Feeds

MoD trumpets 'Innovation Strategy' for buying kit

5 pillars, 6 towers, 4 centres and 'ginger groups'

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Analysis In the wake of the recent, highly-controversial departure of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) kit-purchasing chief - erstwhile drugs'n'sweets multimillionaire Lord Drayson, who claimed he was quitting to race bio-alcohol cars - there has been a good deal of silence from the MoD war-tech offices.

Publication of the updated British Defence Industrial Strategy (or "DIS2") has now been postponed until after Christmas - perhaps while the new Prime Minister's team change it to fit with their ideas rather than those of Drayson and his sponsor Blair.

However, it seems that at least one document drafted during Drayson's tenure has now been approved for release. Last week Drayson's successor, Baroness Taylor, unveiled to a largely uninterested world the UK's new Defence Innovation Strategy. The rough idea here is to get Blighty's deathware industrial base to be a bit less big iron and a bit more Silicon Valley.

"We want to create an environment with industry where innovation is encouraged and quickly developed to give our military personnel a battle-winning edge," said Taylor.

"Through the Innovation Strategy we can replicate the recent successes of getting innovative technology to the battlefield rapidly, such as Mastiff, a mine-protected armoured vehicle ..."

Actually the Mastiff is 1970s technology or older; and British troops didn't get it until six years after the Afghan invasion and three years after Iraq. Even if you accept that it gives British forces a battle-winning edge - and you'll find some among them who would disagree, seeing a difference between being safe and winning - Mastiff isn't innovative, the MoD did nothing to encourage its development and delivery was anything but quick.

As it happens, the Mastiff is made in America, too; so presumably - taking it as an example - Baroness Taylor's "environment with industry" might consist of importing more stuff from the States rather than waiting years for British gear which costs more and does less.

After all, as the Innovation Strategy tells us, "the UK’s battle winning military capability remains heavily dependent on both development and exploitation of world-class technology ..."

That's certainly true. Many of the things which make the UK a world-class military power are quite high-tech. Polaris ICBMs; Tomahawk cruise missiles; Brimstone tank-busters; Paveway smartbombs; C-17, C-130 and CH-47 airlifters; Apache attack helicopters; Harpoon ship-killers ... the list goes on. All of them come from America, not from Blighty. Where high-tech kit doesn't come entirely from America - like the Type 45 destroyers - it tends to have significant input from France or other allied countries.

So yes, we're dependent on world-class combat kit. But realistically, most of it isn't British. That's been true for a long time. Any realistic talk of "battle-winning edge" and "best possible support for the front line" really ought to acknowledge that.

Sadly, it seems we're not actually talking about getting the latest and best kit for the front line, and making sure that Blighty can act on the world stage with a decent chance of success. We're talking about building up the UK arms biz.

UK Government, industry and university research and development (R&D) effort remains critical ... [we will] provide a competitive advantage to specific technology providers, where sovereignty is required ... [and] develop a stronger defence industrial base.

"Sovereignty" in the sense of making all your own stuff is something of a busted flush these days. Even the Americans are starting to get rather worried about the amount of foreign-supplied components and so on that they have to use.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.