Select Committee on Defence Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from the Minister for Defence Procurement, to the Chairman of the Committee, 27 September 2000

  Earlier this year, the Ministry of Defence's Chief Scientific Adviser undertook to review the MoD's research expenditure in the light of the outcomes required and established a small team to carry out this review. I must apologise that, due to an oversight, a letter informing you of the review at the outset was not sent as intended. This letter is meant to correct that omission.

  The team is considering how well the MoD's current and future science and technology requirements will be met by the existing arrangements and will make recommendations on possible improvements, including an implementation plan.

  The team has been tasked to review:

    (a) what outputs are produced and how they are assessed;

    (b) current and planned expenditure on science and technology, both operating and programme costs;

    (c) the processes, structures and interfaces through which requirements are identified and met, both internally and externally;

    (d) the Ministry of Defence's science and technology requirements for the future and the establishment required to deliver them;

    (e) how that establishment should be organised and sustained, including the professional development and deployment of the personnel involved.

  The study covers all areas of the MoD in which science and technology plays a role, and is taking account of developing work on the Public Private Partnership for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and other major change initiatives in the MoD and wider government. The review team is also considering the way in which other organisations, such as the Research Councils and other countries' defence departments carry out similar work, and how they assess the value of research expenditure and determine the outcomes required.

  CSA has also established a Reference Group, which he chairs, comprising the main interested parties within the MoD so that he can take into account the views of the major stakeholders as the team's work progresses. Professor Anthony Ledwith, currently Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, sits on the Reference Group to provide an external viewpoint. The Group has now begun to meet periodically.

  CSA expects the team to produce their final report early next year. I will write to you again with a summary of the report's findings once the Department has considered them.

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