Feeds

Drayson back at MoD, retains biznovation portfolio

'Malodorous' supersonic-car lord returns

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Department of Trade and Industry is dead, long live the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (and Defence)!

Before long, however, Drayson was back in government as Science minister at the new Brownite department of "Innovation, Universities and Skills" (DIUS), created two years ago by splitting the former Trade and Industry department into separate biz (DBERR) and boffinry (DIUS) bureaux. As Science Minister, Drayson continued with his plan to revitalise British enthusiasm for engineering through the building of an even faster supersonic car, which would snatch the hotly-contested world landspeed record away from, erm, the UK. He also gained headlines by suggesting that perhaps the country's scientific research efforts should be focused more on things which might make some money.

Meanwhile, the Army's scheme to buy its FRES utility vehicles from General Dynamics was scuppered by the UK arms industry anyway. British requirements for full tech access to the programme by UK contractors were seen by GD as meaning it would have to hand over large amounts of its proprietary sauce to British companies. UK negotiators said such access was required in order that British firms could supply subassemblies, upgrades etc; but the US side - often suspicious that UK firms resell technology gained in this way - refused to agree.

The FRES utility vehicle was always a technical nightmare waiting to happen in any case, as it was to be both light enough to be airfreighted and yet invulnerable to all known threats. The Army was perhaps not unhappy to kick it into touch after the negotiations with GD reached deadlock.

But the £10bn+ of FRES budget lines are still there at the MoD, and nobody can deny that a lot of the Army's combat vehicle fleet is very old and busted, and will have to be replaced fairly soon: even if nobody's agreed as to the exact nature of the replacements. One can be sure that a lot of business people will be eyeing that money with interest.

Now the embattled Prime Minister has stuck DBERR and DIUS back together again, effectively recreating the old Department of Trade and Industry: except this time it's called the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS), perhaps hinting at a further subordination of academia to commercial principles in future. Drayson retains Minister of State rank at DBIS, and now also at the MoD.

Spokesmen at No.10 and the MoD told the Reg earlier today that details of Drayson's new portfolios will be forthcoming later this week. But it's possible to draw some inferences from what's already known.

It seems that Drayson will function as a link man between the new business/skills/innovationation (biznovation?) ministry and the MoD, attempting to see to it that the Defence ministry - apart from fighting wars - also makes every effort to enhance the nation's industrial innovation base. As he will be the only MoD minister apart from the actual Defence Secretary to attend Cabinet meetings he should be able to push this agenda very effectively. (Davies - the DE&S undersec - and the new Minister for the Armed Forces Bill Rammell won't be in the room when the big decisions get made.)

News of Drayson's new position is sure to be greeted with glee at such companies as AgustaWestland and BAE Systems plc. There may be somewhat less rejoicing in some sections of the MoD. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.