MoD letting down armed forces

I was listening to this story this morning, and my first thought was 'oh good - our hopeless man management practices have been exposed at last', but it was not to be.

It is yet another tale about - as Speedy points out - money, and the perennial trade-off between bridging (or filling) capability gaps and Gordon Brown's intense desire to claw money back from the loss leader of Defence.

I always find it vaguely amusing that politicos will jump on the perceived inadequacies of our procurement system, citing various examples of corruption, incompetence and general crapiness, whilst actually being part of the same agenda in actively touting for constituency business for the very companies who let us down so often.

Sgt Robert's death had nothing to do with procurement per se, as the kit was in theatre, but everything to do with failure to reach forward logistically and prioritise stores accordingly. Theft from rear areas also accounted for a great many headaches on TELIC, hence front line types couldn't get the kit they needed.

But I guess that doesn't sell papers...
actually more crap than the DWp :roll:
maybe its time to set the mysterions on them :twisted:
if your guilty of MOD procurement we know where you are :evil:
unfortunatly the military and the country would be better off if they were running mincabs and handing out leaflets in shopping centres :evil:
some random people off the street could have made better purchasing decisions and write a better spec than the alleged experts at the "MOD" although they do have great taste in OFfice Chairs :evil:
Speedy said:

Will anything happen? I doubt it, not with Browns massive hole in the exchequers books.
listened to this article this morning on radio 4, i doubt it will improve, billions oversepent on major precurement projects. we only have to look at the kit the forces get, 5-10 years out of date because it takes that long to come into service. the civvy companies are just laughing all the way to the bank.

who looses out ultimately? joe squad on the ground. and to top it off, no one is held accountable???
Hippy - I note that you're taking issue with those chaps in suits who write the 'specs'. Unfortunately, the main limiting factor on capability design is money, which is why the story in the link is simplistically correct - and not correct. :D

The MoD strives to meet a capability gap with the best solution, but the vagaries of cost balancing, politics, limits of technology and so on will always act against us.

And no - I'm not a procurement bloke - I just happen to believe that the kit now coming off the shelves and reaching our guys in Iraq happens to be bloody good - it's just taken time...
Theft from rear areas also accounted for a great many headaches on TELIC, hence front line types couldn't get the kit they needed.
Many of the thefts are proberby from either

a. Troops in the rear who have not been issued the kit yet robbing it.
b. Kit being 'lost' is a sea of ISO containers.
c. Front line troops taking to oppertunity to aquire the kit because they have little or no chance of getting it issued by the time they need it when they visit the rear areas.
Speedy said:
c. Front line troops taking to oppertunity to aquire the kit because they have little or no chance of getting it issued by the time they need it when they visit the rear areas.
this was the main cause of the "losses" :roll:

SQMS's, BQMS's etc etc were carrying out "raids" during the build up to get the kit thier lads needed. most kit was stolen in the build up when everyone was still kicking around in Kuwait waiting for to call to cross the border.
A lot of the problem is the frankly insane way the system looks after kit. There were more then enough body armour sets in the system to equip everyone, but the system didn't allow that to happen. It doesn't need altering, it needs bulldozing and starting again.

If I ran the world I'd close every stores in the Army and sack all the useless jobsworth idiots who infest them (I'm sure there are some hard working ones somewhere, I've just never met them). I'd then put every single piece of equipment and publications on individual issue. I'd hire the blokes who run mail order/internet shopping to give me a system that will tell me at any time what's on my list and make it available via ArmyNet. If I need anything it gets posted to me - again, use the mail order people and a single central warehouse.

If I lose something or it wears out, I either pay for it or get it signed off by the hierarchy - again via ArmyNet. Don't turn up with my issued body-armour ? Then charge me. Individual responsibility and all that.

Then all you need to take to theatre is a pile of wear and tear replacements rather than initial issue.
The supply system - from Minister to QM - cannot sustain or protect soldiers in the crucial first few days, weeks and months of conflict (even given a year's advance warning). The same chronic shortages (boots, body armour, ammunition, etc) have occurred in each new Op in recent times - be it Kosovo or Telic 1 - but even Commons Select Committee enquiries have failed to produce a single sacking or apparent change for the better. Its a blindingly obvious fact to even a non-military observer that closing depots and selling mob-stocks is a false economy with a blood price, yet the hierarchy persist with the dogma that the Armed Forces are simply another business entity like a car factory.

The cash shortage is not the only problem - it is compounded by the creeping politicisation of the Army, whereby no-one - from CGS down to sub-unit commander - is prepared to stand up and say "this is not an adequate way to go to war". I was particularly shocked at the blasé attitude shown by the hierarchy during the days before the invasion of Iraq; I noted down in my war diary some 34 deficient items which I considered crucial or important to the conduct of the forthcoming fighting (ammunition of all types - none at all for some weapons!, air recognition panels, comms equipment, NBC peripherals, NVG, - down to mundane items like spare tyres, digging tools, maps & sand-coloured cammo paint). The prevailing attitude was "oh well, there's none in the system, we'll do without it. Lets not make ourselves look less gung-ho by complaining about it up the chain of command...etc, etc".

