Examination of witnesses (Questions 160
WEDNESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2001
CLIFFORD and MR
160. That is where the big money is.
(Sir John Chisholm)are essentially things like
(Sir John Chisholm) Okay. Now we have got some 4,000
patents and they are all in the public domain, or at least nearly
all of them are in the public domain. Certainly, if it would be
useful, a list could be provided.
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) What I think we
can do is to try to givehow can I put itan indication
of how it has been done, the sort of criteria applied. It is the
process that you are concerned about, not the actual individual
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) Perhaps if we can
do that that will help.
Mr Cohen: I will settle for that.
163. It seems the acronym should be GRASP not
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) You are good at
these, are you not, Chairman?
Chairman: GRASP as much away from Sir
John as you possibly can.
164. I have to say, the IPR thing will be very,
very pivotal to outside industry seeing the process it is in being
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) I am happy to try
to expose more of the process that has been gone through but I
am extremely reluctant to send you loads of bumph.
165. Could I just move on to the American angle
on this. Have the American authorities expressed their satisfaction
with the allocation of IPR between the two organisations? Have
they taken an interest in it? I imagine they have.
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) The Americans have
taken a very close interest in all this and we discussed this
the last time I appeared before the Committee. This has been discussed
at what I might describe as "political level", my level,
right the way into the roots of the organisation. Terence has
done a great deal of it. I have been to the United States to see
our friends in the Pentagon and elsewhere who have had very great
concerns about what has happened, legitimately and quite rightly
and properly. They have been to this country and we have been
through it with them on a number of occasions. The previous administration
issued a very helpful statement on this when Mr Rudi De Leon was
the Deputy Secretary. With the current administration we have
not had the chance of discussing it at a political level simply
because people have not yet been appointed to the jobs concerned.
166. You have answered the last of my three
questions. Let me come to the middle one. If I understand you
correctly, you are saying they have been very heavily involved
in the IPR aspect.
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) I think Terence
can give you further details because he has dealt with that.
(Mr Jagger) Yes. To broaden it, both
on IT separation and intellectual property, the US Government
nominated independent officials of their own, one of them based
in London. They liaised with us very closely. They have been down
to Farnborough and had presentations from the team doing separation
more than once. They have an open invitation to have updates on
that process and they will, like industry I should add, have sight
of the report of the independent auditors of the process. Those
auditors are skilled in this particular area. They have expressed
to me considerable satisfaction with both our willingness to involve
them and with what they have seen so far. 167. Lastly, a more
general question on the US involvement. I am still puzzled as
to how we get over the fundamental hurdle that American Government
owned organisations are not, as I understand it, allowed toperhaps
I misunderstand itcollaborate on an unequal basis with
outside contractors which New DERA will be. This tremendously
valuable, fruitful relationship that we have across the Atlantic
with DARPA, I am simply puzzled as to how it can continue?
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) The Americans have
give us, I hope you have a copy of the statement that we had from
Mr De Leon saying that they were happy that it was business as
usual. "Welcome the proposal. Believe it is constructive
and workable. There are detailed issues to be resolved but I am
confident they can be addressed satisfactorily". This is
dated July last year and a lot of that detailed work has gone
on since then. "Look forward to working closely with the
UK and maintaining our strong collaborative research links".
We have had no hint from them, for all the fears that were expressed
by others about a whole range of collaborative issues, including
the most sensitive ones in relation to defence, where there would
be any diminution of the collaborative effort between us.
168. The problem for us as a Committeeand
I will pass on because we are running out of timeand the
problem we all face is we have sat in rooms in the Pentagon and
heard people at working level, very senior parts of the working
level, and in one case at political level too, expressingadmittedly
when we were looking at the old arrangement but nonetheless expressing
in very general termsthe most severe concerns, in one case
in really extraordinarily strong language.
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) Yes, but, Mr Brazier,
that is one of the reasons why we did not progress. As I said,
in Mr De Leon's statement he says "We did have some concerns
about the previous proposals".
169. Some concerns, they were completely up
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) Those are the words
he uses, and those were the previous proposals. I think it is
a little unfortunate to visit the problems of the previous proposals
on the current proposals because he is saying very clearly in
the statement that he is happy with the current proposals. There
are still things to work out, as I said, we have been doing that.
Mr Jagger has been able to tell you that this has happened at
a very detailed level. We have had people looking at the presentation
of how it is done in Farnborough and they have had very considerable
access to the way in which the detail has been worked out and
have expressed themselves confident.
