Why the lives of our frontline troops depend on effective MoD procurement

Congratulations to Stuart Andrew MP on his appointment as Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence with responsibility for procurement, a position first held by Philip Dunne MP (2015-2016) and then, more recently, by Harriett Baldwin MP 2016-2018.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State is responsible for the Equipment Plan, defence industry and exports, science and technology including:

• Equipment Plan delivery
• the nuclear enterprise
• DE&S reform
• defence exports
• innovation
• science and technology including Dstl
• information computer technology
• the Gulf and Asia Pacific
• the Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO)
• Scotland and Wales

Over the years, poor procurement decisions have dogged the MoD, with wrong or faulty equipment wasting taxpayers’ money and putting the lives of our front-line troops at risk.

One such example would be the lightly armoured Snatch Land Rovers, vehicles mired in controversy during their time in deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

34 British service personnel were killed in these lightly armoured vehicles referred to by soldiers as “mobile coffins”. The government’s failure to replace them with vehicles providing more protection from enemy forces was “cavalier at best, criminal at worst”, according to Major Sebastian Morley, former head of the SAS reservists in Afghanistan.  The same deadly procurement mistakes must never be made again.

Hilary Meredith