There is widespread coverage of the awards given in Operational Honours List 43, which recognises the bravery and meritorious service of all three branches of the Armed Forces across the globe. Amongst the recipients was Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey, 27, of the Parachute Regiment, who has been awarded the Victoria Cross, the premier award for gallantry in the presence of the enemy.
The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
I would like to warmly congratulate the Service personnel whose efforts have been recognised today. While thee awards can only be for the few who have demonstrated the most exceptional bravery, we should thank all of the Service personnel that have served their country on operations with distinction over the last decade. The award of a Victoria Cross is a particularly significant event. Lance Corporal Leakey’s herorism was quite remarkable and reflects the very best traditions of the military.
The Independent, the Mirror, and the Times run stories on an National Audit Office Report published today that has looked at Defence Acquisition reform. There are claims that the MOD wasted £33m on“botched attempts“ to semi-privatise the budget agency that buys military equipment. However the NAO report acknowledges the real progress that the MOD has made in reforming defence acquisition, including stabilising ad improving the affordability of the Equipment Plan.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne MP, commented:
We are investing around £163 billion in cutting edge equipment over the next ten years with our major projects coming in last year nearly £400 million under budget in stark contrast to the £4.5 billion cost overrun in 2009. We are not only improving performance through project delivery, but also transforming the way we undertake defence acquisition. Of the £33 million which the NAO identifies, £25.4 million was money well spent on informing the establishment of DE&S as a Bespoke Trading Entity. The £7.4 million spent on the GOCO option represents 0.6% of the annual cost of running defence procurement.
Procurement Reform Speech
The Financial Times and The Times preview a speech to be made by the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon at the Institute of Directors North East Annual Dinner where he will discuss the MOD’s new approach to driving value for money from contracts that have to be awarded without competition. They report that he will set out how past abuses will not be possible under the new independent regulatory system that is now up and running, and outline an ambition for this new approach to lead to industry becoming deliverers for defence, rather than simply suppliers. They report that the Defence Secretary will highlight unacceptable practices that happened in the past under the previous procurement system that was largely unchanged since 1968, and will say: “Under the previous regime some defence suppliers exploited a lack of competitive pressure and transparency. Companies even tried to claim back overhead costs that included croquet, horse racing trips, motoring fines, even two close-up magicians. Since 2010 we have cracked down on claims like these that were the result of an unacceptable culture.”
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