NIS Response to Labour's Defence Review

Nuclear Information Service has submitted a response to the Labour Party's defence policy review.

Our submission majors on Labour party policy on Trident nuclear weapons, but we argue that the UK needs to reappraise its approach to dealing with global conflicts, and take a more pro-active approach based on 'sustainable security' techniques rather than relying on expensive military interventions to react to crises.

We argue that the Trident nuclear weapons system does not guarantee the UK's security and argue that replacing Trident would be an irresponsible and risky policy in the light of the system's cost, inflexibility, and likely future vulnerabilities.  We also call for the UK to take a leadership role in driving forward global arms control initiatives.

Download the full response here:

Comments

It is not only people on the left who have expressed concern about the excessive and rising cost of the Trident nuclear submarines programme.

Even the most recent Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence admitted to the Public Accounts Committee that, it is the likelihood of financial risks on the Trident replacement programme materialising sometime soon, which keeps him awake at night.

No surprise that the Government has delayed the parliamentary debate and vote on renewal of Trident to later this year.

Anyone who has worked in the defence engineering industry will know that financial risks start-out as innocuous looking technical risks on the Defence Contractor’s premises, where selected ones are deliberately concealed by the Contractor during the design and development phase, then skilfully transferred to MoD’s defence procurement organisation at Abbey Wood Bristol, where they morph into ‘show stopping’ risks and come to the fore immediately after the main investment decision has been taken (as they have done so spectacularly on the Type 45 destroyers with total power blackouts), ultimately ending up as an additional cost burden on the Front Line Commands, who have recently been given responsibility for the defence equipment budget – resulting in sleepless nights for many other people too.

This happens because a key behavioural characteristic of Defence Contractors is that they will always choose to conceal technical risks identified early in the programme, by engaging with procurement officials and getting them to focus on declared risks which ordinarily fall in the trivia category, whilst skilfully diverting their attention away from those really huge ‘show stopping’ risks which they will only reveal later on, when things go wrong, to realise their objective of ‘growing’ the Contract by getting Abbey Wood Team Leader to raise Contract Amendments and/or let Post Design Services Contracts.

They achieve this by contriving situations which entice procurement officials into partaking in detailed design decisions relating to the evolving Technical Solution, and then use this involvement to coerce procurement officials into raising Contract Amendments later on. Indeed, it the very existence of Contract Amendments and PDS Contracts that causes Contractors to conceal ‘show stopping’ risks in the first place!

These concealed risks then come to the fore immediately after (never before) the main investment decision has been taken, surprising everyone (except the Contractor) and imposing a budget-busting burden on MoD.

And because there exists no ‘Code on Ethical Behaviour in Business’ which would offer protection to good people on the Contractor’s payroll (generally in the direct labour category) who are driven by strong professional, ethical and moral values and who would otherwise blow the whistle on this conspiracy of concealment, they are forced to remain silent.

The only people who are not in the know about this blatant scam are those in the pay of the State!
So the chances of financial risks coming to the fore on the Trident renewal programme not long after the Parliamentary vote are about as certain as night follows day.
@JagPatel3 on twitter

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