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Troops in danger as outdated systems at the MoD reach meltdown

Kathleen Hall

Outdated IT systems at the the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are reaching meltdown, with the risk of seriously affecting troops' ability to carry out operations, a National Audit Office report has found.

Data for the MoD's base inventory is held on very old IT systems, some of which came into service more than 30 years ago. The chances of these older systems suffering a catastrophic failure has risen to a critical level, which would have a major impact on the department's ability to maintain front-line operations, said the report.

The MoD's use of information to manage its supply chain falls short of general logistics industry best practice, added the report. "Reliance on such systems means that it is very challenging to produce the business information required by stakeholders to run an effective and efficient supply chain," it said.

"The department should improve and upgrade all facets of its supply chain information data systems, especially considering the significant operational risks of continuing to use decades-old IT systems," said Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Committee of Public Accounts.

"The Department urgently needs better supply chain information systems with the appropriate skills and processes to match. It currently keeps the armed forces supplied by either stockpiling more than necessary, sending too many routine items by air, or both. This ties up precious resources that could be better used to support troops," added Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office.

The amount of time troops wait for supplies has declined since the spending watchdog's 2009 report on support to high intensity operations but the MoD is still not meeting its own performance targets, said the report.


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