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05. February 2014

OCCAR Director speaks at UK Defence Forum


OCCAR Director Tim Rowntree was invited by UK Defence Forum, a high level non-partisan, non-profit organisation informing the UK Defence Policy debate, to join their recent meeting in London and speak to them. His speech was accompanied by a speech of Mrs Claude-France Arnould, the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA).

Mr Rowntree addressed four main topics. He firstly introduced OCCAR in general as a modern programme management organisation which was created with a strong vision to improve armaments cooperation in Europe.

Secondly, Mr Rowntree elaborated on the urgency to seek new opportunities to cooperate. Future capabilities and the respective modern European equipment will only be made available when the upfront technological investment is done in cooperation. And European industry will only be able to obtain its competencies and deliver world class capabilities if they are stimulated and challenged by some bigger armament programmes. Important cost savings for the European states can be achieved by cooperation, especially if also a common In-Service Support is implemented. 

As a third point Mr Rowntree emphasised the need to avoid national variants of defence equipment. In fact most of the national variants still address the same requirement but strongly increase the cost of the programme. It thus requires strong top-down leadership to challenge evolving considerations of national variants and to ensure interoperability and cost savings to the maximum extent.

Finally he tackled the question whether armaments cooperation can really work effectively. Key to effective cooperation is certainly a proper cooperation model which avoids unnecessary programme interruptions, costly work share requirements, duplication of programme management work and unclear management processes. Recent examples like the A400M programme have shown that if these factors are avoided a world class capability can be successfully delivered in a cost effective manner.
European states need to keep in mind what they can achieve when they work together and that they now need to act with confidence and vision in order to shape major future armament programmes to be delivered at the time needed. 

A lively questions and answers session followed the speeches and closed the event.

The full speech can be viewed below:

Speech Defence Forum (193kB)