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A Report on the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP)

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A Report on the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP)

Download a copy of Mobilising, Modernising & Transforming Defence.  Also, read here the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson's final update on the Modernising Defence Programme to the House of Commons.


The MDP Report will assist informing the content and debates of Defence Information 2019 (April 10 & 11) where the theme is 'Information-Enabled Modernisation'.

The Foreword from the Secretary of State summarises the themes from the three key words in the report title:

  • "Mobilise defence to make the most of what we already have…”;
  • Modernise defence and the Armed Forces to deliver national and international security more smartly and effectively, adapting how we operate, becoming more innovative and better at exploiting the opportunities offered by modern technology to ensure we retain strategic military advantage”; and
  • Transform the way we do business to maintain momentum on strengthening and modernising defence.”

The MOD CIO recently summarised the three themes of the MDP. "Mobilise is looking at today's threats and our readiness and resilience to deal with them; Modernise is concentrating on tomorrow's threats and our willingness to address our acquisition landscape and the modernisation of our workforce; and Transformation is dealing with what Defence needs to be and what we need to do to get there."


References to Industry and paragraphs of particular relevance to Industry in this report include:

Page 11: "Finally, security and prosperity go hand-in-hand – Defence delivers both. Alongside British industry, we have continued to make a major contribution to UK prosperity and the objectives of the Government’s Industrial Strategy." (see

Page 11: "This reinforces the role that Defence plays in the UK economy. Our refreshed Defence Industrial Policy set out our desire to create an environment that encourages a thriving and globally competitive UK defence sector as part of our wider industrial base. Philip Dunne’s prosperity report offered recommendations on how we can grow this contribution even further. We will respond to his recommendations in due course" (see

Page 17: "We need both to create some financial headroom for modernisation, and to reinforce our ability to sustain strategic advantage in a fast-changing world. To do so, we will need to embrace modern business practices and establish a culture that can nurture innovation in Defence. This also applies to our relationship with industry, which we need to become leaner, fitter, and willing to share risk more fully with MOD. Based on our work to date, we believe that we can achieve over the next decade the very demanding efficiency targets we were set in 2015, including through investment in a programme of digitally enabled transformation. We have already saved almost £5 billion in efficiencies over the last five years – nearly 70% of our target."

Page 20: National Security Objective 3: "Promote Defence and security exports, lead strategic campaigns, and increase global opportunities for UK Defence and security industry"

Page 20: National Security Objective 3: "Shape and strengthen the competitiveness of UK Defence Industry and successfully collaborate overseas"

Page 22: "We are investing more effort in identifying and pursuing opportunities for innovation and the rapid and effective exploitation of novel ideas and technologies. Doing so is crucial to maintaining our military edge, ensuring future relevance and the ability to operate alongside allies and partners. It can also deliver more affordable capabilities and extend the global reach of UK industry"

Page 23: "Given the accelerating changes in technology, the character of warfare and the world of work, we now plan to strengthen the performance of the Whole Force: accessing the talents of our Regulars, Reserves, Civil Service and industry partners more effectively. This will have implications for the size and shape of our future workforce, which will be worked through in detail. The outcomes of that work will therefore supersede the civilian workforce assumptions made in SDSR15."

Page 23: "We need to maintain specialist skills that are not usually found in the Regular Forces. Therefore, our Reserve Forces remain a key part of our national flexibility and resilience. We need to attract more high-end skills into Defence by providing unique opportunities and a competitive employment offer. We need to work with industry to ensure key skills are more available, especially in artificial intelligence, data analytics, cyberspace, space and other new technology areas."

On Information Advantage:

Page 16: "More generally, we will focus on gaining ‘Information Advantage’ as the character of warfare changes. The effective collection, analysis and dissemination of vast quantities of data will enable us to understand how our adversaries are thinking, how they may choose to act against us, and how we can act quickly to deter or defeat them. We are pursuing modernisation in areas like artificial intelligence, machine-learning, man-machine teaming and automation to deliver the disruptive effects we need in this regard."

Added: 18th December 2018


Defence & Industry Support Chain Optimisation Group (DISCOG)

Defence Information 2019 (DI'19) - 10 & 11 April

Industry Customer Engagement Forum (ICEF) with MOD ISS

Joint Information Group (JIG) Strategy Board