Lord Levene’s recommendations for reforming the UK MoD

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Neil Waghorn

Lord Levene's long awaited Defence Reform report was published on 27 June 2011 and will result in the ‘most radical shake up the MoD has seen in a generation’, according to the Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox. The 89 page report analysed the issues facing the MoD and came to the conclusion that the need was to establish an MoD that ‘builds on the strengths of the individual Services and the Civil Service, and does so within a single Defence framework that ensures the whole is more than the sum of its parts.’ An additional focus was to ensure that, in the future, the MoD would avoid the financial black hole that it currently faces. This is described within the list of recommendations within the context of ‘affordability’ and ‘accountability’.

The report has suggested 14 recommendations for ministry reform (including the subsections, they total 53). Dr Fox reportedly agrees with all of these recommendations and seeks to implement them. These include:
  • Establishing top-level decision-making to be centred on a new and smaller Defence Board
  • Reviewing and realigning of MoD ministers to fit the new ministry model
  • Clarification of the Permanent Secretary and Chief of Defence Staff’s roles and responsibilities
  • Strengthening and reducing the size of the Head Office and a clarification of roles and responsibilities
  • Establishing the precedent that Service Chiefs should focus on their respective services and ensure that they develop within their allocated budget
  • Strengthening of overall financial management
  • Establishing a Joint Forces Command
  • Making Permanent Joint Headquarters responsible for all military options
  • Ensuring that the Chief of Defence Materiel has the necessary authority to perform their task, as well as include them on the Defence Board
  • Creation of the new Defence Infrastructure and Defence Business Services organisations
  • Reduction of the size of the senior cadre of Defence and management levels to ensure the ‘most cost-effective balance of regular military personnel, reservists, MOD civilians and contractors’
  • Establishment of a Career Management System designed to ensure that skills individuals are in suitable jobs that there are more transparent and standardised promotion processes
  • Ensuring (by the Defence Board) that reforms are properly implemented, co-ordinated and resourced
  • Establishing a ‘lead by example’ model at the highest levels of the ministry

The MoD will reportedly publish a blueprint for the implementation of these recommendations later this year.