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 Post subject: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:07 pm 
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Ministers, we are told are considering proposals under which the private sector could play a large role in the procurement of weapons and equipment for the armed forces. Says The Guardian, the civil servant in charge of defence procurement, Bernard Gray, has submitted a report setting out options for bringing in private expertise, and a decision is expected in the New Year.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:55 am 

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Oh come now, how can you possibly contend that your Betters will rush a decision such as this?

I would note, though, that one of the main drivers for changing requirements is the fact the MOST significant military purchases are for state-of-the-art equipment which is still a twinkle in someone's eye when the specifications are first written. The contractors will come back with their proposals and bids, but both sides recognize that research and development, which is what these procurements really are, is subject to major changes during its run. Some changes will be for the better - research will find a way to meet the specs which costs less or provides FAR BETTER performance than the initial requirement. But most often things will not go as well as estimated and performance or cost will suffer. And if there is a MAJOR breakthrough during the R&D activity, the specifications may be rewritten to take advantage of that in hopes of make the new toys be usable for a longer period. For while there ARE worthless POS whose only concern is how much loot is in it for them or their buddies, MOST of those involved in the procurement process really do want to get equipment that will best protect the lives of the military who will be using it.


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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:13 am 

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There is an irony here. In the one area where the government SHOULD carry the load, you have revealed them to be totally incompetent. Perhaps privatising our defense acuqisitions may produce better results...

...OK, I know it won't.


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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:15 am 

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Can anyone point me to the Samual Pepys quote about the King not being able to buy anything cheeply? I don't have time to read the entire diaries again PDT_Armataz_01_08


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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:50 am 
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mmatis wrote:
Oh come now, how can you possibly contend that your Betters will rush a decision such as this?

I would note, though, that one of the main drivers for changing requirements is the fact the MOST significant military purchases are for state-of-the-art equipment which is still a twinkle in someone's eye when the specifications are first written. The contractors will come back with their proposals and bids, but both sides recognize that research and development, which is what these procurements really are, is subject to major changes during its run. Some changes will be for the better - research will find a way to meet the specs which costs less or provides FAR BETTER performance than the initial requirement. But most often things will not go as well as estimated and performance or cost will suffer. And if there is a MAJOR breakthrough during the R&D activity, the specifications may be rewritten to take advantage of that in hopes of make the new toys be usable for a longer period. For while there ARE worthless POS whose only concern is how much loot is in it for them or their buddies, MOST of those involved in the procurement process really do want to get equipment that will best protect the lives of the military who will be using it.


That is the theory ... but of the RAF had bought F-16s instead of Eurofighter, it would have had a workable fighter-bomber for very much less money. But no, we had to support European co-operative projects. Even without the Nimrod, the UAV programme and and a few others, we are still looking at an over-spend of well over £20 billion, with not one of the problems solvable by giving the actual purchasing element to Tesco.

Part of the problem you identify, though, is the "nothing but the best" syndrome. This very often means late, over-priced, with limited capabilities because they had to be cut back for cost reasons, and fewer than we need. The driving phrases need to be "good enough" and "the bird in the hand is worth two super-eagles in the stratosphere".

It is a hell of a road that is paved with good intentions. It never ends up going where you want.

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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:59 am 

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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:14 pm 
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RAENORTH wrote:
...whatever the merits or otherwise of such decisions, now – during the Christmas break - is not the time to announce them. These are major changes, with profound implications. They should be subject to full discussion, and should not be rushed.

View full article here

But it's a good time to bury stupid news.

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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:46 pm 

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Stating the obvious part XIV

The defence spending thing is a game of consequences - at the moment, blundering about failing regularly hasn't really had any negative consequences for those senior apparatchiks who've been buying defence kit. Even when it's patently going wrong and the dullards know it - they have a propensity to insert fusible links like the project managers in the Nimrod MRX boondoggle and are allowed to keep walking and talking.

Given a situation where the effectiveness of our arms isn't required for the most part and the funding is effectively "bottomless" and without any audit it's annoying but no real surprise that the process goes wrong. I don't know why but the Kinshasa public transport system comes to mind....

Major projects supervised by a mandarinate that doesn't actually have much of a clue about the job at hand - but have a spooky ESP-like ability to sense a gravy train is historically characteristic of decadent societies heading for a fall.

To my mind accountability is the word and it needs enforcing - there needs to be hard words used, names named, PMEAs (personal metallic earth adjusters) renamed back to spades.

I hope that it won't happen, truly... but if we have to deploy en mass at some stage I fear that it will be an embarrassment surpassing the British Army's in early 1940.

I don't think it's exclusively a military thing - The Peter Principle, The Dilbert Principle, Putts Law are all rocognisable in our public employees - and it's all to do I believe - with the fact that personal accountability is entirely absent outside the bottom layer of the hierarchies in public employment.


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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:31 pm
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RAENORTH wrote:
mmatis wrote:
<snip>


That is the theory ... but of the RAF had bought F-16s instead of Eurofighter, it would have had a workable fighter-bomber for very much less money. But no, we had to support European co-operative projects. Even without the Nimrod, the UAV programme and and a few others, we are still looking at an over-spend of well over £20 billion, with not one of the problems solvable by giving the actual purchasing element to Tesco.<snip>

I would bet that if you looked closely, you would find the paw-prints of your Betters on the Eurofighter procurement and NOT those of the people actually charged with buying the planes. And while they probably opposed those directions, they understand full well that the order was legal and attempting to oppose it would have resulted in their termination.


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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:35 pm 

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RAENORTH wrote:
That is the theory ... but of the RAF had bought F-16s instead of Eurofighter, it would have had a workable fighter-bomber for very much less money.


And if they'd bought F-18s the money saved could have bought a couple of conventional instead of Harrier carriers from which the F-18 fleet could have flown as a Joint Force.

I'm waiting for the story of the £20 avionics part that could be bought for 50p from Maplin to come around again in the MSM.


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 Post subject: Re: A retreat into dogma
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:13 pm 

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Brian wrote:
RAENORTH wrote:
That is the theory ... but of the RAF had bought F-16s instead of Eurofighter, it would have had a workable fighter-bomber for very much less money.


And if they'd bought F-18s the money saved could have bought a couple of conventional instead of Harrier carriers from which the F-18 fleet could have flown as a Joint Force.

I'm waiting for the story of the £20 avionics part that could be bought for 50p from Maplin to come around again in the MSM.



The MSM's failures in the defence debate are approaching a full house. They don't bother about accuracy or even for the most part getting somebody in to comment who has relevant experience and specialist knowledge. Ignorant, gormless twerps who are looking for the opportunity to cast a poor pun seems to cover it.

TPTB in defence procurement obviously prefer things that way too.


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