The first privatised war
Private contractors are carving up defence procurement. Nick Mathiason reports on a military coup
Sunday March 2, 2003
More than 40,000 British troops are bracing themselves for action in the Gulf. 'Our Boys' are backed by hundreds of tanks, fighter jets and warships in what is the UK's biggest military build-up since the Falklands conflict.
But any imminent action against Iraq will be historic for another reason. This could be the last war fought by British armed forces predominantly in the public sector. The Ministry of Defence is poised to enter into a welter of partnerships with business, ushering in the most fundamental shake-up of the military for more than 100 years.
Entire training, logistics and supply operations are set to be hived off to big business in the most far-reaching intrusion of the private sector into what was considered the state's preserve. More than 900 procedural reviews by MoD officials and consultants are coming to a head. There are strong indications from within the ministry and unions that a shift is under way from the armed forces' procurement body being a 'decider and provider' of logistic support to an 'intelligent decider' that may contract out most requirements,.
The Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO), which costs