Speech by Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel, UK
25 February 2013 Discussion Meeting -
IISS HQ, London on Monday 25 February 2013
Thank you Alex for that kind introduction.
I want to start by thanking the International Institute for Strategic Studies for arranging this important seminar.
From my perspective, the timing could not have been better. Because how we, as defence customers and suppliers, meet our collective responsibility to provide the means by which nations remain secure from threats, most effectively in the future, defines my role as the Chief of Defence Materiel.
And although the principles of international defence cooperation have traditionally had national governments as their focus, those that underpin the NATO Smart Defence principles of prioritisation, specialisation and cooperation - being aimed at collective security through that Alliance - are in many ways equally applicable to the challenges that the defence industry faces, and my own challenge in reforming defence acquisition and support.
A SHARED PROBLEM – A SHARED SOLUTION
Indeed, I am struck by the common themes that underpin the problem and the solution in both the respective spheres of Smart Defence, and its underpinning values of cooperative effort, and the Material Strategy reform of the UK’s defence acquisition organisation.
Both have their genesis in resource constraints which, as belts have tightened, have brought to light other underlying capability shortfalls. Both recognise that to be effective and efficient you need to eradicate waste and duplication; stop doing those things that you’re not the best at; accept the help of others – you can’t do it all yourself; be willing to change your approach; and to persuade others to do so too.
And we are changing our approach.
Across the MOD we are undergoing the widest and most far-reaching transformation programme that has ever been undertaken.
We have just published a fully-funded, balanced, audited Equipment Plan which provides, for the first time, the certainty, transparency and commitment that industry rightly requires.
And within my own area of responsibility, I too am addressing the challenge of change, encouraging just such an involvement by the private sector to help drive improvement.
But it is not only industry that benefits from transparency and financial stability in our equipment planning. Such a clear commitment to those capabilities that are we are funding also displays our commitment to what NATO can expect us, in the UK, to contribute to collective security.
Indeed, The UK’s commitment to NATO is impressive. (excerpt)
Click here to read the full speech, on the IISS website (video of discussion also available).