The Defence Strategic Support Management (DSSM) course is designed to provide senior staff/ strategic leaders with the essential understanding needed to develop and manage effective support solutions. The course is essential for all those involved in the development and contracting for support solutions, particularly Project Team Leaders and their management team, not just logisticians. The course is also relevant for other MOD staff, e.g. Defence Infrastructure Organisation and Front Line Commands with responsibility for procurement, support and sustainability.

The course examines the strategic factors that affect planning and delivery of support solutions and the potential risks or constraints of any support solution adopted.   Set against a MOD context with particular emphasis on contracted support solutions, the principles explored on the course have wider applicability for non-MOD employees. It forms part of the Defence Strategic Series comprising Defence Strategic Commercial Course, Defence Strategic Portfolio and Programme Management and the Defence Strategic Finance Programme.

The course is highly interactive and designed to be residential at the Academy.  It is built round a series of presentations, case studies and facilitated discussions designed to help participants to understand the latest developments, issues, risks and opportunities associated with strategic support planning and delivery.  Senior speakers are drawn from the MoD, academia and industry.

It combines learning about a range of enduring core strategic support topics with some development activities intended to help influence future logistic policy formulation.  These are selected on a course-by-course basis by the senior logistics stakeholders.  About 60% of the time is devoted to core learning and 40% to development.  Following each course a digest of discussion points raised is produced by the course facilitator and passed back to the sponsor.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration3 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost


    Concessions available

Course structure

Classroom, Visiting Lecturers and Case Studies.

What you will learn

The course enables you to:

Discuss and understand the key strategic issues in the planning and delivery of support.
Understand support solution design factors and constraints.
Understand the impact of the support solution on business flexibility and operational agility.
Be better placed to assess the opportunities and risks associated with both current policy and future developments and initiatives.
Expand their network of colleagues.

Core content

Defence Support Context. 
An examination of the impact on strategic support planning of major policy statements and change initiatives including:


Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
Defence Reform.
The Whole Force approach to Defence.

Support Solution Design. 
Awareness of the key processes and procedures involved in planning and delivering cost-effective support solutions, including:


Setting the Support Requirement.
Designing for supportability.
Understanding support cost drivers.
Identifying and managing the MoD’s internal customer/supplier relationships.
Support Solutions Envelope (SSE).
Understanding the nature and implications of common contracting models (as set out in the Support Options Matrix (SOM)).
Nature and impact of the Defence Supply Chain.
Optimising inventory - improving demand planning and forecasting.
Managing and exploiting logistic data and information.

Optimising Business Flexibility and Operational Agility:

Learning from experience - current academic thinking and lessons from the management of commercial supply networks.
Impact of out-sourcing support activities - planning and delivery.  
Working better with Industry.
Improving support by making better use of technology.
Working with contractors on operations and developing the Total Support Force as part of the Whole Force Concept.
Providing coherent support to operations.
Working with International partners and allies to deliver the principles of Collective Responsibility.

Who should attend

The course should be considered highly desirable pre-employment training for those about to assume senior appointments in Defence that will involve the formulation of logistic and support solutions. 

It is targeted principally at managers and engineers, particularly DE&S Project Team Leaders and their senior management teams.
It also provides a useful update and networking forum for professional logisticians.
It caters for those at the interface between DE&S and the Front Line Commands (FLCs) and is also inclusive of participants from the MoD Head Office, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
The course is also useful for and inclusive of industries involved in defence procurement, support and sustainment.


The Defence Strategic Support Management (DSSM) course is delivered by the Business School of the Defence Academy in conjunction with Cranfield University and a host of 1*-3* guest speakers.


  • Limited number of MOD Funded places

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.