Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

The Government’s Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS) has been published today. It aims to establish “a more productive and strategic relationship between government and the defence and securities industries” and to treat defence and security industrial sectors as a strategic capabilities in their own right.


The Strategy replaces the policy of ‘global competition by default’ with a flexible, nuanced approach and aims to sustain and grow onshore industrial capability and skills in areas most critical to defence and security. Announcements that will be of interest to members are as follows.


Acquisition and Procurement Policy

  • An ambitious and comprehensive review of the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations as part of the broader government review of procurement regulations
  • The MoD’s commercial policy on the limitation of contractor’s liability is being updated, responding to industry concerns regarding putting uncapped liability onto bidding companies
  • Taking explicit account of social value policy priorities. A minimum 10% weighting in competitions to be given to social value from 1st June 2021.
  • Building on MoD-Industry engagement by improving communication of longer-term government priorities, requirements and pipelines, and driving implementation of the MOD Strategic Partnering Programme Publishing a fresh MOD SME Action Plan setting out how MoD further improve access to opportunities for SMEs
  • Piloting a revised industrial participation policy for defence procurement, to promote onshore supply chain opportunities to companies bidding for MOD contracts.
  • A comprehensive review of the Single Source Contract Regulations, focusing on speeding up and simplifying the process, as well as incentivising innovation and support of government objectives. MOD will publish a Command Paper later this year.
  • Introducing Intellectual Property strategies into acquisition processes for defence programmes
  • Encouraging and support defence suppliers to consider what can be sourced from within the UK
  • Continuing to welcome overseas-based companies and investment into the onshore industrial base, and continue to work with international partners to co-develop and collaborate on new capability

Enhancing UK Productivity and Resilience

  • Establishing a Defence Supply Chain Development and Innovation Programme, leveraging wider government investment, developing stronger mid-tier defence companies and supporting SME growth
  • Mapping the most critical supply chains and improving the reporting and management of risk across critical programmes
  • Developing the Joint Economic Data Hub and revitalising the UK Defence Solutions Centre to provide strategic planning and development support
  • Implementing the National Security and Investment Bill which will strengthen the UK’s ability to investigate and where necessary intervene in mergers, acquisitions other transactions
  • Working with suppliers to establish clear, effective processes which promote security in supply chains
  • Working with industry to nurture and develop relevant skills in the defence and security sectors. The Pan-Defence Skills Framework will make it easier for people to move between government and industry by providing a common structure and governance system for how the MOD manages skills
  • Working to ensure access to good quality and timely data on the economic footprint of the defence sector, to monitor the value and effectiveness of prosperity initiatives


Technology and ‘pull-through’

  • Publishing a new defence science and technology collaboration and engagement strategy
  • Developing an ambitious defence Artificial Intelligence strategy and investing in a defence AI centre
  • Investing in Defence and Security Accelerator challenges to identify innovative solutions to key challenges
  • Expanding the Defence Technology Exploitation Programme being piloted in Northern Ireland into a UK-wide initiative to support collaborative projects between SMEs and prime contractors
  • Through the National Security Technology and Innovation Exchange, piloting a network of co-creation spaces


International Cooperation, Exports and Foreign Investment

  • Establishing clear priorities for international cooperation and export opportunities
  • Responsibilities within MoD for ensuring adaptability and collaboration opportunities are considered early
  • Enhancing and diversifying international strategic partnerships and enabling industrial cooperation
  • Establishing a new government-to-government commercial mechanism for defence and security exports
  • Establishing a Defence and Security Faculty as part of DIT’s Export Academy, to give SMEs access to regional, financial, and political expertise

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