Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by msr, Sep 19, 2008.
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So, how much of the MOD's budget was actually spent last year? Was there anything left?
Do you know and this is a guess thing or are you asking?
I expect it was all spent, there is a lot of moving about of budgets, a few long term projects had their budgets for the next couple of year moved into other projects (UORs) to make up the money, this means that some larger projects had numbers cut, or they've been shelved for 12 months to move that budget into the 2007/08 figures.
Money is getting spent at a phenomenol rate on UORs just now, and there's a lot of good kit coming through the system in some seriously short timescales.
All spent and then some, though I don't think we quite got value for money, the UOR procurements seems to be the only ones being done the right way IMO.
And it's no suprise that the UOR are almost all off the shelf buys. A good reason to avoid contract-based R+D if ever there was one...
I've always said that most military equiptment should be procured arounf the idea of evolution, not revolution, just look at FRES, all the slots in that whole bloody program can be filled by vehicles already in service or variations of them, why spend million on bloody trails when we already know what we have now works.
You can even do the same with ships, I can name at least 3 alternatives for each of the FSC ships (and one or 2 for the replacement of HMS ocean), which would save a bloody fortune if we just licensed them, sure adapting them to our own fit out would cost a little, but not nearly as much as starting from scratch
That statement is just so wrong, UORs are done quickly and a lot is missing from their projects, they're usually so time constrained that the actual UOR will be out in theatre without the support package they require.
There is a happy medium, but they really need to stop being so consumed with the date it must enter service, by doing this the companies are promising the world, knowing they can't meet it and then everyone gets annoyed due to it not meeing its inservice date. If everyone just agreed a realistic date then it would give them the time to put the product into service with the support it requires and also means that it'll have had all the trials and testing to show it's what is required.
For full projects they are just so bloated with milestones, apporvals, meetings, etc that they could learn something from UORs, but as i said it's somewhere in the middle.
I'm about to move into the UOR world, so am looking forward to seeing how its done. My understanding with them is that the biggest problem isn't getting it into service, but the longer term problems of supporting it or transferring to the main EP, and what gives to make room for it.
As for the underspend - of course an underspend is likely - the problem is though that we dont have a single pot of money from which to spend. Each UIN has different budgets for different reasons and sometimes they don't all spend their allocations. What this means is that on paper we've underspent by X amount, but in reality that figure has been reached by looking at literally hundreds of different units fag end budgets which may only have a couple of hundred quid left each.
I once heard a senior figure (ex industry who came to us) make the point that in industry, if a major project comes in within 5% of the budget, then they are usually jubiliant. We usually come in at spending within 0.5% of our budget - we should be pretty impressed by that.
Getting the item into service isn't difficult, everyone is working on that, but getting the spares, putting them onto the system, getting the proper training sorted, everyone round the table for countless meetings, getting all the trials and tests completed and then the other hundred things will mean you're working flat out.
I would say it depends on what size of projects you're doing, if it's UORs for basic small COTS items then i doubt it'll be that much, but if it's an entire fleet of vehicles then it might be a bit of a 'hit the ground running' feel for you.
Are we still under the treasury UOR rules of having to sell / destroy / return the UOR value back at end of hostilities? Bloody hope not. That was an incredibly destructive mechanism.... expect it's still in then! cnuts.
Having been involved with one UOR it distressed me at how long it took, the more so that, during a meeting on a Friday, the civi company (heavily defence orientated mind and the DA to boot) rep effectivly said 'I want to be home before 1400, lets get a move on.' I paraphrase addmittedly, but that was the gist. I nearly told him to wind his fcucking neck in and remind him of his duty to the blokes in Afghan etc but realised a) he didn't give a fcuk, b) it might have put my immediate boss in a difficult position (and he works his nuts off but is diplomatic where needed) and c) the three-ringer present would have me for breakfast and put my boss in the poo again; finally, d) it was day 1 week 2 and my first commercial meeting... doesnt take much to realise though what a bunch of cnuts they can be....
Lesson learnt? The man and company (large and south western based) has continued to be a twat - wish now I had said something, made me feel better at least.
MoD should grip certain suppliers and not dick about.
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