time in post to actually develop into a effective intelligent customer capability.

Abbey Wood lacks the capacity (and probably capability) to manage either complex projects or to contract and nurture SMEs. They too have been cut to the bone, so that key project management functions are outsourced to a panel of term contract consultants. And those consultants often lack experience and knowledge.

It’s really not clever.
Quite. And as a result BAE has unilaterally off-shored itself to the US. There, for one example, it continues to sell evolutions of the United Defense portfolio to the US military (a gross simplification for the sake of brevity...) and be an integral part of the F-35 programme. Elsewhere, it offers to the world working and peer-competent solutions such as the CV90.

Arguably, we don't need the customer capability (starts digging furiously and adding much, much more top cover...). The expertise does exist in industry - and hey, we could always if we wanted to just ape/buy into the expertise of allies (we're not in the position any more to be choosy).

What we really need is strategic direction, as you and others (possibly including me) have noted. It's the direction that should drive the equipment, not the other way round.
 
What we really need is strategic direction, as you and others (possibly including me) have noted. It's the direction that should drive the equipment, not the other way round.
Snipped. Not sure that is true; we should be agile enough to exploit technological advances. Otherwise we end up with, at best, peer equipment capability and rely on human advantage to defeat the enemy.

I’m an unapologetic futurist. We life in a world of such rapid change that we risk being rapidly dislocated by technology. Either we’re at the forefront of that technology (including as a partner) or we take other people’s already dated systems.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Snipped. Not sure that is true; we should be agile enough to exploit technological advances. Otherwise we end up with, at best, peer equipment capability and rely on human advantage to defeat the enemy.

I’m an unapologetic futurist. We life in a world of such rapid change that we risk being rapidly dislocated by technology. Either we’re at the forefront of that technology (including as a partner) or we take other people’s already dated systems.
Strategy should allow that exploitation.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
True, but how?

I mused on the Ajax thread of the need for some sort of skunk works to test this sort of stuff. No idea how to implement it, but we really do need to be better at harnessing the intelligent, innovative people that we have.
I don’t have an answer. Perhaps others can add.

What does come to mind is that successful development in a lot of the spheres I work in depends on agility and ‘fail fast, fail small’.

There’s difference between that and just dancing about, and I appreciate that such as AFV development may be different.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
True, but how?

I mused on the Ajax thread of the need for some sort of skunk works to test this sort of stuff. No idea how to implement it
If only there was a book written by the guy who ran Skunk works about how to implement it. Or if only these big Defence companies had had their own Skunk works back in the day. Oh wait! Both of those happened. They were called "Skunk works", and "Skunk works".

Not much of that book echoes what you've written on here, by the way. Sure, part of the problem is the customer, but another part of the problem is that too many in the modern Defence corporations think they know best, despite also having a recent history of costly failures.
 
My first observation is that UK military procurement is not poor at all. An organisation that can procure, commission and integrate a system of systems as complex as the carriers is the very opposite of poor at procurement.

My second is that across the public sector, private sector and third sector, the success rate of major programmes is at best patchy. Less than 25% complex programmes are delivered on time, budget and quality. IMHO, the MOD has much to shout about in regards to procurement.

Of course there are disasters and failures. We should expect and accept that some programmes fail. Defence procurement is supposed to push the edges of the possible, because that’s how you get equipment overmatch.

What isn’t acceptable is continued failure. It is now over 30 years since the Army successfully procured a core armoured vehicle. And we find ourselves buying a vehicle that was available 20 years ago.
Just for clarity I was not saying that UK military procurement is poor. I was referring to the knocking it gets from others either in the military but not connected to acquisition or MSM etc.

I spent a few years working for one of the cap branches in MB before the re-structure as well as in DE&S in procurement.

I know the good side too.
 

Cyberhacker

War Hero
5.1. Addressing the mismatch between resources and ambition will require creative approaches to selecting mobility options

Note: this is not a bullet point, but a whole section heading! At least they're not afraid at highlighting this particular elephant in the room!
 
Note: this is not a bullet point, but a whole section heading! At least they're not afraid at highlighting this particular elephant in the room!

Or as was previously know - Ambitions & capabilities, don't get them mixed up

I think by 2040 we will be down to about 6k Infantry - A couple of 56 seater coaches will probably suffice.
 

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