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MoD contracts should cover post war work

CIVILIAN AND military engineers need to enter long term contracts to plan for reconstruction work following wars and natural disasters, Costain chief executive John Armitt said last week.

He urged the Ministry of Defence to wrap what he called Engineering for Peace services into its new prime contracts at a cost of £5M a year.

Armitt predicted that these long term deals would allow civil engineers to take over from the military much sooner than at present after conflict or natural disasters.

This would free military engineers for other duties. Forward planning of work would save money, he said. Civilian companies would also be better placed to win reconstruction contracts.

'Continuous training and development of skills would create a cadre of military and civil engineers. They would be ready to respond immediately to the call for action without the current ineffective and frankly rather indecent scramble among politicians, government departments and companies to win publicity and contracts - whose benefit and definition is inevitably unknown but which requires a multi-skilled and rapidly deployed resource, ' Armitt said.

He was speaking at a joint meeting of the ICE and the Royal Engineers on future conflict.

He told an audience of soldiers and civilians that it was a mistake for the Department of Trade & Industry or the MoD to believe that the private sector is 'champing at the bit', anxious to compete for any opportunity that may come up in countries like Serbia or Sierra Leone.

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