Defence civilians launch select committee plea

Defence civilians launch select committee plea

Prospect is to call for an urgent enquiry into defence civilians by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee as part of its examination into progress on the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

As part of its campaign work on behalf of members in the defence industry, the union will again bring together figures from politics, the UK defence industry, defence analysts and commentators for a seminar to discuss the implications of the government’s SDSR announced in October 2010.

The seminar: “Supporting front line forces” is being held at the Royal Society in London. Prospect will also launch its independent report into the challenges facing defence civilians and their contribution in supporting the UK’s front line armed forces and the wider defence sector.

Deputy general secretary Mike Clancy said: “Prospect has long maintained that the Ministry of Defence faces an on-going financial crisis. The union has issued repeated warnings that funding cuts to capabilities threaten the ability of the UK‘s armed forces to reach its defence and security goals.

“The crisis surrounding MOD now extends to the UK defence industry. The swingeing cuts to the defence budget announced as part of the government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review is hitting private industry. Thousands of highly skilled jobs have already been lost. MOD’s industrial policy is in disarray and plans to cut 25,000 defence civilians from MOD is a recipe for disaster which will leave MOD desperately short of the in-house skills it needs to be an intelligent customer.

“A key aim of the report and seminar is to highlight the crucial role played by defence professionals both in MOD and the wider defence industry. Without them the success of our armed forces is made that much harder.”

Prospect commissioned the report by Professor Trevor Taylor from RUSI and defence consultant, Brigadier (Retired) Jim Campbell to provide a background analysis to inform the union’s contribution to the Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Green Paper, announced in December 2010, and the work of the Defence Reform Unit, due to be completed by the summer of 2011.

Speakers at the seminar include:From politics and Whitehall:Michael Dugher MP, shadow defence minister, Ben Merrick, head of Defence Acquisition Reform Programme, MODFrom industry:Bob Keen, head of government relations BAE Systems, Dawn Vinall, sector manager for aerospace and composites, SEMTAAnalysts and trade unions:Brigadier (Retired) Jim Campbell, report author, Tony Edwards director of UKNDA, Mike Clancy deputy general secretary and Paul Noon general secretary, Prospect.

The report can be downloaded using this link.