UORs and Long Term Impacts

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by meridian, Jan 31, 2009.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    It seems the majority of the UOR's have been a success and the process has been honed to deliver practical capabilities in a short period of time. The process continues although perhaps slowing down a bit for various reasons.

    What does this mean for continuing acquisition programmes from a practical, political and planning perspective?

    Have dangerous precedents been set in the eyes of the Treasury?

    Does it show what can be done in times of need?

    Has it shown the conventional capability planning process to be deeply flawed?

    Or does it mean nothing?
  2. Bloody Hell, mate! Couldn't you sleep last night? And it is the weekend!

    I wouldn't claim that the UOR process is an unqualified success; there are significant issues, particularly with support. However, the process has worked on some major projects.

    It is that last point that worries me. I think it is possible that the Treasury will claim that we don't need to buy kit if we are not deployed because "we can buy it at short notice when we need it". That will save money... but as we experienced during the preparation for Op Telic, it is not possible to buy everything we need at short notice.

    So, the UOR process works, IMHO. But it should not be used for everything!

    Right, back to the sofa for a kip....

  3. I think an awful lot of good kit has been introduced and outdated kit replaced through the UOR process which wouldn't have happened otherwise; replacing the L9 with the SIG, for example; which can't now be gotten rid of; now we've got Osprey we won't be going back to ECBA at best or no armour any time soon. Crucially, the lessons learnt through UORs won't be lost once we leave the Gulf; they're being applied to PECOC, to FRES (if we ever see it) and having entering Herrick and Telic with a collection of obsolete kit, we will leave with some of the best equipment we've ever had, and possibly some of the best in the world.

    It is essential however that the UOR system doesn't become the Treasury's way of doing fcuk all for most of the time then kicking the door shut just as the horse is about to bolt.
  4. It is my understanding that up to gw1, the process for funding conflicts was quite simple. The mod simply presented the treasury with the bill. job done. That changed (starting during gw1) whereby all costs were scrutinised and therefore other processes had to be brought in. The UOR process was brought in to try and reclaim some of the flexibility the military had before the arrival of the treasury bean-counters.

    (someone in the know please let me know if that is accurate!)

    For the future. If the government is serious about going to war, then fund it!! give the military the task and pay the bills as they arrive. this allows the military to simply order what is needed as it is needed and to do the job right. OK, it will cost more, but "If it's worth fighting, it's worth funding!".

    e.g. 1. it is decided that 1000 sets of "whatevers" are required. General Bloggs picks up the phone, calls the supplier makes the order and the stuff arrives a short while later. the bill is then presented to the treasury.

    e.g. 2. It is decided that a new COIN strategy is required. General Smith picks up the phone to "whoever" and organises a team of 100 experts in the field to develop a new strategy. the team forms and does the work with the bill going to the treasury. No delay to complete a cost benefit analysis, or to even work out how much it will cost, JFDI!

    If we are at war, there should be no requirement for prior justifications for expenditure by generals. These people have the responsibility of defending the country and are responsible for the lives of those under them. Surely they should then have the authority to spend the countries money as required (emphasis - in a time of war!). Obviously there will be oversight after-the-fact, but during a conflict there should be little or no 'process' for procuring what is required.

    I am sure there are difficulties with that, and as a civvie I can't claim to be an expert on any area of defence procurement, I am however frustrated with the half-arrsed commitment this government has to war fighting. If I have learn't anything about our past military success, it is that a large part is down to us committing to it completely. If we are not prepared to do that, then we should not get involved.
  5. I can't agree with any of that Ski, you're effectively saying that a 2* can buy what he wants, there is a budget and it's got to be used properly, otherwise we'd have loads of useless kit sitting on shelves, or gold plated kit being bought when we don't need it. I wouldn't also mention our past successes, pretty much everytime we've been underfunded and poorly equipped, this is about the first time in a generation that there's good kit coming in weekly and the front line users are happy with it.

    The UOR process is a good one if used properly, no cutting corners to get it into theatre quickly, you must make sure that the ILS side is done properly, that they have the publications, spares and training to use the kit. As for UORs so far, most have basically been Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) kit, this means we buy a known product and either use it the way it's intended, or we militarise it and modify the COTS equipment to meet the need. This is done with the Design Authorities approval and we end up building on a known product and getting what we want at the end.

    This of course won't kill off long term projects, those that are EP funded will still carry on, we can't UOR ships, aircraft, etc. But the equipment that is COTS or modfied COTS can be bought continually through UORs.

    The other thing to remember though, once the UOR is brought into core it then has to get funding to support it through life, to buy more and so on, we're hearing a lot about UORs just now, but they are starting to come into core and thus being managed through life, it's not just a case of a quick fix, some UORs may have an initial lifespan of 2 years, but once taken into core this can suddenly become 20 years.
  6. my bold. :D At least your honest!

    My point is, (from my position as a UK tax-paying civvie) I would much rather have unused kit on the shelves, than life saving equipment being delayed as there is a 'process' to go through to aquire it.

    Yes, what i am proposing would lead to wasted money. But the alternative is potentially wasted lives. It comes down to how much we are willing to commit as a country. I believe that if war is justified, so is the cost required to do it right.
  7. Operational Emergency (OE) and UOR existed for a long time before GW1. The system was used to great effect to counter RCIED developments etc. It was NOT designed to replace major equipment shortages.

