Rant MOD missing £7 billion equipment

John A Silkstone

Mi General
MI.Net Member
Jul 11, 2004
Nearly £7 billion of military equipment has gone missing from Ministry of Defence records, it has been disclosed.

The National Audit Office has refused to sign off on MoD records that £6.6 billion of assets exist because of “inadequate levels of evidence”.

The assets include about a sixth of all vehicles, weapons and radios used by British forces and are equivalent in value to the entire annual defence equipment budget.

Liam Fox, shadow defence secretary, said the supply problems were part of a “sorry tale of failure” at the MoD.

“We have an army at war and an MoD that is simply not up to the task,” he told the Financial Times.

The MoD insisted last night that the equipment was “never physically lost” and that the NAO figure was an “extrapolation” from its audit.

It said that at the time of the report, the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency, which is responsible for supplying the armed forces, was unable to satisfy the NAO’s demand for paperwork to verify the assets.

The items in question include £1.25 billion of equipment deployed with British forces, such as machine guns, night vision goggles, encrypted radios and body armour.

Defence officials were unable to account for £350 million worth of fighting vehicles that were in theory being used for training and operations.

The remaining £5 billion of assets that could not be accounted for were predominantly raw materials and spare parts, ranging from bolts and oil to jet engines and propellers.

An MoD spokesperson said: “£6.6bn worth of MoD assets were never lost.

“Rather, at the time of the report, DSDA were unable to satisfy the NAO’s demand for paperwork from stock checking to verify their presence over the year and so this figure is an extrapolation of the lack of evidence available at that time.

“Since then, system improvements have been made and our reporting capability has been enhanced. Our stock verification systems continue to ensure an effective and efficient support chain to theatre.”

Shortages of equipment, including night vision goggles and radios, have been blamed for the deaths of several British service personnel.

Last month, a coroner ruled that Colour Sergeant Phillip Newman, 36, and Private Brian Tunnicliffe, 33, both of The Mercian Regiment, drowned in Afghanistan due to the MoD’s failure to spend enough on night vision equipment, and poor training.

The case had echoes of the inquest of Lance Corporal Jake Alderton, 22, of 36 Engineer Regiment, who drowned in Afghanistan because the driver of his vehicle was practically blind because of "ineffective" night vision equipment.

An inquest this week was told that “notoriously bad” radios contributed to the deaths of Sgt John Battersby, 30, and Tpr Lee Fitzsimmons, 26, in a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2007
Sad story we hear over & over again. War run by bean counters & bureaurats (and no, I did not misspell bureaucrats). And, of course, it's never their fault.

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