MOD at DPRTE 2019: Improving Industrial Engagement

The MOD is determined to harness the advantages of opening up its supplier base by making it easier for SMEs to do business with defence by removing the challenges faced by those companies looking for work with the defence sector. 

Speaking at Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2019, Jim Carter, Commercial Director, Supply Chain at MOD, outlined how the Department was moving ahead with plans to improve its industrial engagement – including its new SME Action Plan. 

The MOD’s SME Action Plan, launched at the end of March, outlines how it will improve its procurement spend with SMEs through working with major suppliers to remove barriers and improve access to opportunities for doing business with defence.  

Jim says: “The MOD is the largest procurement organisation in central government. We manage some of the most complex and technologically advanced requirements in the world. 

“One of our key messages is that we are going to need a deeper collaboration with our supply chain and be ever more demanding.” 

The MOD is looking to improve its commercial relationships across all aspects of the supply chain, starting with its prime contractors through its Strategic Partnering Programme. 

Jim explains: “Strategic partnering is about a refreshed approach to delivering improved performance with some of our very largest suppliers. 

“The objective is about making us more joined up as a customer. It is a complex landscape, so for both MOD and supplier having coherence and consistency in terms of that is key, but then it’s about driving tangible improvements in contractual performance to deliver mutual benefits to both organisations.” 

With the Strategic Partnering Programme very much concentrating on individual relationships, the Defence Suppliers Forum (DSF) looks at how the MOD can improve as a collective industry. 

Chaired by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, the DSF acts as the major conduit for MOD-industry relationships and includes representatives from prime contractors, international companies and SMEs.  

The DSF, which has recently undergone a refresh, brings together suppliers throughout the defence supply base with a focus on three themed areas of development: Capability, International & Innovation; People & Skills; and Commercial Enterprise Acquisition. 

Jim comments“The DSF is a central mechanism for the MOD and industry to work together on strategic change to support a joint vision developed together with industry.” 

Jim is keen to point out that overloading the industry with SMEs is not the solution to the challenges defence is facing, but that the MOD is seeking instead to ensure organisations of all sizes – preferred contractors, mid-tiers and SMEs alike – are being engaged to their optimal potential. 

“One of the fundamental shifts we have made is that we want this to be a really inclusive structure. We’ve probably fallen into the trap of saying, ‘We have a real challenge with SMEs  what we should do is fill the room with them and then we will solve that problem.’  

“We’ve realised that’s not going to crack it and it’s not going to crack it across this whole structure. We are trying to be much more inclusive in terms of our prime suppliers, our mid-tiers, our SMEs and our trade associations and bring them together.” 

 

This new vision for inclusivity was epitomised by an SME forum run by the MOD at the end of January. 

The Defence SME Forum, chaired by Minister for Defence Procurement Stuart Andrew, gives SMEs an opportunity to share their views and experiences of working in defence. 

MOD at DPRTE 2019: Improving Industrial Engagement

Jim says: “It was a much richer conversation – the outputs were much clearer because undoubtedly this is something we are going to have to tackle together.” 

The forum, in conjunction with dialogue with trade associations and surveys, will be used to gain a greater understanding of the challenges SMEs face when doing business in the defence supply chain. 

The SME Champion programme is another endeavour where the Department hopes to achieve this ambition. 

Each of the 19 Strategic Suppliers has appointed an SME Champion to help change behaviours and share good practice to improve engagement with SMEs. 

Jim notes“This is a new approach to tackling this issue and encourages the primes, through these SME Champions, to be the conduit into the SME market and have plans and targets themselves around SME usage.” 

The MOD’s SME Action Plan credits the strategy for helping achieve one of the best response rates for the FY 2017/18 indirect spend survey, and actively supporting wider government work on SMEs led by the Cabinet Office. 

The programme received a positive response in the recent meeting of the Defence SME Forum.  

Jim explains: “We had a really successful DSF SME conference at the end of January with the Secretary of State for Defence and the Minister for Defence Procurement; having that inclusive approach with the SME Champions was really effective and we had great feedback in terms of that event.” 

Going forward, the MOD will continue to work with the SME Champions to improve access to opportunities for SMEs. 

Another tool being used to make it easier for innovators, SMEs and non-traditional suppliers to do business with defence is Defence Contracts Online (DCO). 

DCO is the official source of MOD contracts, providing a one-stop shop for information on contracting opportunities, market engagement events, support to innovation and exports. 

The online resource recently underwent a refresh that has increased the functionality of its supplier portal to enable suppliers to advertise supply chain opportunities and reach a wider audience. 

