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UK Defence Command Paper: UK sheds light on industrial strategy objectives

The UK has cast more light on its future approach to defence and security procurement, industrial co-operation, exports and the defence of supply chains in the Defence Command Paper (Defence in a Competitive Age) of 22 March.

The Ministry of Defence policy document outlined specific measures – ranging from programme decisions to force structures – following the publication of the UK government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy on 16 March.

The Defence Command Paper provided guidance on measures relating to defence acquisition and the sustainment of domestic industries that will be expanded upon in the UK’s pending Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS); a refreshed approach to the military industrial base that will be published later this year following the commencement of a review in March 2020.

The UK has pledged to pursue acquisition reform, to “adopt a more strategic relationship with industry [to] build a more sustainable industrial base”, to increase the contribution that the defence industry makes to “UK prosperity”, to seek regional benefits and to consider “social value” when making procurement decisions, to take steps to enhance defence and security exports, and to defend supply chains from predatory investment through strengthened protections.

On defence acquisition, the MoD will “make [its] acquisition and procurement policies and processes more agile” while reviewing “procurement practices to enable more small and medium sized enterprises to participate in defence procurement”.

Procurement decisions will also seek to “drive benefits across the UK – sustaining high-tech jobs, strengthening productivity and powering UK competitiveness”.

While the Integrated Review of 16 March stated that the UK would move away from its eight-year-old stance of “competition by default”, the Command Paper stressed that “competition will remain an important consideration to drive value for money in many areas”.

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