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MoD supply chain could fail, MPs

(Embargoed to 000GMT 1Friday August 19) LONDON, AUGUST 18 (KUNA) -- The military supply chain responsible for getting vital equipment to British forces on operations in Afghanistan and Libya is at "critical risk of failure", UK MPs warned today.
The House of Commons all-party Public Accounts Committee said troops fighting on the front line could be hit by shortages within 30 days if the system broke down.
In a highly critical report, the committee said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) accepted the IT systems used to manage the complex supply chain were "not adequate for the task".
As a result, the risk of failure of these warehouse inventory systems was considered "extremely high" - and was recently rated as "critical" by the MoD's Defence Logistics Board.
"If these systems fail, then the result could be shortages at the front line within as little as 30 days," the report said.
The committee said the MoD had spent 75 million pounds upgrading the systems considered to be at the highest risk. However, an 800 million pounds programme to overhaul the entire warehouse inventory management system - known as the Future Logistics Information Services project - will not be complete until 2014.
In the meantime, the committee expressed concern that funding for the programme could be affected by cuts to the defence budget.
"We are very concerned that, until the systems are fully rolled out in 2014, the high risk of system failure will remain in systems that are critical to supporting front line troops," it said.
Committee chairman Margaret Hodge expressed exasperation at the continuing failure of the MoD to get to grips with problems which, she said, had dogged the supply chain for a quarter of a century.
"The Ministry of Defence has a duty to make sure that our troops serving on the front line get the supplies they need, when they need them and in the most cost-effective way," she said.
"For 25 years, the department has promised this committee that it would resolve the long-standing problems associated with its supply chain: late deliveries, missed targets and inadequate cost information. Yet these problems persist." (end) he.asa KUNA 181219 Aug 11NNNN