Feedback on the new functionality has so far been extremely positive with both Boeing and RollsRoyce recently signing up to the service. 

Speaking at DPRTE’s Supply Chain & Partnering Zone, Caroline Hose from the MOD’s Strategic Supplier Management Team said the DCO brand was well recognised in the industry, with Boeing in particular being very pleased with their experience. 

DCO’s new sub-contracting advertising facility will be a key element in the MOD achieving its target of 25% of direct and indirect spend going to SMEs by 2022. 

Jim explains: “Our supplier portal is a real gateway into our activity through DCO and we’re working with our major suppliers to encourage them to advertise their supply chain opportunities too.  

“We are absolutely committed to the target of 25% of spend with SMEs by 2022. That is why DCO is so important in that it highlights those opportunities deeper within the supply chain, because that figure won’t be achieved obviously with our direct procurement. 

Our analysis reveals supply chains of eleven or twelve tiers in some instances, so there are significant opportunities out there.” 

Collaboration, innovation and opportunity up for debate at DPRTE 2019

DPRTE may have drawn to a close but the event’s core themes of collaboration, innovation and opportunity remain some of the biggest talking points for 2019. In fact, away from the bustle of the Keynote Arena, many of the event’s most significant conversations were taking place in the numerous Knowledge Transfer Zones.

First up at the Technology & Innovation Zone, Andrew Cunningham – Executive Director for Innovation at the UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) – was on hand to explain the potential of cross-sector innovation from a defence perspective.

Having explored the UK defence innovation and S&T (science and technology) ecosystem, UKDSC discovered an opportunity to do things a little differently. “The principal focus was the opportunity to drive greater collaboration between government and industry,” said Andrew. “In particular, to create the business case for industry to co-invest in the innovation and S&T space.”

But if industry is to invest in science and technology there inevitably needs to be a return on investment. It’s a business-led perspective which runs contrary to the MOD’s own approach, where investments are made comparatively early and not necessarily with the same push to fully exploit the end product. For UKDSC it’s an untapped opportunity, and the centre is now attempting to marry the two complementary methods in an effort to foster innovation UK-wide.

BiP DPRTE 2019

The problem for industry, however, is that return on investment may seem an uneasy prospect if the MOD is the sole customer. For most investors, the risks associated with having a single (albeit large) client are considerable – more so when you consider the challenging nature of the science and technology space.

Instead, Andrew recommends that a business case be made to establish whether the customer base can be broadened beyond the MOD and possibly into the commercial realm. “If you can demonstrate that your innovation has applications cross-sectorally or internationally then you can build a business case for industry investment because you’re no longer dealing with a single customer.”

Through its Cross-Sector Innovation Initiative, UKDSC is developing two such projects, each relating to a specific sub-sector – autonomous subsea systems and high-altitude intelligence.

According to Andrew, the key here lies in “identifying the areas where multiple sectors are trying to achieve the same or very similar outcomes”. The commercial and defence objectives for autonomous subsea systems are very similar, for instance – namely longer range and greater endurance. We all want to be able to spend more time underwater, albeit for very different reasons.

While still in its early stages, the cross-sector model shows real promise for securing greater investment in innovation. Coincidently, these were themes Jim Pennycook, Innovation Partner at the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), also touched upon during his DPRTE seminar, entitled ‘Engaging with Innovation’.

For the uninitiated, DASA offers ‘serious challenges and serious funding’ to SMEs in order to attract the very best innovations into the UK defence and security sector. During his talk, Jim championed the concept of ‘exploitable innovation’ and made clear DASA’s commitment to investing in new technologies that deliver unique capabilities and provide the UK with a defence and security advantage.

To illustrate his point, he highlighted the Black Hornet Nano as a prime example of why the MOD should focus its attention on so-called ‘open innovation’. None of the components that make up the micro UAV were developed by the defence sector. Instead, much of the technology came from the mobile phone industry, with both the Black Hornet’s camera and battery stemming from investment in other fields.

“In realising this, MOD has established within DASA a route to attracting open innovation,” said Jim, “specifically from SMEs but also from areas of other markets to pull that innovation into defence.”

Through DASA, SMEs are able to have their innovations 100% funded and at rapid pace, typically within three weeks. DASA is also able to offer successful applicants assistance on how best to exploit their ideas – taking them from the initial concept to a place where exploitation is fully understood and commercialisation can begin. Essentially, Jim’s message was a call to action: if you have an innovation, DASA wants to hear from you.

