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UK releases Defence and Security Industrial Strategy

The UK has published its Defence and Security Industrial Strategy DSIS, heralding the document as “an ambitious plan to re-energise defence and security sectors” by “establishing a more productive and strategic relationship between government and industry”.

The review leading to the DSIS commenced in March 2020 and the document was published on 23 March.

It formed one of the strands of the UK Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (released on 16 March) and came 24 hours after the release of the Defence Command Paper, which outlined specific procurement, equipment and force objectives.

The direction of the DSIS had been heavily trailed in both the Command Paper and the Integrated Review, but the document brought some additional clarity to the UK government’s objectives.

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, to defend supply chains from predatory investment through strengthened protections, and to move away [from] a stance of “competition by default”.

Specific measures outlined in the DSIS include a revised industrial participation programme; a review of defence procurement legislation; a pledge to update single-source contracting; a commitment to the publication of a refreshed small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) engagement policy; an updated approach to intellectual property; and the adoption of the UK government’s ‘Social Value’ procurement policy by the Ministry of Defence.

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