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06 Feb 19. UK parliamentary committee questions FSS competition plan. An influential parliamentary committee has hit out at the UK government’s decision to open the procurement of up to three new solid support ships to international competition.

In a letter to defence procurement minister Stuart Andrew, Dr Julian Lewis, chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC), said the decision not to classify the planned Fleet Solid Support (FSS) vessels as warships was “difficult to understand” and “perverse” given the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) own characterisation of the ships as important enablers for naval task groups.

Forming the second component of the wider Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability programme, and endorsed as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the FSS capability is primarily required to deliver ammunition and stores at the necessary tempo and volume to support future carrier-based Maritime Task Groups. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

05 Feb 19. Evidence session on 2017 Arms Exports Annual Report.

Wednesday 6 February 2019

The Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, 3:45pm


  • Martin Butcher, Policy Adviser, Arms Campaign, Oxfam
  • Roy Isbister, Arms Unit, Saferworld
  • Mike Lewis, Head of Regional Operations in the Sahel, Conflict Armament Research
  • Edin Omanovic, Lead – State Surveillance Programme, Privacy International

This is the first evidence session for the Committees’ inquiry into Arms export controls during 2017, and is an opportunity for the Committees to take oral evidence from NGOs.  Further oral evidence sessions with the arms industry, academics and commentators, and the Government are planned for the coming months.

House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers


Asked by Mr Jim Cunningham

(Coventry South)


Asked on: 01 February 2019

Ministry of Defence

Defence Equipment: Procurement


To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of funding for the procurement of military equipment.


Answered by: Stuart Andrew

Answered on: 06 February 2019

We are committed to delivering large, complex and technologically challenging defence programmes to give our military the very best equipment. In November 2018 we published our most recent financial summary for the Equipment Plan, which explained that there is a significant level of financial risk in the plan and that forecast costs exceeded allocated funding by £7 billion across 10 years of the programme in April 2018.

As part of our work to modernise and transform the Ministry of Defence, we are revising our approach to improving military capabilities and improving efficiency to ensure we focus on delivery of sustainable savings for reinvestment in the front-line. We also continue to work closely with the National Audit Office to improve our management of the Equipment Plan. We will take careful note of the concerns raised in the recent Public Accounts Committee report on the Equipment Plan and will produce a formal response in due course.


Asked by Martin Docherty-Hughes

(West Dunbartonshire)


Asked on: 01 February 2019

Ministry of Defence

Defence Policy Board: Public Appointments


To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his Answer of 21 January 2019 to Question 207593, if he will publish the (a) criteria and (b) selection process for the membership of the Defence Policy Board.


Answered by: Gavin Williamson

Answered on: 06 February 2019

The Defence Policy Board will serve the important purpose of bringing outside perspectives and challenge to bear on Defence policy and strategy. Sir John Chilcot’s  Iraq Inquiry recognised this as a key imperative for Defence and the Government as a whole.

Following the publication of the report on the Modernising Defence Programme on 18 December 2018, we are working to establish the Board, including determining membership, and we will shortly be reaching out to prospective members. The criteria and selection process continue to be developed. We expect to establish the Board by the summer, at which point we will publish its membership and terms of reference.



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