Supply chain engagement was another obvious talking point at DPRTE 2019. Amid the many networking opportunities and the buzz of the Defence Procurement Pavilion, David Wharton – Head of Account Management at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) – took to the Supply Chain & Partnering Zone to discuss the service’s ongoing collaboration with the MOD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

With a potential £13 billion worth of spend slated to be pushed out through CCS frameworks over the next decade, it quickly became clear that DIO would need a dedicated account manager. It’s why the two organisations have entered into such close collaboration, embedding within each other’s teams to ensure these construction and facilities management frameworks are overseen effectively.

Here, communication is obviously essential. “At CCS we consider ourselves the leading procurer of FM solutions across central government,” said David, “and we’re transferring that commercial capability to DIO.”

Crucially, CCS also understands the importance of the UK supply chain. Despite being one of the largest commercial organisations in Europe, the service has pledged to procure 33% by value of all its business with SMEs, which complements DIO’s own approach to supply chain engagement. David’s was one of a handful of talks concerning SME opportunity. Only an hour earlier, Martin Lee – Programme Procurement Manager at Airbus Defence and Space – outlined similar opportunities for the country’s burgeoning space sector.

In light of last year’s ‘Prosperity from Space Strategy’, Airbus is keen to grow the UK space sector and engage with the SME community. After all, “that’s where a lot of the innovation will come from,” said Martin. “We want to build that community fivefold from what it is today.” In fact, it’s thought that the number of high-tech space sector jobs will rise by an estimated 30,000 by 2030.

“For me, one of the key areas is how do we bring in non-traditional space sector suppliers – those with new ideas and differing business models,” continued Martin. “Because if we’re going to grow the space sector we’re also going to have to be competitive and we have to look at the competitiveness of the UK globally.”

Here, large-scale projects – such as the Government’s potential alternative to the EU’s Galileo global navigation satellite system (GNSS) – will have a pivotal role to play in developing the capabilities of the sector. According to Martin, if the UK GNSS was to go ahead it would be a “great opportunity for UK Plc to really take part in the space sector”, bringing with it massive opportunities for SMEs all over the country.

Finally, returning to the Technology & Innovation Zone, Stuart Young – Head of the Centre for Defence Acquisition at Cranfield University – closed out the event with a fascinating talk on artificial intelligence, its impact on defence procurement and the challenges associated with AI adoption.

In the defence sector, artificial intelligence applies to anything from collaborative robotics and autonomous vehicles to computer vision and image recognition technology. But what the sector has yet to see is that long-term paradigm shift where artificial intelligence is integrated as a matter of course. One of the biggest reasons behind this is the industry’s apparent lack of appropriate skills. “If we don’t understand AI,” said Stuart, “and we haven’t got people with the right skills to identify its applications, we’re not going to be using it effectively.”

In fact, the effective use of AI will require nothing less than a cultural sea change. According to Stuart, the defence sector works in ‘functional stovepipes’, but this siloed approach negates some of the most significant benefits of AI and big data – namely the ability of systems to ‘talk’ to each other.

Along with best practice, infrastructure will also have to adapt. Warehouses may have to be reconfigured to accommodate different docking arrangements and entrance designs in support of autonomous vehicles, for instance. And inevitably, as a result of AI, “some jobs will be lost, some will be gained and many more will have to change”.

But how long will it be before that long-term paradigm shift actually arrives? “I personally think it’s quite a long way off,” answered Stuart. “One reason being the level of investment required; the other being the human trust and ethical issues coming to the fore at the moment. There’s a lot of confidence and trust to be built up so I think a 15-20-year timescale is probably about right.”

It may seem a long way off then, but the UK defence sector must move quickly if it is to remain at the forefront of the artificial intelligence space. All of which is why DPRTE is so important. No event in the defence calendar brings buyers and suppliers together and asks them to engage in the sort of meaningful conversations described here. For the UK defence supply chain, 2019 is a time of immense opportunity. Perhaps we’ll see what progress has been made at DPRTE 2020.

DPRTE 2019: New venue, new opportunities as the defence community comes together in Farnborough

The new venue brought a sense of excitement as representatives from the Ministry of Defence and other public bodies, preferred contractors, the supply chain and academia came together at this one-day event.

Billed as the defence procurement event of the year, DPRTE 2019 provided a unique opportunity to showcase goods and services as well as the chance to engage directly with both the key personnel and organisations responsible for setting strategy and operationally delivering an annual budget of over £20 billion.

