DE & S

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by goatbagthedruid, Jan 25, 2011.

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  1. DE & S is good for some things but bad for others. The UOR process is delivering high quality capability for defence in a timely manner; normal procurement is really slow (partly dues to a slavish devotion to an extended but poorly defined process). There are some good people there with excellent skills but the system they work in fosters a poor work ethos.

    How could we improve it? What processes could be removed or introduced? Do the military there add value?



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  2. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    Remove the requirement for every decision with even the smallest impact on safety to be referred to QinetiQ for an 'independent' (read expensive & time consuming) opinion ....
  3. Remove procurement bullshit such as SOSA (system of systems approach - yes really - google it for the presentation!)

    There is some good brain power in the system, but its effect is lost by not being able to explain in plain english intents and goals
  4. I think there is an issue with understanding the value of money; DE & S operate in such quantities that the DE & S CoC forget what is reasonable to spend on contractors (the going rate is more that a 2* a day) and individual items of kit (which the defence industry exploit - items are so expensive that DE & S become oblivious to costs).

    Agreed that the processes are painful.


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    Twitter: @goatbagthedruid
  5. Four thoughts based on no knowledge of the institution but using what are to me basic business principles.

    1) Put a military head in charge of each programme and keep him there from start to finish. Explain to him that his future career will be judged on his performance in this role. Ideally make his next command role to use what he has obtained.

    2) Allow such military head to treat the project as a mission, with the same level of supervision he would get in a field command on operations.

    3) Always examine the 'off the shelf' option.

    4) Always have competition [yes you could get a Trident boat built in the US]
    • Like Like x 3
  6. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    A view from the other end of the M4:

    The first problem is one of attitude. Despite the myriad of reports and mass of evidence to the contrary, DES still think that they are doing a damn fine job. The fact that even the rest of the MOD thinks they are pretty useless has not affected them in the slightest. This is in part a result of…….

    …..remoteness. They are simply too far away from Whitehall, and that limits the number of people willing to work there. Apart from the Military (who have no choice) and young fast stream CS, anyone who works there is there for life. This does nothing to ensure that they are actually part of the MOD. Ministers are just an embuggerance, instead of being the people who should - and must – give them direction and actually tell them what to do. they are part of the MOd, not just the DES.

    Third – UORs work well, but are far from being a panacea. They do not always result in best VFM, they limit the ability to conduct research into an activity before buying a ‘solution’, and they result in a plethora of different/uncodified equipments being brought into service, raising all sorts of fun for the supply and maintenance sides.

    Good things are happening though – the new CDM will grip things, of that I have no doubt. Whether he’ll be allowed to GOCO it is doubtful (as yet), but the change is going to come.

    Finally – the DES attitude was summed up nicely at a recent meeting, when it was stated by a senior DES chap (is response to a question regarding support for Afghan Main Effort) that Afghanistan was not the main effort for DES. Their main effort is core business – in other words, being the DES. The fact that SofS, PUS, CDS, etc. have repeatedly stated that Afghan Ops were the ME for the Department makes no impact in AW. Good luck, Mr Gray, you’ll need it :)

    Oh, and we can’t buy nuclear Subs from the USA – that one’s a non-starter, for many reasons. Sorry!
  7. 1. Reward them better so we get higher quality indivisduals; the project we are working alongside has 3 types; the very young and inexperienced, the middleaged, have been there for ever and couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery or the passed over ex-soldier who was passed over for a very good reason. Any good ones invariably leave to get a better paid job or are promted out the project into somting more exciting.

    2. Stop managing all project as stove pipes, defence is full of equipment that cannot use the same spares, fuel ammo, software as the kit it works alongside, probably costing us £££s. It also keeps another load more of DE&S in employment than we would need if we were more intelligent in our approach.

    3. Employ people whio are better at standing up to Industry and getting more recompense when things start to increase in time or cost. And yes I do know that this is not all indusrties fault and that the MoD has a lrge part of the blame in this.
    • Like Like x 1

  8. But are they valid reasons or just self serving excuses, because to me the only valid reason would be the US won't sell them, which I doubt since they sell us the missiles.
  9. Some very good points above.

