Feeds

Poor IT could leave Brit troops hanging in Afghanistan

Just not enough, just not in time

Top three mobile application threats

Poor IT is threatening defence supplies until a new programme is implemented in 2014, a group of MPs has warned in a new report.

In "The use of information to manage the defence logistics supply chain", the public accounts committee (PAC) says the IT systems now being used to track supplies are not up to the task, due largely to insufficient spending on upgrades. This is contributing to the late delivery of supplies and spare parts for equipment, which is leading frontline troops to cannibalise vehicles and planes.

It is part of a long running problem: similar shortcomings have been identified by the PAC in reports going back to 1986, and the National Audit Office published a similar report – albeit in less alarmist language – in March.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is now aiming to solve the problems through the Future Logistics Information Services (Flis) project, which includes upgrades to the warehouse inventory management IT system. But this will not be complete until 2014 – in part because of the need to clean existing data – and until then there is a high risk of failure in systems that are critical in supporting frontline troops.

The report says there is also a risk that the budget for the project may be reduced or cut completely as the MoD needs to reduce its spending, although the contract has already been signed and is being implemented.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the PAC, said: "A more efficient supply chain could release resources for the frontline. But the department does not have the information to develop more cost-effective ways of running its supply operations.

"The department is now seeking to resolve its information problems through a major initiative, the Future Logistics Information Services project, due to be implemented by 2014. However, there is a risk that funding for this project could be reduced as the department seeks to lower spending and balance its overall budget.

"In the meantime, IT systems being used to track supplies will remain at critical risk of failure. If they fail, there could be shortages at the frontline within a month."

Peter Luff, the minister for defence equipment, support and technology, said in response that supplies to the frontline are a top priority and that the department has reduced the time it takes to deliver most urgent items by more than half.

"We are also committed to achieving value for money and improvements have been made," Luff said. "Far from reducing the budget in this area, we are investing £800m in the Flis project to ensure the supply chain is as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

"We are placing greater demands on industry to hit their delivery schedules, and more broadly we are pushing through radical reform across the MoD to instigate a new emphasis on financial rigour and cost control," he said.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
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
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
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.