DPRTE 2019 attracted record numbers as over 1500 visitors came to Farnborough to hear from the leading and most influential speakers from across the defence procurement and supply chain marketplace.

The event provided a real focus on the key themes dominating the defence and security supply chain – innovation and improved supplier engagement.

Keynote Arena

The Live Keynote Arena was, as ever, a huge draw for attendees.

A familiar face at DPRTE, former Ministry of Defence Commercial Director Les Mosco, chaired proceedings, calling for greater clarity for the defence industry.

Jim Carter, Commercial Director, Supply Chain at MOD, delivered the opening keynote address. speaking about how the Department was progressing with its strategy to improve its industrial engagement and previewing its new SME Action Plan. This included a look at the Strategic Partnering Programme, which seeks to improve MOD’s commercial relationships across all aspects of the supply chain, beginning with its prime contractors.

He then provided an update on the recently refreshed Defence Suppliers Forum (DSF) and outlined the role of the ‘SME Champions’, appointed by the Department’s 19 Strategic Suppliers, who will offer guidance and support to help SMEs find an easier route to market.

Jim explained: “What we are doing is encouraging the Primes through these SME Champions to be the conduit into the SME market and have plans and targets themselves around SME usage.”

DPRTE 2019: New venue, new opportunities as the defence community comes together in Farnborough

Dr Lucy Mason, Head of the Defence and Security Accelerator, provided an overview of DASA’s role in harnessing innovation for defence and was able to share a number of the Accelerator’s successes over the past year.

These included DASA’s largest contract award to date to Blue Bear Systems for its response to the ‘Many Drones Make Light Work’ competition; and the new app from KrowdThink, which allows users to report suspicious activity or potential security threats at crowded events.

Dr Mason also encouraged any SMEs with innovative ideas to reach out to DASA’s regional Innovation Partners who can offer guidance on how their ideas could be best exploited.

She said: “I think government these days wants to work much more with SMEs, to incorporate them into supply chains and understand how we can diversify the range of suppliers that get involved. That means helping big businesses to encourage SMEs to work as part of their supply chains as well as meeting our own target to procure from SMEs.”

Defence Infrastructure Organisation Commercial Director Jacqui Rock gave a progress update on DIO’s mission to turn its statement of intentions in its Commercial Strategy into a practical commercial transformation.

She also outlined the vast opportunities available to the supply chain through the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme.

Jacqui told the audience: “The opportunities for suppliers to get involved on the DEO Programme are vast. It touches construction, disposals, new builds, family accommodations – it touches everything.”

Professor Trevor Taylor from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) then delivered a thought-provoking talk on the role of artificial intelligence within defence acquisition.

He examined the perception of AI and its potential functions within the defence framework and how the technology’s capability was dependent on data.

Professor Taylor commented: “Always think about AI in terms of the data available. Do we have the data? If the data isn’t available, AI doesn’t work.

“What AI brings, initially at least, is this area of identification, diagnosis and analysis, which it will offer with likelihood and probability. That is very important when you think of it in a defence context.”

Following Professor Taylor, Tracy Buckingham, Head of Operations and Security Exports at the Department for International Trade’s Defence & Security Organisation, spoke about the role of DIT DSO and the importance of defence and security exports in terms of the economy, providing countries with the right to a defensive capability, and enhancing overseas engagement.

The UK defence and security export market is worth £13.8 billion, with a massive 87% of the UK’s defence exports to be found in the aerospace domain.

Tracy also explained how DIT DSO plays a crucial role in the MOD’s drive for innovation. She noted: “We have a proud tradition of innovation and we are a key part in identifying potential pipelines and export markets for those innovative products.”

Jason Fox, best known for his role on hit TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins, ensured the last address at the Keynote Arena was standing room only as he gave his thoughts on motivation and leadership, sharing his experiences of undertaking high-risk missions whilst serving in the Armed Forces.

Knowledge Transfer Zones

DPRTE 2019 hosted five Knowledge Transfer Zones, each featuring a range of educational sessions that allowed attendees to discover and share ideas for the five themes.

With innovation continuing to be a major driver in the defence industry it was no surprise to see the Technology & Innovation Zone attract a large number of visitors.

Andrew Cunningham, Executive Director for Innovation at the UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC), kicked off proceedings with a talk on the potential of cross-sector innovation from a defence perspective.

Other highlights included DASA Innovation Partner Jim Pennycook’s session on engaging with innovation, where he outlined the advantages for innovative companies working with DASA.