    I would agree that good, consistant leadership is key, and especially in the case of the military SO2/SO1/Project Team Leader. The current process of rushed (or non-existant) handover, followed by a year-long learning exercise, hurried decision-making then handover is doing no-one any favours. We need the right people for the job (and I contend that many 1/2 ROs recommendaing their subjects for procurement do not know what that is), to stay in post for the right length of time...and we need an MS process that does not penalise them for staying in one place to get a job done.

    I would also suggest that 'smart procurement'has engendered a culture of doing only what it says on the 'requirements' tin - to time and cost - without any incentive to add value by asking "is this really what we need?" or "could we do better?"


    Many of the issues in procurement have nothing to do with DE&S, and everything to do with user requirements. Until the services can get those right, we will continue to blame the messenger when the kit delivered fails to meet unrealistic, flawed and contradictory expectations. The whole reason we have a hodge-potch of UORs is because as far as capability planning asumptions go, those pieces of kit are not required for anything other than the temporary aberation of current operation. All that whizzy battle-winning kit we use right now, is not assumed to be core capability, and there are going to be some very red faces when we end up selling/binning it post 2015.

    Why is this so? Because no-one wants to jepeordise any of their flashy pet projects with 'future' in the name.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Just out of interest who does write the URS for e.g. the next infantry battle bus?
  11. The answer is not an easy one, and if you are bored you can try reading this:
    Introduction to Requirements and Acceptance (R&A) » Requirements and Acceptance » Acquisition Operating Framework (AOF)

    For your example (which is probably FRES UV), Cap GM (formally DEC(GM)) would probably take the lead in ownership of the requirement, in consultation with other stakeholders - e.g. LAND, DInf etc...
  12. How about a Year Zero approach? Start from scratch.

    The conundrum I'm grappling with is how the US could create Cougar/Mastiff in 6 Months (and see how that has expanded)and yet the UK tolerates FRES at 7+ years from BAe.

    What are we missing or is there going to be a saga similar to Bulldog when AFG closes?
  13. The US did not create Cougar/Mastiff in 6 months.

    The Mastiff was an adaption of an existing COTS product (the Cougar). That adaption (which included fitting of comms, ECM, additional armour, PWS etc) itself took about 6-months (with NP Aerospace operating at full tilt) to get the first handful of vehicles into theatre. Many of the decisions were taken on the hoof, and trials time was limited - in fact the whole deployment of the intial tranche could be seen as a trial, and subsequent improvements have been worked onto Mastiff 2/3 (all of which cost money!).

    The Cougar itself had been developed by Force Protection (and its predecesor - TSG) over a number of years - and even then, there has been some controversy as to how much of the design was lifted direct from South Africa.

    A better comparison might be the Ocelot/Foxhound. Initial designs for this platform probably date back to 2008/2009, with a plan to field the first vehicles in service later this year, which is a turnaround time of 2-3 years. The Ocelot is by comparison to FRES SV however, a very simple vehicle, and trying to integrate a complex weapon/ISTAR package on a reworked hull is anything but simple if you want a reliable vehicle.

    If anyone thinks Uncle Sam does it better, try looking up the history of these projects:
    M2/M3 Bradley
    • Like Like x 1
  14. For this bit to mean something you'll have to at least fill out the acronyms and probably explain what the titles actually mean. in the mean time I'll start reading
  15. UV = Utility vehicle (wheeled APC variant of FRES)
    Cap GM = Capability (Ground Manouvre). One of the areas under the 3* leadership of Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability) in MoD Main Building. In other words responsible for Defence Capability in the area of ground manouvre (tanks, guns, body armour etc). The Head of any particluar Capability (in this case GM)is usually a 1* rank.
    DEC(GM) = Director Equipment Capbility (Ground Manouvre). Old name for Cap GM (although technically, DEC was the term for the director - a 1* command)
    DInf - Director Infantry. One of the arms and service directors (very different to the capability directors above in Main Building)
    LAND = HQ Land Command