NAO attack MoD procurement

From The Grauniad:

MoD accused on Iraq kit

Richard Norton-Taylor
Thursday June 30, 2005
The Guardian

Failure by the Ministry of Defence to identify shortages of weapons and kit left the armed forces unprepared for war in Iraq, the Commons public accounts committee says in a report today.
The ministry spent more than £800m on "urgent operational requirements" - equipment it needed to order quickly, and more expensively, for British forces.

"It is highly regrettable that only two-thirds of urgent operational requirements were fully delivered in time for the start of war fighting in Iraq," says the committee. The Minimi machine gun "was issued without time for troops to train sufficiently to make full use of all its capabilities".

The committee says the MoD had to buy 8,000 civilian global positioning systems - to help troops know where they were - which were less efficient than the military versions.

The MoD approved 390 urgent operational requirements for Iraq. Edward Leigh, Conservative chairman of the committee, said yesterday that once the MoD identified the gaps officials responded more energetically than they did to long-planned procurement projects.

"When it comes to the crunch, staff at the MoD often show a verve and elan which gets the job done," he said."If only they could apply this ingenuity to their mainstream procurement activities, we might not in future see the annual cost increases and time overruns with which my committee has become wearyingly familiar".

One reason why equipment was ordered so late was because ministers did not want to suggest that the government had decided to go to war months before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, senior MoD officials told the National Audit Office last year.

The committee does not mention this in its latest report. Neither does it refer to military commanders starting to discuss the need to order equipment for an invasion as early as May 2002, shortly after a decisive meeting between Tony Blair and George Bush.

However, Sir Kevin Tebbit, the ministry's most senior official, told MPs last year: "Clearly there was a political inhibition against action that would make it clear we would take the military rather than the diplomatic route."
Full story is here.

I must declare a small interest here - I was involved in the NAO investigation (sorry...fact-finding mission) over certain aspects of this report.

I think the MoD are getting off very lightly here - wake up Min DP - you're time is almost up!


Book Reviewer
I was involved in the UOR process - at least, getting funding approved. It was indeed a pretty slick system, however...... it would not have been required if we had been allowed to go through normal channels, as they say.

The problems were ENTIRELY caused by our not being allowed to even mention to anyone that we were contemplating attacking Iraq, when of course the entire world knew we were. Luckily, some sensible plcs helped out immensely - often at their own risk.

Were Soldiers were put at risk purely due to internal Labour Party dissention?


Book Reviewer
Darth_Doctrinus said:
From The Grauniad:

MoD accused on Iraq kit

I must declare a small interest here - I was involved in the NAO investigation (sorry...fact-finding mission) over certain aspects of this report.

I think the MoD are getting off very lightly here - wake up Min DP - you're time is almost up!
Wake up D-D...may I refer hon members to the earlier thread...

barbs wrote:
Shouldn't this thread read: 'Army In Overstretch Shock'

The relevance of a report by the NAO is nearly next to none. They have limited powers to force changes, they cannot sanction their employers (the government) and base most of their findings on what the MOD already knows - i.e., the MOD shows the NAO its own documents and details.

I look forward to reading the NAO document in full to find out their full list of recommendations, I am confident that the earth will not be shattered by them!
Huzza! Next time I see someone on this Board fulminating about the latest Torygraph piece subbed:

" NAO slams 'Ministry of Waste ' in yet another procurement scandal "

I will remember these fine words - and may even requote them back at you.

Don't underestimate the extent to which an adverse NAO report can spoil an MoD Project Manager's whole day ....trouble is, who can they point the finger at for leaving the Forces chronically short of cash and overloaded with new commitments ?

Is it CDS' fault ?
Only if he hadn't repeatedly warned No 10 of the dangers.
Is it Secretary of State's fault ?
Only if he hadn't fought the Treasury tooth and nail every day he was in office for better resources.
Is it The Cabinet's fault?
Only if they have sat at the table bleating and baa-ing instead of telling The Great Helmsman that, frankly Boss, you're dead WRONG about this.......

Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition should be pounding arTone into the ground with ammunition like this....spineless, limp-wristed mass debaters....

Le Chevre - encore (Slight Return)
Hmmmmm..... scared, you will be!


Book Reviewer
me n bee said:
Hmmmmm..... scared, you will be!
MMM...uncomprehending I am,hmmm, yes!

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