An inquiry into the UK’s military acquisition and procurement policy has been launched after a report called the current situation “an impossible mess”.
The House of Commons Defence Committee will look at how well the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) acquisition reform is working, and if the UK needs a new defence industrial strategy.
In a statement, the committee said the review was prompted by a report published last year by think tank Civitas that argued for an overhaul of the MOD’s acquisition process.
The committee said: “Given the changing nature of external and internal threats… procurement processes must ensure the UK has the capacity to generate the capabilities required, as and when needed.
“However, a recent report by Civitas argues for a complete overhaul of the acquisition process which it says is not fit for purpose.”
The committee’s inquiry will look into whether emerging acquisition systems are offering value for money, how effectively science and technology research is being applied and what implications Brexit will have on the UK’s defence industry.
It is also reviewing three specific case studies: the procurement of Apache attack helicopters, P-8A surveillance aircraft and the latest Eurofighter Typhoon.
The Civitas report criticised the MoD’s procurement policies as being unsuitable at a time when the department was facing cuts.
It said the department was too focused on acquiring large and expensive equipment and should instead reduce its reliance on a small number of big contractors by prioritising research and development initiative from SMEs.
The report also said annual capability assessments were not responsive enough and the MoD “must be enabled to spend money when it needs to and save it when it can”.
The defence committee is accepting written submissions until 10 October.
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