UK's 'defence industry strategy flawed'
By Tim Ripley
UK government plans for the defence industry are undermining its ability to compete against foreign competitors, according to an influential committee of parliamentarians.
The House of Commons Defence Select Committee also criticised the proposals to outsource the running of the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) procurement organisation to a private sector management company, saying "problems might arise if a non-UK company were given responsibility for UK defence acquisition".
In its report into Defence Acquisition published on 5 February, the committee, which has a majority of members from government parties, was critical of many important planks of the UK coalition government's defence policies and a number of recent procurement decisions.
The committee's chairman and former Conservative defence procurement minister, James Arbuthnot, was not impressed with the 2010 decision to change to the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft - a decision that had be to reversed in May 2012 when the cost escalated by nearly GBP2 billion (USD3.1 billion). "[The 2010 decision] was taken at great speed, without full consultation, and without the Ministry of Defence [MoD] understanding how it could be implemented nor how much it would cost," he said in a press release launching the committee's report.197 of 572 words
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