Defence Procurement: What Should The New Minister Worry About?

Former Defence Minister Philip Dunne tells us what qualities are required to work in the role.

After the resignation of Guto Bebb as Defence Minister for Procurement, Forces News has been looking at what skills the MP's successor will need.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the Minister for Defence Procurement is "responsible for the Defence Equipment Plan, defence industry and exports, science and technology".

As the wait continues for Mr Bebb's replacement to be announced, we have spoken to Philip Dunne MP, a former Defence Minister for Procurement himself, on what the role entails and the qualities needed to succeed.

Former Defence Minister Philip Dunne with military personnel (Picture: PA).
Former Defence Minister Philip Dunne with military personnel. (Picture: PA).

What Qualities Do They Need?

"Somebody coming in will be able to bring either something experience from Government by coming from another department or some experience of the military so they don’t have to learn the language from ground zero."

What Is The Hardest Part Of The Job?

"It takes quite a bit of time to get your head around all of the different capabilities that the different services have and what their priorities are and what the department's priorities are."

"[The role] manages its whole relationship with the defence industry, so that's again quite complex because I think it's the second largest department of Government that is placing contracts with industry across Government. 

What Are The Main Priorities?

"I'm not privy to everything that’s going on inside the MoD so I can’t really answer that question, but undoubtedly the Modernising Defence Programme is one of the big issues."

The F35 fighter jet is a key part of the Modernising Defence Programme (Picture: Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright).
The F-35 will play a key role in the UK's military future. (Image: Crown Copyright).

Why Is It Such A Good Job?

"You do have some real influence over some of the decisions that are taken and that’s not always the case in other government departments to the same extent.

"It’s also incredibly varied so the whole panoply of Procurement and all the industrial relations and supporting defence exports, it means it's got a big international role to it.

"It's got a big industrial engagement role and a big role in getting to know the military and their capability."