The Royal Logistic Corps is making a huge contribution to operations in Afghanistan, however, the overall MoD wide management of supply chain accounting has come in for some severe criticism, the NAO releasing a fairly damning report on equipment accounting procedures.
The NAO report stated
“Despite action by the Department to improve its asset management and accounting, the issues I have identified are systemic and deep-rooted. The level of control exercised by the Department is not yet sufficient to enable me to provide an opinion on a significant proportion of assets reported in the financial statements.”
Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 26 July 2010
One is left wondering if some of the problems are a result of the fragmentation of responsibility for logistics and equipment accounting to various military, MoD agencies and civilian organisations.
The post of MoD Commercial Director was created as a result of the 2005 Defence Industrial Strategy was to take the lead in shaping the departments relationship with industry and future strategic commercial arrangements.
The first post holder came from an accounting background and was a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, upon joining he said
“I am very pleased to be joining a dedicated group of professionals in the Ministry of Defence. I will work hard to lead, support and develop the commercial team in MOD, to build strong relationships with industry, and, working with both, to help deliver good results for our armed forces, the taxpayer, and business.”
So who was the first post holder
Say hello to Mr Amyas Morse, forging relationships with industry, the people who bought us JPA, JAMES and numerous other IT systems that always seem to deliver less than they promise. For another view on the impact that Amyas had on the MoD, click here and our take on JPA, here
Perhaps Mr Morse knows too much!
This might seem like something that only concerns the bean counters, those paper clip empire building bureaucrats that the mainstream media like so much to vilify but it has very real operational impact. If you do not know where something actually is you will not be able to use it when you need it, on operations for example. Equipment is no longer disposable, the value of almost everything in the inventory has risen and as we look to upgrading rather than buying new we absolutely have to know where equipment is at any given point.
To further highlight the very real issues of supply chain management have a read of AVM Jock Stirrups evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, especially with regard to body armour.
The MoD claim that the BOWMAN equipment hasn’t been lost, its just can’t locate exactly where it is, anyone who has ever been charged for a diffy tent peg on their 1033 might find this defence rather amusing.
I will keep this one short, just a set of basic suggestion without much background because, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know that much about the subject, please ignore my ignorance
- Create a new joint service mega Corps to manage all Combat Service Support functions, merging the RLC, AGC and REME into a single integrated support group.
- Transfer the RLC Pioneers to the Royal Engineers
- Embed a CSS cadre with all combat and combat support units to ensure an effective end to end supply chain, as low as squadron or battalion level if needed to support sub unit QM’s. This would replicate and enhance the existing REME Light Aid Detachment function and extend into logistics issues.
- Transfer all RAF and RN logistics functions into the new group, including catering and engineering (maybe a bit too far but included as a talking point)
- Instead of the piecemeal and poorly integrated system we have now, invest in a proper end to end logistics management application with the appropriate tracking equipment and training. Above all though, despite the differences in between the services, it must be a single system.
- Reconsider the use of consultants; partner with worldwide logistics organisations for skills transfer or simply develop expertise in house
- Consider moving all transport and logistics equipment into the tri service CSS Corps, including the RFA and RAF transport. Support helicopters might even be included in this. This will create a truly seamless, joint logistics organisation that has control of all the means of delivery of fuel, ammunition and others stores (OK, even more wild than above!)
- A serious, independent review of DSDA and its integration with other MoD supply chain and accounting functions