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  • Can Fox Outfox U.K. Procurement Problems?
    Posted by Robert Wall 12:06 PM on Feb 22, 2011

    U.K. defense secretary Liam Fox today is presenting a range of measures he hopes will help cure some of the defense procurement ills that have plagued the defense ministry.
    Among the steps on the agenda are:

    -- reviewing the top defense programs on a quarterly basis. 
    -- issuing a list of "projects of concern" (which sounds similar to what Australia is already doing).
    -- making full funding a requirement before a program can launch (to include development, procurement and deployment funding).

    All these sound like logical steps, but are they enough? 

    The British parliament's public accounts committee believes program management also could be tweaked. Rather than having personnel oversee several large projects, they should have a narrower focus to assure problems get the required attention. 

    What is more, those responsible should not be rotated as often as they now are, the legislators suggest.

    An issue that is getting less attention is how the MOD will strengthen oversight on cooperative projects. For instance, on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, London is only a junior partner and, given acquisition plans, even a very junior partner. On other efforts, such as the A400M, it also is only one voice, and not the loudest when given France and Germany are buying more airlifters. 

    But that issue is going to be of increasing importance given the U.K. -- as a result of declining budgets and other measures (such as its defense treaty with France) -- will see the number of cooperative endeavors likely increase. 

    Tags: ar99, U.K.

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