Sir, Your article “MoD faces new crisis over funding” (January 20) rightly highlights the continuing financial pressures within the Ministry of Defence. The Strategic Defence and Security Review made real progress in identifying and prioritising the threats and challenges, and reducing future equipment and operating costs. However, it did not fully address the budget shortfall of £36bn (first identified by Bernard Gray in October 2009), and key decisions were instead pushed into the ongoing financial planning process.
There is now the opportunity to resolve some of the fundamental issues that contributed to the shortfall in the first place. Most critically, this includes creating a more effective and efficient relationship between the front-line need, MoD main building and the defence equipment and support acquisition organisation.
Better understanding of costs and their management; greater delivery accountability within the MoD and industry; and more streamlined processes are also critical. All of these will need to be achieved against a backdrop of significant headcount reductions and preserving vital support to the front line.
The Review of Acquisition for the Secretary of State for Defence, an independent report by Bernard Gray (October 2009), and the recent Shrivenham Acquisition Workshop have both identified options and solutions to start addressing these underlying issues, as will Lord Levene’s examination of MoD structure.
The key now is for the MoD, supported by the defence industry and other government departments, to make bold decisions and work in new ways to achieve the UK’s newly defined defence and security strategy.
Mike Jackson, Former Chief of the General Staff and Senior Adviser, PA Consulting Group
Nick Chaffey,Global Head of Defence and Security Consulting, PA Consulting Group.
To read FT online letter, please click here.
To visit PA's defence page, please click here and to visit PA's page on the Strategic Defence and Security Review, click here.
To read a previous article quoting Nick Chaffey, please click here.
To read a previous article by General Sir Mike Jackson, click here.