On 15 November, the Defence Supply Chain Strategy was published by the Ministry of Defence and Strategic Command. It is a response to the challenges faced within supply chains in Defence and industry, with disruptions and threats such as the state-led aggression in Ukraine and COVID-19 highlighting the fragile nature of these supply chains.

The Defence Supply Chain Strategy offers three headmarks that define its vision for the UK Defence Supply Chain (DSC) and frame the initiatives to deliver it:

Resilience by design

The strategy lays out a shift away from an emphasis on cost optimization and defines a new value proposition to enable prioritisation when decisions are made around supply chain resilience. This is done by balancing between the following elements:

  • Overall costs associated with a particular supply chain relative to a particular solution’s performance and reliability.
  • A delivery reliability assessment.
  • An assessment of the responsiveness of a supplier to changed requirements and quality of the supplied product or how well it meets specification.
  • Environmental sustainability.

A Bi-Modal Supply Chain

The DSC will become resilient by design through adopting a bi-modal operating model that would allow it to react during supply chain crises:

Mode 1 – This mode is a business as usual approach to supply chain management across defence and its partners, with an emphasis on continued improvement.

Mode 2 – This mode is to be available as a mechanism to respond to shock events or to mitigate threats to supply that could significantly affect defence outputs, which it can do through proactive and reactive approaches.

Maturity ambition for the Defence Supply Chain

The strategy sets a functional maturity ambition for the DSC for 2030 that will seek to minimise commercial fragmentation which undermines supply chain resilience.

The Defence Supply Chain Strategy builds on the aims of ‘Support Advantage’ that was outlined in the earlier Defence Support Strategy, which defined it as ensuring Defence has the forces and equipment ready when and where they are needed and able to be deployed quickly to confront threats.

Strengthening and increasing resilience in supply chains was also mentioned in the 2021 Defence and Security Industrial Strategy.

If you have any questions about the Defence Supply Chain Strategy, email ADS Defence Policy Advisor, Oscar Widlund.