General Sir Chris Deverell, the Commander of the UK’s Joint Forces Command (JFC), has accepted that the length of time it takes to get programmes into operation in the military is a ‘real issue’.
General Deverell was hosting a ‘Twitter Q&A’.
In June, I spent two days at the RUSI Land Warfare Conference in London. While there, the time scale for equipment and technology acquisition was frequently covered. Indeed, several noted that in the time it takes for the military to get a new piece of technology operational, private companies have already progressed forward several generations.
By the time a new piece of technology comes into operation, it is already out of date. Causes cited included bureaucracy, procurement politics, and training time.
I asked General Deverell whether ‘compared to the civilian world’, if the length of time it takes to get a project from concept to reality undermines the ability to innovate.
Deverell responded, stating JFC ‘must have procedures that allow us to move faster in part of our acquisition portfolio’. I will be following up with him as to what these procedures might look like.
It should be noted that General Deverell handled the various questions very impressively; I will cover more of his answers in due course. I would hope to see more serving officers engaging on Twitter and following his example soon.
Having said that, it looks like the current lack of communication (with Deverell being a notable exception) has been recognised as a problem:
Very keen to get views of correspondents and will be reaching out soon. Hope you will contribute
— Assistant Chief of the General Staff (@rupertthjones) July 6, 2018