Think tank: Adam Smith Institute

Author(s): Tim Ambler

July 21, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at reforming the Ministry of Defence.

The Adam Smith Institute’s latest discussion paper, written by Tim Ambler, proposes a number of reforms to improve the efficiency and value for money of the Ministry of Defence This paper is part of the Adam Smith Institute’s “Reforming the Civil Service” series. The Ministry of Defence has responsibility for a number of functions that are currently performed inefficiently and represent poor value for taxpayer money; Defence procurement has long been associated with delays, financial overruns and equipment failures; Previous reform efforts have proved ineffective: the solution is to remove large parts of procurement from the MoD altogether; A number of MoD enabling organisations are ripe for privatisation, including the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, the Hydrographic Office and the Oil and Pipelines Agency; Several other MoD enabling organisations could have their functions effectively performed by existing bodies; Taking care of veterans should be left to the Royal British Legion with pensions contracted out as other large employers do; Full headcount numbers which carry no security risk should be published annually, with a view towards greater transparency and appropriate scrutiny; This paper demonstrates opportunities to reduce the MoD headcount by approximately 28,682 civilian personnel (45%) through restructuring, redistribution and redundancy.