The Ministry of Defence's much touted smart acquisition process has failed on almost all counts, according to a report by MPs.

The Defence Committee found that most contracts were over budget, over schedule and jeopardising forces in the field.

Its report says not only are big projects £3bn over budget this year alone, but average orders run more than a year late.

The performance of the Defence Procurement Agency - which buys equipment for the MoD - is described as "woeful".

The report personally criticised Defence Procurement Minister Lord Bach for failing to get to grips with "long-running systemic problems".

The Conservative defence procurement spokesman Gerald Howarth said: "After their outstanding performance in Iraq last year, it now seems clear that our armed forces will be made to bear the brunt of ministers' failure to get a grip of defence procurement."

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Paul Keetch added: "It is the failure to deal with procurement that is really affecting the defence budget."
A little hand grenade back at the MOD from the government in regards to whos responsable for the defence cuts.

Or to put the other side:

- failure by government to give the MOD sufficient planning time (and financial authority) prior to a crisis, therefore forcing the MOD procurement system to react to short term high financial spends to ensure our soldiers get equipment in time.

- changes in government policies which in turn affect SORs and the type of equipment bought.

- repeated yearly financial cuts which force short term procurement strategies and the more expensive just in time policy.

- political pressure to adopt more expensive colloboration procurement strategies.

- and I could go on. These projects are not run by idiots by highly talented civil servants or military personnel who are trying to do their best in an uphill struggle as a result of the above.

Always convenient to blame an organisation who cannot answer back ! Enough said.
I think that both extreme views of the MoD are incorrect. It's not staffed by incompetents, but it falls short by miles of what industry would consider best practice. And no wonder when you look at who gets a job there.

Because I'm afraid that a civil servant earning 5, 10 or more thousand pounds a year less then his BAE counterpart is not highly talented, he's unable to get a job anywhere else. Which is why industry wins so many technical arguments and so much stuff gets overlooked on the MoD side. I'm sorry but to get the best staff you need to pay the most.

The other problem is a culture that confuses working hard - and they do work very hard at times - with results. Follow the rules and work hard and you'll be OK. even if no value is added. The rules are often outdated as the pace of change accelerates and the result is lots of effort for little gain. But you can't challenge the rules as civil servants don't do that.

It's notable that the rest of the civil service sees the MoD as a dinosaur. They have radically overhauled how their organisations are organised and paid yet the MoD staggers on with the old intricate grading structures and associated cultural baggage. If the MoD had kept pace with the rest of the civil service I would have some sympathy with them - but they seek to wallow in the past when they should be moving forward.

When the military get attached to the MoD they take a while to find their feet in what is a radically different way of working to that which they are used to. And as soon as they really get to grips with it - they get posted. A few can't be bothered and do as little as possible - others change everything in sight to get a good ACR.

And don't get me started on retired officers. I'm sure that some are competent productive human beings. However - the only ones I seem to meet combine ignorance and arrogance with a tendency to instantly dismiss anything that they disagree with. Attempts to convince them that the world has moved on since they last commanded a unit almost always fail.

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