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Hannah Cowley - Supply Chain Lead, Sustainable Procurement

Armed Forces Day on Saturday 25th June culminates at the end of armed forces week (20th-25th June) and provides an opportunity to show support for our armed forces communities, including currently serving troops and reserves, veterans, service families and cadets, working around the world who promote peace, provide security and deliver aid #saluteourforces.

QinetiQ has a strong history working with these communities, which continues today. In 2013, we signed up to the UK Armed Forces Covenant, a scheme which recognises employers that demonstrate a commitment to defence by proactively supporting the armed forces community and encouraging our suppliers to do the same. QinetiQ has been revalidated with a Gold Award status by the UK MOD in their Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.

As a leading defence supplier and employer of both reserves and ex-members of the armed forces, QinetiQ is committed to identifying and working with veteran (51% owned, controlled, and operated by a veteran) suppliers as part of our supplier diversity programme.


“Vetrepreneurs” exit military service with valuable skills and experience that greatly contribute to the defence industry and our supply chains. Not just in-demand hard skills and capabilities including technical expertise, logistics management, procurement, inventory management and demand planning, but also a set of soft skills learned from the way the military operates, that can help companies emulate parts of the defence-industrial complex. Veterans typically are self-starters, quick learners, creative problem solvers, demonstrating leadership ability and organisational acumen with a ‘can-do’ attitude.”

Veterans understand the supply chain and its raison d’être: 

Get the right goods to the right place at the right time.

QinetiQ recognises the importance of selecting a diverse supply chain, not only in terms of ensuring the quality of specialist services delivered, but also in supporting the societal prosperity of the communities within which both we and our customers operate.  Inclusion of veteran owned organisations in our supply chains drives innovation, efficiency and resilience and helps us to deliver positive value add to meet our customers’ evolving needs.  

To assist our Procurement teams in the global territories we operate in, we have identified advocacy matchmaker agencies to assist sourcing qualified veteran-owned suppliers to partner with:



A step ahead of the UK

In the United States, veterans make up nearly 1 in 10 small business owners, according to statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Boosting the potential for veteran-owned business development was the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999. This law established service-disabled (SD) and veteran owned businesses (VOB) as a class equal to minority and women owned business classifications for Federal contracting. The law requires that prime contractors add Veterans to their subcontracting needs, leading to the inclusion of SD/VOBs to major corporate contracts. This act established an annual government-wide goal that no less than 3% of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards were to be to businesses owned and controlled by service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses.


Looking closer to home

Inzpire Limited is a veteran controlled organisation, and a proud part of the QinetiQ group. Their founding members had decades of deep-rooted military experience, and this continues with their newly appointed MD who is also a military veteran.Inzpire were determined to do things differently to develop a new model for a defence company, drawing on real-world experience that would translate into unbeatable services and products as part of a ‘Revolution in Defence’.


It remains their guiding principle to recruit those with outstanding military credentials to help them build this business and reinforce the foundations upon which it was created; recruiting those with experience in operations across the globe and those who are leaving the Forces at the end of successful careers.

Inzpire has a deliberately different DNA:

  • They conduct business with a military ethos and values, thus building trust with their (mainly military) customers.
  • Their workforce draws on the best of the entire UK Armed Forces. They employ a very high proportion of former military personnel (80% are veterans) along with military spouses and family members, maintaining an organisation that is immersed in the values and culture of their core customers.
  • Over 10% of their staff remain active Reservists, ‘giving back’ their skills and experience to the UK military.
  • They have been awarded a Gold Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in recognition of their passionate support and advocacy for those within the Armed Forces community, and like QinetiQ Limited, are long time signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant.
  • They embrace speed of reaction, agility and innovation, making decisions quickly and pushing decision making authority as far down the organisation as possible.

From within our supply chain

Russ Wardle (Brigadier Russ Wardle OBE DL) is Managing Director of Arcanum Information Security Ltd. He was Commander 160 (Wales) Brigade and completed a distinguished Army career.  He is also now Chairman of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Wales. 


For QinetiQ’s supply chain, veteran owned suppliers such as Arcanum have much to offer:

  • Arcanum are owned and predominantly employ people with values and standards that closely align with those of QinetiQ and similar companies. 
  • It’s increasingly recognised that successful companies have a successful culture, and veteran owned companies, and the veteran’s they inevitably employ, have a shared culture and background that again closely aligns with that of QinetiQ and the end customer. 
  • Arcanum instinctively buy-in to the type of relationship QinetiQ wish to foster with both suppliers and their Enterprise level customer base.    
  • Veteran employees of Arcanum are well used to being task-organised with a wide range of different capabilities and personalities that inevitably fit in well with a company like QinetiQ for both long and short-term engagements.
  • Arcanum is a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant and a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award holder, awarded in 2019.
  • Not all great companies are Veteran Owned.  But Veran Owned companies are inevitably great!


Matt Laverton is the Commercial Director of AACE, an organisation that was formed by an ex-RAF Officer and which quickly grew through the availability of other ex-armed forces individuals.


The armed forces ‘grows’ people that are multi-skilled, well-rounded in life skills and have a self-discipline that drives pride in their work. They have attention to detail and are able to quickly comprehend a Client’s requirements and turn them into more than acceptable deliverables. We have found that working with ex-service people attracts work more readily from, in particular, MOD Clients.  Given that QinetiQ has a disposition to provision of outputs in response to often complicated requirements from the MOD, it would make sense to work closely with an organisation that not only recruits from ex-forces and civil service personnel, but also has ‘inside knowledge’ through its people to perform to the highest standards that the MOD (through QinetiQ) would expect. AACE is a leading SME on the EDP Framework and its ability to flex and provide staff at Mode 1 level or to undertake tasks through Mode 2 /3 is something that cannot be grown overnight.  Therefore, the attraction of ex-armed forces and civil service personnel is one of our leading strategies.  AACE is also a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze Award Holder and signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant.


QinetiQ are dedicated to increasing the participation of diverse suppliers in our procurement process, and would like to encourage qualified veteran-owned businesses to register with us as a potential supplier by getting in touch with Supply Chain and Procurement Teams at procurement@qinetiq.com