The Supply Chain & Partnering Zone was another hotspot for the event as attendees sought information on how they could engage and actively pursue new business development opportunities across the wider supply chain.

This included a demonstration from Caroline Hose from the MOD’s Strategic Supplier Management Team on the new sub-contracting function on Defence Contracts Online (DCO) – the MOD’s online portal for sharing information on contracting opportunities and market engagement events.

DPRTE 2019: New venue, new opportunities as the defence community comes together in Farnborough

David Wharton, Head of Account Management at the Crown Commercial Service, also explained CCS’s collaboration with DIO and how this would help DIO push out frameworks worth over a potential £13 billion over the next ten years.

The Buyer Excellence in Procurement Zone saw the Procurement Advice and Support Service (PASS) put on a series of 30-minute interactive sessions delivered by Principal Consultant, Eddie Regan. Elsewhere, the Export & Business Growth Zone allowed UK SMEs to learn more about exporting opportunities and the practical assistance available from DIT DSO.

Finally, the Doing Business with the US DoD Zone saw representatives from the Department of Defense provide advice and guidance on how to access the wealth of opportunities available within the world’s largest defence procurement marketplace.

Andrew Wilson, President of JGW International, had this advice for companies looking to break into the lucrative US defence marketplace – and again, innovation was key.

He said: “The real issue for British companies is that they need to find a technology that is lacking in the States. It’s got to be a unique product and be a capability that the US military needs.”

The event also featured seven Networking & Collaboration Zones  Supply Chain Engagement, Defence Procurement Pavilion, Innovation, Defence Market Engagement, International Exporting, US DoD Engagement and the Product Showcase Exhibition – which provided a wealth of opportunities for attendees to meet and discuss buyer and supplier opportunities.

The Defence Procurement Pavilion was a constant hive of activity as attendees took the opportunity to speak with representatives from the Army, Air and Navy Commercial Teams as well as those from DE&S, DIO, the Submarine Delivery Agency, MOD ISS and Doing Business with Defence.

The Product Showcase Exhibition provided a platform for around 120 organisations from the public and private sectors to promote their products and services directly to key decision makers in the defence market.

What surprised many of those who hadn’t attended the event before was the vast range of sectors represented, including IT; portable buildings; clothing; haulage and logistics; digital modelling; environmental services; and fire safety.

Gavin Shepherd from Commerce Decisions commented: “DPRTE brings together a whole community of buyers and bidders to enable them to network and look for better solutions to the problems that the marketplace poses.”

Companies such as Meile, who were demonstrating the important role laundry plays in the defence sector, were delighted with the early engagement opportunities DPRTE afforded them.

Jessica Tobias-George from Meile explained: “It’s really important for us as an organisation to engage with our potential buyers early on in the process. It’s good to speak to them and find out what their requirements are so that we can proactively respond to those requirements.

“It’s been a really good event for us to meet people and find out more about the sector and potentially follow up with those enquiries.”

The event continues to surpass itself every year and plans are already under way for DPRTE 2020, which will again take place in Farnborough on 1 April next year.

To discuss booking your 2020 exhibition or sponsorship package, call 0845 270 7066 or email exhibitions@dprte.co.uk.

Learn more about defence procurement at DPRTE

MOD_DPRTE 2018

 

Today, we will be attending the UK’s premier defence procurement at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.

If you are attending the Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability (DPRTE) exhibition, you will find us at the Defence Procurement Pavilion alongside:

  • Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)
  • Information Systems and Services (ISS)
  • Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO)
  • Front Line Commands (Royal Navy, Army, RAF)

What’s on?

1500 key decision makers will attend this event, many from the Government and military. On the day, Andrew Forzani, Chief Commercial Officer, UK Ministry of Defence, will be one of five Keynote speakers. The Keynote presentations will run until 12:35, giving delegates time to attend training sessions and workshops in the afternoon.

The year’s event will have five Knowledge Transfer Zones and six Network & Collaboration areas. The Knowledge Transfer Zones for 2018 include:

  • Technology and Innovation
  • Export and Business Growth
  • Supply Chain and Partnering
  • Buyer Excellence in Procurement
  • Doing Business with the US Department of Defense

View the full agenda for the event here.

 

MOD Buyer Engagement Village

Would you like to find out more about defence procurement? Visit the MOD Buyer Engagement Village.

At this year’s DPRTE, delegates have the chance to engage directly with buyers and suppliers, network with colleagues and make new contacts and connections.

