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14 Nov 2022

Strategic Command Unveils Sustainable Support Strategy

Strategic Command Unveils Sustainable Support Strategy
Source: Defence Support/ Strategic Command

The Strategy follows-on from, and starts, the work called for in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach (CCSSA). It remains in step with the Department’s approach to climate change and sustainability (CC&S) and is complementary to other work, such as the development of the Defence Operational Energy Strategy.


Executive summary  

The Sustainable Support Strategy (SSS) describes how the Support Function is setting itself to meet the challenges of the Integrated Operating Concept through addressing the urgent issues of climate change and sustainability.  It has been developed from work led by the Boston Consulting Group that drew on broad consultation across Defence and bespoke analysis to form a comprehensive evidence base. It has a focus out to 2025 with the reach to shape activity further in the future. It is a strategy for the whole of the Support Function across Defence.   The SSS is aligned to Defence's Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach as well capstone concepts such as the Integrated Operating Concept. It is complementary to the Support Operating Concept that provides a contemporary assessment of how we can deliver Support to operations that is rooted in the demands of the next decade. These assessments highlight that the future deployed force needs greater autonomy from its strategic base to generate greater agility, responsiveness, and resilience in a persistently engaged posture defined by constant competition.  

For the delivery of Support Advantage the emphasis shifts from planning to sustain at reach, to designing for self-sustainment in varied environments. Support activity must be able to meet the increased tempo and manoeuvre agility this demands. It will need a Support force that is more precise in what we demand and when it is needed. Our footprint in deployed operations needs to be smaller, more mobile and more self-sustaining. Our networks need greater resilience particularly to climate-related threats.  

The SSS assesses these problems, analyses the evidence and  lays out near-term actions. This is framed against the four elements that we look to resolve: improving the effectiveness and efficiency of operational support; increasing our military capability; reducing our vulnerability to environmental threats; and mitigating our activity’s impact on the environment.    

The six strategic initiatives by which change can be delivered are:  

  • Sustainable delivery of platform availability.  Our equipment needs to be available for greater periods to reduce the equipment support footprint that is deployed and sustained.  
  • Operational energy in the global transition.  Platforms need to reduce carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels. This energy transition will be complex and rapid; its implications will be assessed through a Defence Operational Energy Strategy.  
  • Resilience of the global Strategic Base. The support network needs to be resilient to a changing environment, with its vulnerabilities assessed and mitigated. 
  • Self-sustainment of operations. More efficient use of resources and different ways of delivering support will deliver greater self-sustainability on operations.
  • Impact of Defence commodities. The decarbonisation of our commodities and the circularity of their lifecycle will increase the sustainability of the commodities we use.  
  • Impact of deployed food. The food Defence provides to operations needs to create fewer emissions, better sustain our people and meet their changing needs.  

The SSS will draw on a series of enablers and multipliers from across DefSp and from others delivered centrally from the Defence’s Climate Change & Sustainability Directorate.  The SSS will be governed by Defence Support for the whole Support Function. 


To continue reading Strategic Command & Defence Support's Sustainable Support Strategy, click here.

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