Report blasts British defense procurement

Aug. 23, 2009 at 4:11 PM

LONDON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- A report allegedly buried by the government asserts British forces in Afghanistan are being endangered by inadequate support, The Sunday Times of London says.

The report, authored by businessman and government adviser Bernard Gray, was ordered by former Defense Secretary John Hutton but allegedly has been suppressed by his successor, Bob Ainsworth, after the government got into a public spat with recently retired army chief Richard Dannatt over equipment shortages in Afghanistan, the newspaper said.

A copy of the report leaked to The Sunday Times contends alleged bungling and mismanagement of military equipment procurement by Whitehall is so endemic that it "is harming our ability … to conduct difficult current operations."

Saying the process is should be "privatized," Gray, wrote: "How can it be that it takes 20 years to buy a ship, or aircraft, or tank? Why does it always seem to cost at least twice what was thought? Even worse, at the end of the wait, why does it never quite seem to do what it was supposed to?"

The Sunday Times says Gray in the report accuses Labor Party politicians of fudging on necessary "difficult choices" on defense spending and of overestimating the limited capabilities of British forces.

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