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Sustainability will become a key equipment requirement, says DE&S CEO Sir Simon Bollom

The Chief Executive Office of Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), Air Marshal Sir Simon Bollom, KBE, CB, FREng, talked about the organisation’s role in multi-domain integration, sustainability and SME engagement in the latest exclusive In Conversation With interview hosted by DSEI Senior Military Adviser, Air Vice-Marshal (ret’d) Gary Waterfall.

Air Marshal Sir Simon Bollom, Chief Executive Office of Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S)

Sir Simon stressed the need for investment that would enable the organisation to implement its plan towards sustainability. It would involve planting over half a thousand trees and populating 20% of their sites with new vegetation.

Pursuing zero carbon emissions could also lead to an improvement in the standard of military capability by incorporating quieter and cheaper electric vehicles in the armed forces. “I think in the future you can expect to see sustainability will be moving up there towards a key requirement,” Sir Simon explained.

Multi-Domain Integration remains a firm requirement for equipment capabilities. According to Sir Simon, businesses will have “a hard time” to make their business case if they cannot demonstrate how their solution “plugs into the network” With reference to the DE&S Strategy 2025 Sir Simon pointed at accelerating digital solutions at pace as a key pillar the organisation is looking to focus on in order to support greater integration.

DE&S’s commitment to engage and support SMEs is represented by the Rapid Capability and Future Capability Offices that give businesses the opportunity to showcase their solutions and shape the operator’s future operational requirements. Sir Simon highlighted the importance of industry in innovation due to its ability to learn from experience and develop. “They are the backbone of our economy – that’s where we get the innovation,” he said.

However, he did not play down the role of bigger industry players in facilitating close collaboration with SMEs and their importance in building an integration process. This is paired with ongoing acquisition reform which will look at making the procurement process quicker and less bureaucratic.

He also highlighted the need to attract and develop the right skills in the organisation’s workforce which will drive DE&S forward and keep the momentum of integration going.

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