The Defence Support Organisation stands-up under Strategic Command - as of 1st April 2020
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The Defence Support Organisation is led by 3* Chief of Defence Logistics and Support (CDLS), Lieutenant General Richard Wardlaw, as was stood-up (April 2020) under Strategic Command (formerly Joint Forces Command). It brings together some 600 staff from across Defence.
The MOS says that the "Defence Support Organisation will begin to address previous disjointed approaches and inefficiency. Support encompasses logistics, engineering and equipment support – from moving troops, loading aircraft and refitting submarines to storing and distributing parts, maintaining the engines of our armoured vehicles and refuelling them anywhere in the world."
The new organisation comprises 3 pillars:
- Support Operations, led by Rear Admiral Andy Kyte, ACDS Support Operations, will work closely with the Front-Line Commands (FLCs) to develop operational and strategic plans and policies, and development of the professional Support community
- Support Transformation, led by Air Vice Marshal Richard Hill, Director Defence Support Transformation, is responsible for a portfolio of work improving the way Support operates. It will formalise the rules of how Support functions and introduce an operating model, as well as making changes to processes and systems that are inefficient or difficult to maintain
- Joint Support, led by Major General Simon Hutchings, Director Joint Support, is responsible for planning and delivering performance excellence, compliance, and shared services across Support. Joint Support also controls and coordinates the strategic base – how we move people and equipment to where it is needed outside the UK bases and how we bring it back again
Work to improve the way Support is delivered across UK Defence is already underway, Commander Strategic Command, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said:
“The establishment of the new Defence Support organisation is a major step towards securing Support Advantage and, in doing so, delivering Battle-winning effect through the superior provision of support functions compared to that of our adversaries. Support Advantage will be achieved through significantly improved platform/equipment availability and superior, assured, coherent and cost-effective logistics, underpinned by technology and network exploitation and a culture that places NATO at the heart of Defence. To meet this ambition, Defence Support sits under Strategic Command, which is key given its mandate to drive Multi Domain Integration across the other FLCs including the novel domains of cyber and space.”
The Defence Support organisation is only part of the bigger picture. There are around sixty thousand people working in Support across Defence. The people in these roles make up the ‘Defence Support Function’. CDLS is the functional owner for Support, this means he has an active interest in making sure the function meets the needs of Defence Support professionals and Defence as a whole.
There are big ambitions for Support, including the consideration of through-life Support to equipment when we design and purchase it, making it easier for our engineers to maintain it and developing a modern supply chain where it’s easy to find what is required, order it, understand the cost of doing so and get the items to the front-line when and where they're needed: from boots to engine parts.
On the ambitions in the Support space, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS), said:
“Support is a huge part of what we do, with some 60,000 people across Defence and a third of the Defence Budget employed in ensuring that we have the equipment and the ability to sustain it, considering the logistical needs of getting that equipment, when and where it is needed, to enable us to succeed across the spectrum of operations – a challenge that has been brought into stark relief by the demands of the whole of Government strategy for meeting the challenges of COVID-19. By bringing key parts of the Support organisation together under the Chief of Defence Logistics and Support and by appointing him as the Functional Owner for Support, we now have a single, senior focus with pan-Defence responsibility for cohering support activities, driving performance excellence and for delivering Support transformation.”
Read about the Inaugural Strategic Command RUSI Conference:
Exploring the vision, ambitions and challenges for Strategic Command (UKStratCom) held at RUSI on 18 Feb 2020. The summary reports that General Sir Patrick Sanders, Commander Strategic Command explained the critical role of the Strategic Command:
"Strategic Command will transition the industrial age Joint Force to the Information Age’s Integrated Force. We will strengthen the foundations of integration within the current force and experiment and develop the capabilities and structures required for the 2030s and beyond.
This will be achieved in 3 priority areas: cyber, special forces and multi-domain integration. All are transformative, all are essential."
Added: 14th April 2020