Skip to main content

Defence Information Infrastructure

Volume 496: debated on Monday 13 July 2009

2. How many (a) contractors and (b) subcontractors his Department has used in the delivery of defence information infrastructure future accounts. (285622)

We have a contract with EDS, which, in turn, has set up a consortium called ATLAS. It consists of EDS itself, Fujitsu, General Dynamics UK, EADS and Logica. Beyond that, there is a range of subcontractors with defined tasks, sometimes for limited periods of time. The selection and identity of those subcontractors are a matter for the consortium.

Order. I say to the Under-Secretary that he needs to address the House as a whole, so that everybody can hear. I think that he has finished his initial answer.

The delayed agreement and sign-off of defence information infrastructure stage 3 is but the latest debacle for a benighted project that has already more than tripled in cost to more than £7 billion. A tight review of defence spending is imminent. Why are civil servants and politicians so obsessed with outsourcing public sector IT contracts, given that the logic and economics of extra costs and complexity point in precisely the opposite direction?

My hon. Friend is factually wrong on a number of those points. The budgeted costs certainly have not increased by 300 per cent., as he suggests; there has been a much more limited increase of about £180 million out of the £7.1 billion. I have to say to my hon. Friend that this project is going to save money in comparison with legacy methods of fulfilling the same role. That is very important. Also, it is an absolutely essential part of modern warfare that we should have effective, secure communications, linking all aspects of our armed forces, at home and abroad in theatre. That is part of the network-enabled capability to which we are committed.