    In essence (and new breed Equipment Managers please update because I am genuinely interested) there were 3 types of equipments:

    New to Service - never been in Service before and was therefore procured with the spares back-up, AESP's and specialist training etc. APV Northern Ireland circa 1984 being a good example. These extras were usually costed at 17.5% of the total bill.

    New Service - already in Service but a new Unit entitlement e.g. when there was talk of raising a new AD Regt circa 1989 (6 AD Regt RA IIRC) all of the equipment was already in Service but new equipments, spares etc would be needed. The accepted bill was 12% of the total.

    Maintenance - already in Service and replacements for RTA, over planned-life, BER etc. The accepted bill was 5%. (As an aside here, if the Gunner QM who annoyed the fcuk out of me for months at HQ BAOR in 1991 for 2 brand new Land Rover 110's from a new batch that had arrived in BAOR is a member of arrse please contact me. You gave me months of joy when the 2 fuckwits you sent to pick them up wrote both of them off in an autobahn accident on the way back to Dortmund :twisted: :twisted: )

    The problem with the OE and UOR method is that the training, AESP's, E&MA's, spares etc are really expensive and there is no guarantee that Manufacturers will continue to make them to the same specifications as Industry is more adaptable to changing conditions than HMF. The situation then develops where we have fleet of Mk 1’s but not spares for them. The result – cannibalization and a large VOR bill which can only be resolved by spending more money to either reactivate redundant production lines or have special buys.

    Some of the Signals contingent among may recognize the folly of 14 EW Regt in BAOR circa 1985 with its all singing, all dancing EW gear being transported in Obsolescent 1 Tonne vehicles.

    If we are having a war - pay for it Broon you bastard!
  8. Is this new equipment being purchased in large enough quantities to be sustainable? (ie you have this brillant vehicle but will they all be scrapped when you pull out of Iraq?) Then you have to go into another warzone with the equipment that wasn't good enough for Iraq.

    Money required by vital important long term projects is going towards UORs.

    Does it mean that the kit you need for ops will only every be purchased as UORs?

    UORs seem to be have been a h*ll of a lot cheaper (and obviously decades quicker) than the normal procurement process.

    COTS means it is a proven equipment & the strong and weak points should be known.

  9. We have a tight budget, to buy all these UORs we're sacrificing long term kit, if there was an unlimited budget then yes that would be a great way of doing it, but at present the way it's being done seems to work, i haven't really heard of any life saving kit being knocked back from UOR funding.

    Remember that at every step of the way it's the military that are involved, this isn't a case of the government or MoD civil servants doing the job, it's a case of a lot of people being involved and a large percentage being military. A lot of people have this misconception that UORs are bought by civvies without any input from the army, but in reality the MoD civvie is being used and managed by the military to get the kit.
  10. somebody will correct me on this i'm sure, but it's my understanding the UORs are funded by the treasury (the way it should be). Granted the maintenance costs after a givien period fall to the MOD. There has been discussion that the UOR costs will come out of the defence budget, but that is a different discussion.

    The additional costs I am talking about all come from the treasury. Clearly there will be a spending limit on a general, (increasing with increasing rank) but i believe that in time of war, the normal budgeting processes and rules should not apply.
  11. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    I think initially the MoD presented the Treasury for a bill and that was it but the Treasury having got wise to the fact that the MoD were using the UOR process perhaps too efficiently decided to change the rules significantly so now UOR seems to be like a long term loan rather than a gizzit
  12. UORs also mean you can have very pieces of equipment doing exactly the same job, which causes massive complications (and expense) in the supply chain
  13. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Two points - firstly, to mangle an old cliche, "The REME, for god's sake, will no-one think about the the REME"... ES is a serious matter, for REME and RLC both (someone has to keep the shelf stacked), and one of the problems with UOR kit is that for the most part it won't be NATO codified, and will need a horrendous amount of specialised spares, toole, test equipment, etc., throughout its service.

    My second point is that the UOR seems to be becoming institutionalised as a method of procurement - there are cases of people being told to raise a UOR for equipment, not because it is needed in theatre now, but because it's the quickest way to get something into service. It even appears now in some 'proper' procurement programmes, for goodness sake: "Stage 14. Raise UOR".

    This is not what the process is for, and risks us losing all its good points due to a Treasury clampdown thenever they want - for if you don't think that HMT know about this sort of thing, you are woefully underestimating them!
  14. See my above OS - I was RAOC E Man and I used to talk to my REME counterparst about once an Hour. God alone knows where this will put the Defence Budget in 10 years time. HMT are much better at this sh1t than HMF are and we even used to hire twats internally to do it for us. Malcolm Cnut was a QMG hiree at Andover to to "oversee" "stuff". Head of QF (LE).

    If you're still alive and reading this you old cnut - we needed Land Rover FFR's to have oil temp gauges because FFR vehicles often sit for a long time with engines running to charge the batteries - for example in the Desert. In 1990 - the war that was never going to be fought - like all the previous ones! Nobody gave a sh1t about your Rover 75 not having an oil temp gauge. :evil:

    Use of an OE/UOR system will cause untold grief in the future and I suspect (tin foil hats on) its is a deliberate Treasury ploy.

    And if the latest Officers and WO's fall for the old trick of "Why do we need Officers and WO's in the procurement system?" in 10 years time your successors will find out why.