Ministry of Defence £7bn IT project cost being reassessed

A £7.1 billion Ministry of Defence project could be rescoped following the announcement that a major government defence review will examine its work.

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A £7.1 billion Ministry of Defence project could be rescoped following the announcement that a major government defence review will examine its work.

The Defence Information Infrastructure scheme, one of the largest IT-related projects in the country, concerns the rollout of a single information and communications platform to the MoD, partly by providing hand-held terminals to 300,000 forces personnel around the world.

It is run by the Atlas consortium, led by HP (formerly as EDS), as well as Fujitsu, EADS, General Dynamics and Logica. A year ago, the Public Accounts Committee accused the MoD of failing to properly plan the project, leading to cost overruns and severe delays. Work was quickly ramped up to accelerate the rollout.

It has now emerged that the project could be rescoped as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, which reassesses military needs.

One key element of the review is to assess potential cost savings. The MoD says on its website: “All defence programmes will need to demonstrate their relevance and value for money. There will inevitably be reductions in some areas in order to enhance others.”

In a parliamentary written answer this week, defence equipment minister Peter Luff MP said: “Due to the changing shape of the defence landscape, which will be informed by the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the current £7.1 billion estimate may need to be revisited once the review is completed.”

HP had not commented on any potential changes at the time of writing.

The defence review is due in October, to coincide with the government-wide Spending Review. At the Spending Review, a number of decisions are are expected to be announced on large IT projects.

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