This might be old news but what exactly do DE&S actually do
From the MoD web site
Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) equips and supports the UK’s armed forces for current and future operations. Employing approximately 22,500 people, with a budget of £13 billion, its Headquarters is located in Bristol with other sites located across the UK and overseas.
DE&S acquires and supports through-life, equipment and services ranging from ships, aircraft, vehicles and weapons, to information systems and satellite communications. As well as sustaining ongoing requirements including food, clothing, medical supplies and temporary accommodation, DE&S is also responsible for HM Naval Bases, the joint supply chain and British Forces Post Office (BFPO).
DE&S works closely with industry through partnering agreements and private finance initiatives in accordance with the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS) to seek and deliver effective solutions for defence.
So with a staff of 22,500 one might reasonably assume that they actually have some expertise in defining project requirements, evaluating solutions and making decisions on what to buy.
Defense News ran with a story describing how when faced with a requirement from Afghanistan for a portable short gap crossing system (thats a ladder to you and me) instead of calling on the resources of its 22,500 employees it outsourced the job to BMT.
Responding to an urgent operational request from the frontline to come up with a better method of crossing ditches and scaling walls than a conventional ladder the Ministry of Defence turned to BMT Defence Services to provide an answer.
In the space of five weeks this summer the Bath, England-based consultancy conducted a survey of possible solutions and completed a competition involving more than a dozen bidders from the U.K. and overseas.
Eugene Morgan, the director of systems at BMT Defence Services, says the consultancy team running the project spoke to designers ranging from a supplier of ship gangways to a Formula 1 racing team in order to find the best possible solutions.
Morgan said recommendations on the top three or four designs for the 3 metre bridge requirement was submitted to the MoD last month.
I suppose it’s a good thing that the requirement was met in double quick time but when ministers talk up the UoR process as a triumph for the MoD, how it is responding to need, being flexible blah blah do they actually mean
‘ we just pay someone else to do it for us because we are tooo busy buying aircraft carriers’
Is this another indicator of something we covered earlier, it’s not the numbers of civil servants that count but the types. If DE&S doesn’t have the bandwidth to run an acquisition exercise for what is more or less an upgraded ladder, then we need to be concerned.