Industry is the new ‘fighting domain’

Sir Nick Hine, Managing Director AUKUS and International at Babcock, discusses the role industry plays in helping governments more effectively procure defence services and select partners.

This is an overview of Nick’s points made during a panel session at Warsaw Security Forum in October 2023. You can watch the session below.

“Industry is the new ‘fighting domain’…

“What I mean by this is quite straightforward; governments do policy, governance, money and set requirements but it is industry that always does the delivery. Recognition that this is the case drives you quickly to the conclusion that engaging industry as early as possible in the procurement chain will lead to dividends. We should be clear that procurement and ‘shopping’ are different and for the former choosing strategic partners that support UK Government objectives is key. For the latter competition can undoubtedly drive lower cost but the opportunity here is in reducing schedule and increasing capability at the front line more quickly.

“The second point is one of resilience. We aren’t very resilient currently and will have to do things differently if we want to be. It is often quoted that we are ‘in an age of constant competition’ which by its nature implies that we previously didn’t think we were. If that is so and the context has changed then continuing to do the same things in the same way will not result in a different outcome. So, if we want to be more resilient and have a different relationship with industry we will have to address process in a new way – arguably one that puts schedule ahead of cost and one that looks to long term strategic partnerships.

“The US industrial base was transformed in the 1930s in response to this understanding. It’s time for us to do the same.”