The MoD responds to the views contained in Bill Kincaid's recent book.
The MOD regrets that the views attributed to Brigadier (Retd) Kincaid’s book are outdated and sensationalist, and do not do justice to the huge procurement effort that makes the British Armed Forces some of the best equipped in the world.
The MOD is totally committed to supporting the front line, as well as equipping the Armed Forces for future operations. We are spending very significant sums on this: £5.7 billion worth of new equipment was delivered to the Armed Forces in 2007/8.
Where necessary, we use the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) process to respond to rapidly changing operational needs, and under this we are getting equipment from the concept stage to the front line in record time: the new Mastiff armoured vehicles – offering unparalleled levels of protection and mobility – were delivered to the front line in just 23 weeks. We have approved over £4 billion of UORs for Iraq and Afghanistan since operations began.
We have made substantial efforts in recent years (well after Brig Kincaid’s retirement) to improving our procurement effort. We are implementing programmes to change the way we approach defence acquisition, which run alongside the Defence Industrial Strategy. We have formed the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation, with a holistic approach to procurement and through life support of our equipment. And we have greatly improved the working relationship and transparency between the MOD HQ, DE&S, the front line, and industry, with an emphasis on managing through life.
Key to this is a sense of urgency – we are more conscious than anyone that time matters; and shared ownership of problems and risks. We also need to keep our programme and priorities flexible, so we can respond to the latest requirements and threats."