Make sure that you arrive early at this event as appointments for the MOD Buyer Engagement Village will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Time slots will be allocated on arrival at the event at the entrance to the MOD Buyer Engagement Village.

 

US Department of Defense

We are delighted to welcome representatives from the US Department of Defense (DoD) at this year’s event.

Representatives from the DoD team will be attending the event, offering advice to UK defence suppliers that would like to win more work in the world’s largest defence procurement marketplace.

If you are interested in working with the DoD, a “Doing Business with the United States Department of Defense” seminar will be held in the Export and Business Growth Zone at 1pm.

 

MOD Guide to Defence and Security

If you are not attending this year’s DPRTE but you are interested in working with the MOD, you can learn more by purchasing the MOD Guide to Defence and Security 2018.

The MOD Guide is essential reading for any supplier that wants to work with the defence sector. This extremely valuable resource highlights key industry trends and contacts for 2018.

Buy MOD Guide

DPRTE 2014: full programme announced

DPRTE MainMetalicLrg (2)The full programme for Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2014 has been announced. The showcase, which will be held at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff on 8 October, will provide a unique promotional, educational and engagement platform for both the Ministry of Defence and the UK defence supply chain to connect.  MOD DCB features writer Paul Elliott takes a look at the programme to see what delegates can expect at the premier defence procurement event of the year.

The UK defence supply chain is incredibly diverse, exceptionally innovative and highly capable of delivering world-class products and services to global defence markets. In the ever-changing environment that is the defence industry it is important for individuals involved in the sector to connect, collaborate and grow. This necessity for the UK defence industry to unite, from buyer to prime to SME, is addressed by showcase events such as Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2014. Events are all about boosting the supply chain – forging relationships, learning about industry developments and bringing products and services to market. The defence market is not static; it is fluid and constantly evolving, which makes the networking, interaction and knowledge transfer opportunities offered by a dedicated defence procurement event even more valuable.

DPRTE 2014, to be held on 8 October at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, will establish a platform to meet the needs of the entire defence community. The Keynote Arena offers a selection of impressive speakers reflecting the diversity of the UK defence supply chain. The opening address will be delivered by event Chair Dr David Moore, Director of the Centre for Defence Acquisition (CfDA) at Cranfield University. Cranfield is at the forefront of defence and security studies and its partnership with the MOD offers a unique gateway for teaching, research and consultancy. Cranfield utilises a unique set of capabilities, expertise and facilities to deliver practical solutions that make a real difference to the lives of military personnel and civilians across the world.Dr Moore will later speak about the challenges faced by the global defence procurement industry.

Susanna Mason, Director General (Commercial) for Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), will speak at DPRTE 2014 and her keynote address is sure to be one of the highlights of the event. Ms Mason is responsible for DE&S’s external industry-facing activities, managing strategic relationships between industry and the MOD. She coordinates Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) renegotiations and is the lead for the Whitehall Liaison Group. She also advises on individual investment decisions and ensures an effective commercial process and system is maintained and applied across the MOD. Since joining the MOD in 2008, Susanna has at various times served as Director of Industry Relationships, Director of Corporate Commercial and Director of Exports and Commercial Strategy. In November 2012 she was promoted to become Director General Exports before her recent appointment as Director General (Commercial) at DE&S. There is already much interest in Ms Mason’s appearance at DPRTE 2014.

The Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) is a collaboration between government and industry to help UK defence businesses meet the needs of defence customers around the globe. The DGP recently launched its Delivering Growth report which revealed its implementation plan to secure a thriving UK defence sector that delivers security, growth and prosperity for the nation. ADS Group, the premier trade organisation for companies operating in the UK aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, will deliver a session that will discuss interacting and engaging with the partnership.

Throughout the day the conference will feature a strong technological element and it is appropriate that Julian David, Chief Executive Officer of techUK, the UK technology industry trade association which was formed in November 2013 from predecessor organisation Intellect, is a keynote speaker. Mr David has spent over 30 years working in the technology industry and will offer a deep insight into technology and its role in defence. Driving technology to deliver national security, public safety and cyber resilience to the UK will be the focus of Julian’s keynote speech.

Following him will be Alison Seabeck, Shadow Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. Ms Seabeck is a former member of the Commons Defence Select Committee. She has also taken part in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, which gives Westminster politicians first-hand experience of the military.

The final session in the Keynote Arena, hosted by Cranfield University, will look at the challenges and opportunities offered by the forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015. The Keynote Arena promises to be a hub of activity and discussion across all areas key to boosting business and strengthening the UK defence industry.