Published 03 May 2024

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Transforming DE&S for the better is only the start of the collective change needed to deter the threats faced by the UK and its allies.

That was just one message delivered by our CEO, Andy Start, as he addressed the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.

In a speech to more than 100 people in person and online, Andy highlighted the importance of strengthening the UK’s defence framework to effectively meet the threat of Russia and support our international allies.

He reflected on a successful recent trade mission to Ukraine and also discussed the changing demands on Allied acquisition organisations.

And he explained the operating model transformation currently underway at DE&S to increase the speed and efficiency of delivery as part of a wider MoD programme of change.

Andy said:

“Over the last 12 months we’ve been transforming quite dramatically. We’ve been focusing on making ourselves more effective and more efficient.”

“It’s the most significant change in DE&S in over a decade. It’s focused on making sure we can improve availability, we can speed up time-to-market, we can execute on considering exports from the get-go. And it’s a key underpin of the Integrated Procurement Model.

“The first part of it – the DE&S Gateway – went live in March and it’s already making a difference to the way we operate. We’ll have the rest of the operating model to a minimum viable product by the autumn and we will be in full flow by next year.

“It’s a profound change to our processes, and an even greater change to our culture.”

Addressing RUSI fellows, media and defence experts, Andy also provided his insight on how to maximise the organisation’s unique position in the defence enterprise, while strengthening the international partnerships that enable continued protection and prosperity for the UK and its allies in an increasingly dangerous and contested world.

In a call to action, Andy added:

“We need to work together to completely digitise our end-to-end acquisition processes.

“There are huge opportunities to improve the defence industrial landscape to make it more competitive, more innovative, more proactive, secure, resilient and to better leverage the brilliant level of innovation we have from SMEs.

“We need to attract more capital to the defence sector. We need to work with educators to grow some of talent we are going to need in what is going to have to be a growing market.”.

Reflecting on Andy’s address, Director of RUSI’s Defence, Industries and Society Research Group, Trevor Taylor said:

“Both affordability and a deteriorating global security situation make increased acquisition effectiveness vital for the Ministry of Defence.

“There has been a flow of policy commitments coming from the MoD as a whole, including an Integrated Procurement Model, and DE&S’ Chief Executive Andy Start provided a clear explanation of how his organisation is responding to its need to go better and faster.”

Watch the discussion now: