MooD International Ltd - Smarter Decisions

Equipping the Army for the future

A MooD-based platform is being used by decision makers to clarify the complexity of Army equipment planning to enable faster decision making and ensure resources can be prioritized

Autumn 2010 saw the culmination of a major piece of work undertaken by Niteworks – the primary MOD and Industry partnership – to help develop a strong, coherent view of the Army’s equipment needs. The outcome of this work has provided the MOD’s Land Environment with a consistent picture of its equipment priorities and issues, driving a major step forward in understanding that allows resources to be directed to the most difficult and urgent areas, and ensuring frontline soldiers receive the best possible equipment.

In recent years significant efforts have been made to ensure that all parts of the Army involved in future planning share a common vision of the way forward. With the Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR) coming to a conclusion, and the regular planning round on the horizon, the need to represent the broad range of issues and views from across the Army in a single, robust plan was greater than ever before.

“The outcome of this work has provided the MOD’s Land Environment with a consistent picture of its equipment priorities and issues, driving a major step forward in understanding that allows resources to be directed to the most difficult and urgent areas, and ensuring frontline soldiers receive the best possible equipment.”

Niteworks was asked to help inform the plan, rapidly assembling a team of people who were then embedded in the team responsible for Army Equipment Strategy (ES(A)). The team suggested an alternative approach to traditional campaign planning, favouring techniques around capability visualisation and group planning to develop rapid decision support outputs, building on existing data sources. In the simplest terms, this involved developing a series of scored graphics showing how well the Army are able to achieve, over time, what they have been asked to deliver. The team suggested the use of capability ‘bullseye charts’ as a mechanism for visualisation of options, using different colours to indicate the level of capability available at different points in time, dependent on the equipment available. This also demonstrates the effect of changes in budget, costs and organisational structure, for example, on the ability to deliver equipment programmes.

An initial Niteworks QuickLook took four weeks, with the team working closely with ES(A) to undertake a first run through of what the answers might look like. This was well received, with the bullseye being used to brief the Executive Committee of the Army Board (ECAB), highlighting equipment issues that needed to be addressed.

The following phase applied real data to generate real outputs, feeding real ECAB decisions to support the SDSR process and beyond, and underpinning the decisions with a high level cost model. A critical element was the facilitation of a series of military judgement panels bringing together around 150 personnel from all areas of the Army and the joint environment. Niteworks facilitators and ES(A) staff took participants through a process of scoring the bullseye, ensuring it reflected their operational experience as well as analytical evidence already collected. The MOD’s scientific function (Dstl) subsequently undertook a thorough review of all of the data to ensure its robustness.

“With the Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR) coming to a conclusion, and the regular planning round on the horizon, the need to represent the broad range of issues and views from across the Army in a single, robust plan was greater than ever before.”

The Niteworks team provided the ES(A) team with a simple web based information environment based on MooD technology, containing all of the visualisations delivered by the project, with the linkages to the underlying data sources. Via a limited access logon this enables MOD personnel to see how well the Army is doing in meeting its equipment objectives, as well as updating and rescoring the picture and adding information.

Using the AEDP environment, senior Army decision makers now have a way of understanding more easily the relative priorities of difficult, complex equipment issues. Army equipment needs can also be better articulated in the context of Defence-wide, triservice decision-making and simple, intuitive visualisations can be used to support making the right choices about the future of equipment, within a policy context. The outputs have fed directly into ECAB, supporting many of the rapid revisions leading up to SDSR and continue to be used to help the Land environment to restructure and refocus following budget cuts.

Importantly, the AEDP methodology is both DLOD and Force independent ? there is scope therefore for using it across the three Services and more widely across the capability space.

The MooD enabled AEDP environment, allows senior Army decision makers to understand more easily the relative priorities of difficult, complex equipment issues. The outputs have fed directly into the Army Board, supporting many of the rapid revisions with SDSR and continue to help the Land Environment to sustain operations following budget cuts.