Its not appropriate to discuss further the actual impact on combat-effectiveness. Sufficient to say that I, like many/most others, fear we suffer severely the first time we come up against an enemy who won’t simply roll over (or get rolled over).
8. This Report once again records the woeful performance of the Department in
procuring defence equipment, and its inability even to follow its own, broadly
sensible, procurement rules. To all appearances however, no-one is ever held
responsible for these failures, and the careers of those involved remain unaffected.
This is paragraph 8 from page 9 of the report. If you want to read the whole thing (21pdf pages) then use the link below...
As a civvie engineer working in the UK automotive industry (yes it does still exist), I have experience of a number of useful way that industry saves money. E.g.:-

1. ‘Just In Time’ supply of parts to the vehicle assembly plant happens the day or even the hour that it is to be fitted to a vehicle. This minimises the financial outlay at all stages of the business and improves the profits of the company.
2. Having only the equipment you NEED. If equipment is not going to be fully utilised, then rent/lease it only when you need it. This minimises the financial outlay and allows that money to be spent on more important things. (Shareholders dividends.)

The most significant difference between the application of these principals to industry and to the army is when things go wrong. (Delayed shipment of parts e.g. car seats or body armour, or broken equipment e.g. panel press tool / sand damaged helicopters):-

Industry- If something goes wrong the production line stops, then the workers go for a cuppa and the company losses millions every hour. (bad for share value)
Army- Soldiers are put at risk. (Or even national security!)

To put it another way.

Question. How much ammunition* should the army have available?
Answer. Ideally, more that it could ever conceivably need to get it to the point where production ramps up. (Requires excess manufacturing capability)

*Substitute whatever item you NEED.

If you don’t have more than you could ever need, (which includes logistic capability) there will be shortages. However, as the MOD have a limited (very) budget, if, during peace time, they have to spend money on masses of spares and excess logistic capability, they cannot spend that money elsewhere, (Training, development of new equipment, troop numbers, etc.) something else would have to go. The whole MOD budget, as in industry, is a balancing act, trying to get the ‘biggest bang for your buck’. Unfortunately, there will ALWAYS be a compromise, which inevitably means there will be problems with the amount of equipment, getting it to where it needs to be and the time it takes to speed up production.

To summarise, equipment procurement and the supply industry should be efficient to keep cost down but THE ARMY SHOULD BE IN-EFFICIENT. The army should always have too much equipment and excess ‘stuff’ in stores. (But it’s all a balancing act.)
It's the lack of responsibility and sackings that piff me off. After the fiasco of SAIF SEREEA, I can guarantee that there were quite a few OBEs and CBEs handed out to Civil servants (40% of all honours and awards go to Civil Servants) and senior officers for their role in the department during that screw-up. What they should have received is P45s!
SkiCarver has some good points indeed. The sheer idiocy of thinking that civilian practices can be applied wholesale to the military supply (or any other for that matter) system is the root of a lot of grief. This is a product of that incestuous relationship that 'blue-sky' thinkers in military and civvy circles share; each thinking the other holds the secret to efficiency. Phrases like 'it ran like a military operation' make civvys sit up and applaud but I would wager that it would send most of us scurrying for cover!

Let us not forget that in 2002 a lot of the gleaming fresh-from-civvy-street 'just-in-time' procurement procedures were denied that time because of the political shenanigans; no-one could order desert kit without alerting the world to the fact that the decision to go to war had already been taken contrary to everything the Neue Arbeit spin machine was spewing at the time.
Absolutely spot on, SkiCarver, the use of civilian Just In Time supply procedures is a nonsense when applied to HM Forces. The only thing you get with less, is less.
The MOD procurement system is beyond redemption because it insists that one item must be fit for all tasks in all theatres under all conditions.

Take the PRR: I sat through a presentation from a large British comms manufacturer where they outlined the options available to clients and the ramifications.
You may have noticed certain similarities between PRR and the PMR446 radios that you can buy in Dixons.
A PRR that could withstand -20C would cost around £90. The one you are issued costs £900 as it is good for -40C.

Ask your self:
1. Do we really need the PRR to be good for -40C?
2. If we did could we not save some money by issuing white ones for artic warfare?
"Do we really need the PRR to be good for -40C?"

Probably not, but we could do with one which can cope with 40C+!
A bit wordy, but an indication of the level of logistic failure and promises that it will be better next time.

"I am not sure I am a fan of, or indeed practise, JIT logistics." Brigadier Christopher Steirn. Too right matey. :roll:

"Perhaps what I failed to consider fully were the assets in theatre to handle these containers. If I had, I would have recognised that we were going to swamp them. If an organisation [...] only has equipment to handle 200 containers a day and I send in 1,000 a day, at the end of day one there will be 800 on the pile. And the following day another 1,000 are going to go in front of that 800." Oh my Gawd. 8O

Chief executive of the Defence Transport and Movements Agency (DTMA) confesses..
It's not just down to small items of kit though....take the abysmal lift capability we have at the moment. The best thing we have for the job in terms of range, payload, DAS etc are RAF chinooks - yet they arent wholly suitable for flying off HMS Ocean or one of the CVs. An "acquaintance" was part of the programme that fully sqaured away the building of marinised CH47s under licence by Westland, to include refuelling probe,uprated engines, full defencive aids suite with miniguns up the ying yang, corrosion resistance and auto fold rotors (the normal ones have to be unbolted so as not to take up too much deck space when not flying)....last minute the plug gets puled due to "politics and money", so were stuck with Sea King until 2018. Hoofing

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