Mike Hookem MEP, UKIP defence spokesman, has welcomed a Civitas report calling for a more fluid and flexible approach to defence acquisitions, saying, “For too long the troops who use defence kit have been ignored in order to satisfy political agendas and major defence contractors. I’m pleased that Civitas is opening up this most important debate on the best ways to equip our armed force to meet operational demands.”
Mike, who in the past has called for a consolidation and reorganisation of MoD procurement procedures continued, “Civitas’ conclusions come as no surprise, as it has been obvious for some time that UK defence procurement has been too slow, too expensive and not fit to meet immediate or medium term operational requirements. This is especially true in an era of ever growing cuts in defence spending. Just look at how long it took to get mission specific equipment to the front line in Afghanistan prior to the SDSR 2010.
“From a defence and security prospective, we live in a very unstable world today and face multiple threats from a wide range of both state and non-state actors. The recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have stripped our forces of equipment and operational capability and the budget is simply not there to replenish our depleted stocks.
“As a country, we must take this opportunity to have a thorough debate about how we can equip our armed forces to be fit to meet the multi-faceted operational treats of the present and future; while at the same time giving value for money to the British taxpayer.
“While I support the debate on procurement being opened up, in my opinion, the only way to truly meet our future defence needs is to increase defence spending and then ring fence the newly increased budget.
“However, the sad truth is the Conservatives don’t see any votes in defence and are therefore determined to continue slowly dismantling our armed forces piece by piece.”