170. Will they treat Sir John's bit of the carve
up differently from what is retained?
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) Yes. Of course,
as I said in my initial reiteration of what was being held back
in Retained DERA, DSTL as we must now remember to call it, part
of that was because of the international collaboration. Yes, indeed,
one of the points that was raised with me when I first came into
this particular job and the original proposals were still on the
table was that the Government to Government relationship was what
absolutely had to be safeguarded. That is what has been safeguarded
and, of course, there will be a different relationship with DSTL
to New DERA.
171. Have you any idea when the new appointments,
the Dr Etter replacement or anybody above her level, are going
to be in situ to give their approval as to whether they agree
with the assessment finally given by the last administration?
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) I do not know. Those
appointments are all coming through, as I am sure you know, Chairman.
They do sometimes take quite a long time.
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) They do take quite
a long time.
173. Things will proceed and then at some stage
they will say afterwards they agree.
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) We have no reason
to believe that there are any problems about this. I was in Washington
myself at the time of the inauguration. I saw members of the transition
team just before the inauguration. Nobody raised any problems
with me about it and I am sure if they did have problems that
they would move very, very quickly to tell us about them. Terence,
we have not had anything other than business as usual in progressing
(Mr Jagger) No, that is right. We have had continuing
official contact with the continuity team and we have been progressing
all discussions about the TTCP arrangements, for example, individual
projects, and they have gone pretty well.
174. Just one last thing on that. On the Government
to Government side, obviously we heard what you say, although
I have to say I find it astonishing, even with the change of scheme,
how far the view seems to have moved. There is one other angle
on it which is that the Government in America, of course, is much
more hemmed in by the courts than you are over here. There is
nothing in principle to stop contractors in America who feel the
relationship between a particular scientific element of the American
scientific establishment and New DERA is disadvantaging them from
taking their problems straight to court. A lot of the law in this
area is actually backed by criminal sanctions not just civil ones,
just to make that point. I remember wading through the Hart Scott
amendment and all the rest of the anti-trust stuff, there are
very significant legal problems behind the American Government's
(Mr Jagger) The Government to Government relationship
will be 100% with DSTL. DSTL, and indeed people like the Defence
Procurement Agency, if they wish, contract out work to other people
in support of those arrangements, new DERA among them. That is
something which is not only widespread in the United States, it
happens to a much greater degree in the United States than it
does here. There should be no difficulty.
175. Forgive me, we have actually then got slightly
further into the onion then because what you are effectively saying
is there cannot then be the kind of direct relationship between
DARPA and teams in Sir John's New DERA that there used to be.
There cannot be that direct relationship any longer, it all has
to be indirect. Sir John is nodding, that is the basis of what
you have just said.
(Mr Jagger) DARPA lets contracts on a wide range of
organisations and if it wishes to let a contract on New DERA in
the future it will be able to. The Government to Government relationship
will all be through DSTL.
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) That has been part
of the whole point of modifying the plans that we had. There were
a wide range of different views about them. Part of it was in
order to safeguard Government to Government, not solely with the
United States, there are other Government to Government relationships
as well which are enormously important to safeguard.
176. The other countries in this special intelligence
loopAustralia, New Zealandthey are reasonably happy
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) I have discussed
it with my colleagues in Australia. I was in Australia only a
couple of weeks ago, there were no outstanding problems that they
raised with me then.
177. Just a couple of simple ones, I think.
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) Unlikely.
178. The New DERA will not be involved in manufacturing
but the MoD says "systems integrator". How do you separate
manufacturing from being a system integrator when most manufacturing
nowadays is systems integration?
(Sir John Chisholm) I do agree that manufacturing
is one of these things that is getting to be you know it when
you see it. New DERA will not, it will be a rather foolish thing
to enter into, it will not be making aeroplanes or ships or tanks
or anything that looks anything like that. What we have in New
DERA is a very considerable systems engineering capability. I
distinguish between systems engineering and systems integration.
179. I am a layman and I do not understand that.
(Sir John Chisholm) Well, systems engineering is an
intellectual activity to do with providing advice and understanding
how systems work as a totality and helping those who are involved
in the building of systems to help them understand how the totality
of what needs to be assembled can best be done. That is something
which we are very skilled at, we have lots of people who are very
skilled at doing that and we will continue to do that, principally
for the Ministry of Defence. That is an activity which we will
continue to be involved in.
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