Risk management consultancy Redstone Risk has published a report – Unwrapping the Riddle of Defence Acquisition in the United Kingdom – which they say, “sets out the fundamental changes required to optimise defence acquisition in the United Kingdom”.
Redstone Risk argues that current UK defence acquisition is ‘requirements’-led, based on reforms from the late-90s, which government had intended to be a ‘faster, cheaper and better’ way to procure equipment. The report argues that the ‘requirements’-led approach is dysfunctional, out-of-date and leads to a focus on project outputs rather than military outcomes.
They recommend that there should be a shift in focus from milestones and outputs to defence effects, and acquisition projects would be better.
Applying a strategic change budget within the UK Defence’s equipment plan would provide much needed flexibility to mitigate programme risk where it threatens operational effectiveness whilst, at the same time, maximising returns for the taxpayer.
The ‘Redstone Way’ also introduces an ‘Investment Ladder’ framework, which provides an architecture to help those delivering large scale acquisition projects.
It makes the case that the “Body” of most defence acquisition programmes is made up of known and assured technologies, whilst the “Mind” of the programme is concerned with newer, transformative and disruptive capabilities that need to be proven and integrated.
Much of the causes of cost overruns or schedule delays relate to an inadequate maturation of these newer technologies and the challenges they pose towards integration. The “Spirit” of the ‘Investment Ladder’ considers team cultures for decision making to acknowledge and actively manage the issues and risks of blended technologies. They argue that new technologies are often uncertain and costs of development and time required to integrate them are not predictable, inevitably leading to delays and a spike in project costs if this is not recognised and actively managed at inception.
The full report is available here https://www.redstonerisk.com/thoughts/reimagining-and-reforming-defence-acquisition-in-the-united-kingdom/
Lt Col Stuart Crawford’s latest book Tank Commander (Hardback) is available now