There is a group of MPs within the Parliament that is called the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and a few days ago I spotted in the the website of the Institute of Engineering and Technology that the PAC were focusing on what they consider is a very challenging failure by the Government’s Ministry of Defence. The IET stated that “The PAC report stressed that the department had been “struggling for years” to deliver critical digital projects, some of them needed for use by UK warships and satellites.” The PAC report was published on the 3rd of February and the group involves 15 MPs which is led by the Dame Meg Hillier who is the Labour for Hackney South and Shoreditch. There are three other Labour’s, one SNP and one Liberal Democrat and the rest of them are nine Conservatives.
The Ministry Of Defence is led by Ben Wallace who is Secretary of State for Defence and he appears in this picture and his group involves James Heappey, Alex Chalk, Andrew Murrison and Baroness Goldie so apart from Baroness Goldie who is part of the House of Lords, that all of the other MOD members are Conservative MPs.
The information that I spotted was set out by the IET which was published here. The PAC report includes these words:
Time for MoD to fundamenstally change the way it operates, says PAC
- Ministry must quickly demonstrate new urgency and realism
- MoD has struggled to bring digital defence systems into modern era for years
- Two critical IT projects now rated unachievable
The Ministry of Defence must fundamentally change the way it operates to implement its new digital strategy at the necessary pace and scale, but still does not have a delivery plan that will allow it to do this.
In a report today the Public Accounts Committee says the MoD has been struggling for years to deliver the major programmes necessary to replace over 2,000 systems and applications for 200,000 users, ranging from administrative and back-office IT to military platforms such as ships and satellites – much of it outdated legacy systems.
The rapid deployment and exploitation of new technology is now at the very heart of the defence of the realm, with the urgency of this challenge demonstrated by the current conflict in Ukraine. But of the defence IT projects large and critical enough to have their performance reported publicly by the Infrastructure Projects Authority, three had significant issues and two – the New Style IT Base and MODNet Evolve – were assessed as ‘unachievable’.
The IET piece also states
A report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found that modern warfare is “accelerating away” from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), as it failed to deliver fundamental upgrades. The chair of the committee, Labour MP Dame Meg Hillier, said the MoD was “frankly not up to the task it faces”, and called for a “significant cultural change” to bring the systems up to date and to be prepared for modern battles ahead. As a result of long delays, PAC found the MoD was critically delayed on several projects, which were now in danger “of being obsolescent on delivery”.