17 May 12. Budget and Transformation: Defence Secretary’s Statement. In a Statement to the House of Commons (14 May 12), the Defence Secretary said that “the black hole in the Defence Budget has finally been eliminated and the budget is now in balance”. Over the 10 years of Planning Round 12, the MoD is to spend almost £160,000m on new equipment and data systems. The Defence Secretary has agreed with the National Audit Office (NAO) that it will review the equipment plan and confirm that it is affordable. The NAO’s verdict on the plan is to be published in due course.
The Chief of Defence Matériel is drawing up a strategy that will involve a radical change to the structure of the Defence Equipment and Support organisation. The Defence Secretary hopes to make an announcement on the “radical change….before the Summer Recess”. The Defence Secretary also said that he would make an announcement, as soon as he is able, about the structure of Army 2020.
Comment: The Defence Secretary’s Statement is recorded in Hansard for 14 May 12, starting in Column 261 with a confirmatory list of equipment programmes in Columns 263/4. Although various sums were mentioned in the Statement, there is little evidence to support the assertion that the budget is “now in balance”. Concern about the Defence Secretary’s assumption that a transformed Territorial Army will solve the Army’s future manning difficulties remains. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/20, 21 May 12)
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Thursday 17 May 2012
Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Article 36 legal review of CHARM3 will be completed. 
Nick Harvey: The Article 36 legal review of CHARM3 is expected to now be completed by 1 June 2012.