BAE Systems has been announced as the preferred supplier for a major new framework contract with the Ministry of Defence.

The Analysis for Science & Technology Research in Defence (ASTRID) framework will be the primary mechanism for providing wide-ranging decision support, analysis and advisory services to the MoD for up to seven years, with a contract value of up to £350m.

The contract was placed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and will be delivered by BAE Systems’ analytical consultancy, CORDA, which has provided analysis and decision support services to the MOD for over 30 years. ASTRID will be the successor to the £120m Analysis Support Construct (ASC), Dstl’s current framework for defence and security analysis which has been managed by BAE Systems since 2015.

“Under the ASC, BAE Systems manages a 150-strong supply chain of defence companies, SMEs, consultancies and universities to deliver more than 300 separate analysis activities. This approach will continue under ASTRID, with a large, diverse supply chain delivering the majority of the work. The framework will be open to all government departments with defence and security decision support requirements. BAE Systems will source and select the best supplier from its specialist supply chain to conduct analysis and inform decision-making. ASTRID will therefore help ensure, for example, that investment decisions provide the best value for money.”

Suzanne Harrison, Director BAE Systems CORDA, said:

“We are excited to continue in our role as the MOD’s partner of choice for analysis and decision support, working closely with partners across the supplier community to deliver this. It has been fantastic under the ASC to see collaborative teams from across industry and government working to deliver essential support to defence and security decision-makers. Our approach to ASTRID will build on the many strengths of ASC, while bringing in new innovations to keep improving on the successes of the last five years.”

Dstl Divisional Head Rob Solly commented:

“The ASTRID contract will maintain the provision of high quality analysis to underpin decisions across MOD and our partners in wider Government.  It will build on the successful collaborative approach of ASC, providing access to the best talent in the UK and overseas. We also aim to progressively and significantly exceed the MOD target of awarding 25% of the work to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) including non-traditional defence suppliers.”

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Rfn_Weston

So we pay BAE to advise us if we should give work to BAE?

Haha!

I realise these is a lot more to it than that but the level of ‘outsourcing of decisions’ is why government departments are full of inexperienced cretins that make a balls up of nearly every major defence, infrastructure, transport & energy project across all government departments.

The MOD needs restructuring with experienced, business savvy procurement staff – If that means wages need to go up then so be it – Sack a few Admirals to pay for it.

T.S

Exactly what I was thinking! Surely it should be an impartial party?

ChariotRider

Hi Weston, It used to be internal. It was the main role of the old research establishments, which were sold off and became QinetiQ. I started work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment a aloonnnggg time ago and went throught the 10+ years evolution to privitisation (and ultimately redundency!). Recent NAO reports highlighted on here and on Save the Royal Navy suggest that the MoD is completely deskilled, something that came as no surprise to me given what I witnessed. I would say that calling staff cretins is to put the blame in the wrong direction. There is a general dislike… Read more »

nathan

I am certainly not a big state fan but I am certainly questioning the role of government. It is almost as though they try to abdicate responsibility for everything I care about and stick their nose in to things I consider private. The UK is too small a nation, too small a market and the people on average not wealthy enough to live as though we are a nation like the US – I wouldn’t want us to be. We need collective action, collective purchasing, collective intervention to achieve the economies of scale that we cannot achieve individually. It is… Read more »

julian1

why should the government “compel” companies to develop 5g – why can’t the government do that itself – after all, national security IS the biggest consideration here? However, if I look at it through the lense of post-covid economic support, for those capable companies that have received loans or bailouts, perhaps development SHOULD be a condition of support?

Rfn_Weston

I’ll concede the ‘cretin’ remark was more borne of frustration than anything else, however I have, and currently do deal with some who would fulfil the criteria! I think you can only blame Government intervention so far – they tend to weigh in on big decisions as opposed to micro manage day to day decisions. From experience, there is a complete lack of engineering or technical knowledge within the MOD’s procurement teams that allows liberties to be taken by both first and sub-tier suppliers. The civil service in that case is wholly to blame. Middle management specifically – who generally… Read more »

Rudeboy

That knowledge used to exist… It wasn’t the civil services fault it disappeared. They actually used to have lots of highly skilled civil service establishments set up specifically to advise and develop everything under the sun. And they did it very well.. But then came an obsession with ‘market forces’ from the political masters (in reality they saw >30% of the UK economy not able to be corrupted or open to their friends to make tonnes of cash). They destroyed this knowledge base by using corrupt ‘consultancies’ who were paid to go in to Government Depts. advise on restructuring, destroy… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

One of my big regrets CR. I have followed the history and the structures of our R&D establishments closely for years. ARE, RAE, RARDE, T&EE at Boscombe. All merged into the DRA, then to become DERA. Then good old John Major, ( I think he was the “cretin” at the top at the time, or was it Blair? ) chops the lot into DSTL and QinetiQ. Wasn’t QinetiQ sold off for peanuts or something? Now the MoD pays them, for things like the LTPA for ranges! Thank God we kept the DSTL bit, hopefully with the most sensitive bits like… Read more »

ChariotRider

Hi Daniele, Yeh, QinetiQ was sold off in 2002! By the Blair government, but this was a continuation of the Major governments policies, which as you highlight are still being taken forward today. Far too few politicians in this country understand technology, be it medical, engineering or any other scientific branch. Having said that there are two areas where the UK government has, so far, stuck with it – the British Antartic Survey and the UK Space Agency. Both I think generate political capital somewhere along the way. The British Antartic Survey is critical to our contested claims in the… Read more »

Rfn_Weston

Greased by the taxpayer at the military s expense.

George Roberts

Why is there a need for the M.O.D. if we have BA E organising military manufacturers to supply our Armed forces with their equipment and supplies?
Is this just a gigantic works scheme or do they intend to give our Armed forces the right kit at a competitive price?

julian1

I work in the data and analytics market. It is very specialized and requires some very bright people (I don’t necessarily include myself in that description!) It would cost a huge amount to set up an “in house” team of data engineers and data scientists and MoD would be in competition with the private sector – there is formidable competition for scant skills. Outsourcing it is a fairly sensible strategy as long as the contract is water tight for secrecy, staff retention, quality etc. It is impossible to avoid outsourcing as I can pretty much guarantee that the data platforms… Read more »

George Roberts

Thanks for your explanation which is a good answer for my tongue in cheek question
However to a layman the whole organisation seems very top heavy