Rapid Fire 2011-02-21: Private vs. Public, Local vs. Global?
- Spending on private consultants within the UK’s Framework Agreement for Technical Support (FATS) is again making headlines: The Telegraph; The Guardian. Soon after being appointed, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said last year that he was working on it.
- Kim Carr, recently “promoted” as Australia’s Minister for Defence Materiel, spoke to the Australian Defence Magazine Congress:
“We want the best equipment we can afford and we want to be the best at supplying it. Now, those of you who know me well from another role know that I’m very much in favour of buying Australian. I wear this badge consciously. But it’s not a question of buying Australian at any price or on any terms [...] Longer term [sustainment] contracts are the way of the future, to provide the incentives for the investment’s company need in their own capabilities. [...] The new arrangements are being rolled out for the ANZAC frigates first, with the FFG fleet to follow, and the next five year contract for the ANZAC fleet is expected to deliver cost savings in that way of between 10% and 15% over the current arrangement.”
- US Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) recently joined the House Armed Services Committee. She is also on the Committee on Homeland Security, and voted against the FY12 NDAA because “exorbitant spending on programs of questionable value has further bloated military spending.” From her position statement on defense:
“One example is the V-22 Osprey, an aircraft no closer to being battle-ready after nearly three decades of development, despite the fact that it has cost more than $20 billion and has taken the lives of 30 crewmembers. Missile defense is another money pit that has yielded little benefit and has angered numerous foreign governments.”
- Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrote a long article on defense challenges faced by his country, just two weeks before the presidential elections he’s expected to win:
“The development of the military-industrial complex by the state alone is already ineffective and will cease to be economically viable in the mid-term. It is important to promote the partnership between the state and private businesses in the defence industry and make the procedures involved in establishing new defence enterprises less complicated. [...] The leading manufacturers of armaments and military equipment in the United States and Europe are not run by the state [...] The problem is that our private investors do not know exactly which of their capabilities may be used by the defence industry or areas where they can apply their energy or capital. An open information source must be established that clearly states the current needs of the defence industry for private businesses and investment.”
- A recent parliamentary report [PDF, in French] from France’s lower chamber casts a rather favorable light on private security contractors despite their country’s cultural reluctance and fear of ending up using “mercenaries.” Le Point explains [PDF] the timing of that report is poor given forthcoming legislative and presidential elections, but some French firms are active in this sector through foreign subsidiaries anyway.