in Defence

Serco Institute & King’s College London release Whole Force report

Posted 13 October 2020 · Add Comment

Financial pressures and new threats can be better manged through closer working between the armed forces, government and industry, a report published today by the Serco Institute has found.

Above: Click here to access the new report: The Whole Force by Design: Optimising Defence to Meet Future Challenges .
Image courtesy Serco Institute

The ground-breaking new report, The Whole Force by Design: Optimising Defence to Meet Future Challenges , is the product of a collaboration between the Institute and King’s College London’s Centre for Defence studies.

Analysing the Ministry of Defence’s delivery of the ‘Whole Force by Design’ policy, the study concludes that although the concept has been widely supported, more can be done by government and industry to realise its benefits.

The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review first introduced the Whole Force Concept. This was followed by Lord Levene stating that Whole Force should be developed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as his main recommendation in the People Section of his 2011 Defence Reform report. The concept aims to enhance Defence capabilities by ensuring that they are “supported by the most cost-effective balance of Regular military personnel, Reservists, Ministry of Defence civilians and contractors”.

Included in the report’s key conclusions are:

  • The Whole Force should be defined as: Effective, agile and resilient capability delivered by an integrated, pre-planned and affordable military capability. This is comprised of a mix of Regular, Reserve, civil servant and industry supported by appropriate technology to meet defence outputs.
  • To fully operationalise a true Whole Force model, there needs to be a comprehensive approach to the integration of contractors with their military partners before, as well as on operations.
  • The Integrated Review should include a Defence cyber workforce strategic audit, identifying the skills and force structure required for the defensive and offensive cyber missions through to 2030. This audit should assess the required size and scope of civilian, military (Regular and Reservist), and private sector contributions to defence cyber

On the release of the report, Kate Steadman, Director of the Serco Institute, said: “The military’s central role in supporting the UK’s response to the Coronavirus Pandemic has reinforced the importance of having a defence sector that can keep us safe in the face of ever changing threats.

“The Ministry of Defence is not immune, however, from the financial pressures that have only been exacerbated by recent events.

“Now, more than ever, we need to see the conclusions of this report put into action and the benefits of Whole Force by Design realised.

“Not only will we see greater cost-effectiveness, but we can keep Britain’s defence capacity strong and its capability developing.

“By embracing Whole Force by Design we can smooth the transition between old and new technologies and accelerate the Ministry of Defence’s practical transformation in the face of new threats. For example, policymakers can achieve the benefits of Whole Force in developing areas such as Cyber, the joint use of space, plus the support of autonomous systems.  

“As the report outlines, the Ministry of Defence has already made great strides in implementing the concept, but now is the time to make the next step and ensure it is delivered more widely in practice.”

The report author, Professor John Gearson Director, King’s College London’s Centre for Defence Studies, said: “The Centre for Defence Studies at Kings College London is delighted to have worked with the Serco Institute to produce this independent report on the Whole Force at such a crucial time for Defence.”
“The report provides a timely and important contribution to the on-going Whole Force debate and sets out a number of practical recommendations to progress the Whole Force’s implementation. If planned strategically and implemented consistently and efficiently, the Whole Force provides Defence with a means of increasing its capacity and resilience to meet future operational challenges.”


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