Defence specialists welcome report


Defence specialists welcome acquisition report

Prospect has today (Tuesday) welcomed the report by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee into defence acquisition. On behalf of 6,000 civilian specialists in the Ministry of Defence and another 6,000 in defence companies, National Secretary Steve Jary said: "Prospect agrees with the conclusions and recommendations of the select committee because many of them have been of particular concern to us since the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010. 

Prospect has always said the SDSR was driven by cuts rather than a rational assessment of the country's strategic defence needs."

The union says the absence of a coherent and sustainable defence industrial strategy is most damning for the department because it has left the defence industry without a steer at the same time as swingeing budget cuts continue to ripple through a shrinking UK defence manufacturing base.

Likewise on cuts to defence R&D and science spend, Prospect says the select committee is right to highlight the effect of cuts to this area. Jary said the select committee paints a grim picture of how serious a threat to the defence skills base this might be. 

On the wider effect of cuts to the department's civilian staff, Jary said: "We have long argued that the loss of skills and expertise across the department is dangerous. MOD is close to losing its intelligent customer capability as a consequence of draconian cuts to staff that are set to continue into the next parliament whatever happens to funding for its equipment plan."

On the future of Defence Equipment & Support, Jary said: "MOD says a GOCO arrangement will give it the flexibility to pay its staff market rates. But the department already has many flexibilities available to it, yet it isn't using them. It would be better if DE&S was allowed to nurture its own talent and pay staff appropriately, rather than being instructed to cut its staff by 30 per cent, which has been its main focus for the past two years."