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Improving defence inventory management


The wide range of supplies and spare equipment required by the UK armed forces for immediate and potential use are collectively described as ‘inventory’. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) holds more than 740 million individual items of inventory, valued at £10.8 billion.

The Committee found in February 2013 that the MoD faced serious problems in inventory management. These included the MoD not consistently disposing of stock no longer needed or seeing regular use, and wasting significant amounts of public money buying more inventory than it used.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has identified the need for improvement in this area as long ago as 1991, with the MoD inventory management historically suffering from fragmented accountability and processes and ageing IT systems.

Following external shocks including the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the MoD is reconsidering whether it strikes the right balance between efficiency and resilience as it manages its defence inventory.

Based on a National Audit Office report on the topic, the Committee will question senior MoD officials on subjects including:

  • How the MoD has addressed the issues it has faced for decades in inventory management since the Committee’s 2013 inquiry;
  • the implications of moving towards greater resilience in its inventory;
  • the effects of the war in Ukraine on military planning and delivery.

If you have evidence on these issues, please submit it here by 23.59 on Friday 27 October 2023.

Please look at the requirements for written evidence submissions and note that the Committee cannot accept material as evidence that is published elsewhere.