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Ministry of Defence publishes Defence Supply Chain Strategy

techUK has summarised the key points in the Defence Supply Chain Strategy, which outlines how UK Defence plans to build resilience within its Supply Chains.

The Defence Supply Chain Strategy (DSCS), published by Defence Support within the MOD's Strategic Command organisation, outlines the department's response to the fragile nature of supply chains in the MOD and industry. The DSCS has been informed by disruptions to global supply chains such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the impact this has had on operations in Defence. The current 'new normal' for supply chains, characterised by volatility, means that the traditional reliance on 'lean' and 'just in time' configurations is not well suited to adapting quickly to sudden disruption.

The DSCS places resilience of supply chains at it heart and recognises the imperative to balance cost reduction and efficiency gains against resilient and assured supply chains that deliver 'Support Advantage' to Defence. This builds on the ambition set out in MOD's Defence Support Strategy, which was published in December 2020. 

The DSCS outlines 3 'Headmarks' which offer a vision for the Defence supply chain and set the framework for the initiatives required to deliver this vision. The Headmarks are:

1. Headmark 1: Resilience by design: a new value proposition has been developed to enable prioritisation and ensure supply chain decisions have been effectively balanced between cost, reliability and service.

2. Headmark 2: A bi-modal supply chain: this involves 2 modes of supply chain operation:

  • Mode 1 involves business as usual supply activity, managing risks and outcomes against costs and efficiency.
  • Mode 2 involves a rapid proactive or reactive response to extraordinary supply chain issues, backed up with contingency funding to mitigate disruption. 

3. Headmark 3: A maturity ambition for the Defence supply chain: at present, supply chain decisions are characterised by siloed activities and reactive decision making. By 2030, activities will be managed across functions and with immediate members of the value chain, including third-party logistics, external manufacturers, suppliers and customers.

Action plans for each Headmark have been developed and consolidated into a DSCS implementation roadmap. This roadmap includes a description of the key activities and their associated workstreams, which are required to deliver the performance ambition for the Defence supply chain. The workstreams are: 

1. People and change: initiatives to ensure the change transformation is embedded appropriately in the organisation and results in new behaviours.

2. Continuous due diligence: monitoring suppliers on an on-going basis, for risks and threats, including sub-tier supplier risk

3. Planning: initiatives which improve both demand and supply planning processes, increasing traceability of supply chain plans to command plans

4. Decision making: processes, roles and responsibilities which ensure Defence supply chain delivers target outputs

5. Collaboration: initiatives and structures through which the MOD engages industry, allies and other government departments

6. Commercial strategy and contracts: commercial strategy and constructs which reduce commercial fragmentation and provide the mechanisms to deliver Bi-Modal Defence Supply Chain

The DSCS also outlines the scope of supply chain activities it seeks to influence and make recommendations against, which includes:

1. Functional Scope (which MOD functions are deemed to be a supply chain functional activity)

2. Geographic Scope (the geographic locations and transportation methods involved within the Defence supply chain)

3. Category Scope (all stock items the MOD is required to purchase, store and issue)

You can download a copy of the full Defence Suppy Chain Strategy here. 


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