Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford this week told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) a strategic turnaround at the state’s defence and security acquisition agency had opened new doors leading to improved sustainability.
“Armscor was becoming irrelevant and unsustainable,” he told the committee adding the funding shortfall, via the national budget to the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (and the SA National Defence Force) created “an existential threat” to Armscor.
A turnaround based on Armscor and the SANDF being “a greater and visible asset to the national economy” was started. Another premise to ensure the turnaround’s success was that benefits derived from the South African defence sector go beyond military and technology advances. They include, according to Wakeford, domestic employment, high technology skills and economic growth.
This saw three focus areas – sustainability and commercialisation, organisational transformation and the expansion of Armscor’s service – identified. These would, among others, identify and develop income generating initiatives; ensure no jobs are lost; see Armscor expanding its services to the United Nations and “other multilateral entities” as well as promoting Armscor’s services to a wider client base.
He told the committee Armscor had increased its relevance to the Department of Defence by, among others, developing alternative funding concepts for the Defence Review, providing “substantial support” for the development of a national defence industry strategy and proactively developing and applying new priorities to improve “the chances of the small player in the defence industry”.
As far as its relevance to the SANDF was concerned Wakeford pointed to processes to increase the tempo of acquisition and continuous support for implementation of the Defence Review and the Permanent Military Planning Team.