What is the British Military Integrated Procurement Model?

What is the British Military Integrated Procurement Model, and how is it changing the armed forces procurement process?

The British Ministry of Defence is introducing a new programme to improve procurement for the armed forces.  It is intended to speed up the supply of new equipment, and replace an existing strategy that can provide kit over budget, past deadlines and through a complicated process.

The new Integrated Procurement Model is designed to involve the military earlier in the design process, with the forces aiding in the development. 

Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge told MPs “The narrative of our acquisition system has long been dogged by major programmes that were variously: over-complex; over-budget; over time.”

“Of course, military procurement is complex. And external factors, particularly supply chain disruption, have caused delays across the board – which are likely to continue hitting programmes for the time being.”

Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge

He also argued that the current procurement system can delay projects and different services compete for funding.

“With budgets under strain from inflation, the result is inevitable – what we call ‘over-programming’; in the absence of effective prioritisation, too many projects chasing a finite amount of funding.

Inadvertently, this drives a competition between the three single services – each vying to get their programme on contract, knowing funding is over-subscribed. Such ‘over-programming’ can only be dealt with in one way. Delay – shifting programmes to the right to make the books balance.”

Five key elements of the the Integrated Procurement Model 

  • A joined up approach to sourcing
  • A new programme of checks and balances
  • Increasing the priority of being able to export the products
  • Supporting innovation within industry
  • Pursuing spiral development as a default position - “Seeking 60%-80% of the possible, rather than striving for perfection.”
Soldiers from 1 Regt AAC conduct blank firing building clearances as part of their Urban FARPing element of Exercise URBAN MAPLE (Credit: AirTpr David Allen AAC / UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023)

Military procurement working with industry 

A key area of the strategy will be to improve the relationship between the British military and industry.

“We have already started our radical new venture of engaging industry in secret, to give the strongest possible understanding of our future requirements,” said James Cartlidge.  

“My aim is to embed this approach throughout procurement, driving the deepest possible relationship with industry, that enables entrepreneurial innovation to flourish, and our supply chains to become more resilient. A ore holistic supplier management approach will complement this by enabling the department to speak with a clearer voice regarding priorities once on contract.”

Any existing procurement programmes will continue under the old model, but the new methodology will be implemented from mid-April 2024.  

“The current environment in which we find ourselves – war in Europe – has made it impossible to ignore the urgent need for change,” he concluded. 

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