David Cameron's defence guru joins US engineering giant

'Outstanding' Richard Freer expected to work on Bechtel's bids to win lucrative MoD contracts

US engineering giant Bechtel has hired David Cameron's top gun defence adviser as the San Francisco based group beefs up efforts to win huge Ministry of Defence contracts worth billions of pounds.

Richard Freer has helped mastermind the coalition's overhaul of the UK's defence strategy as one of the Prime Minister's small team of private secretaries in the No 10 Policy Unit.

The Oxford University graduate previously advised Nato on how it should be reformed for a post-Cold War world and, in 2010, was named in the WikiLeaks files over discussions about Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent. He has also worked on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Government's huge reformation of the way the MoD does business includes proposals to put the private sector in charge of running the £14bn Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) division, which buys weapons, submarines and satellites.

Similarly, the MoD is looking for a consortium of companies, which include engineers and outsourcing experts, to run the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). This looks after the MoD's land and buildings.

Bechtel, which is one of several huge US engineering companies that is targeting MoD work, is part of the consortium that is considered the favourite to win the DIO contract. The 115-year-old group is understood to have teamed-up with accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers, defence technology group Qinetiq, and PA Consulting – a London-based firm that developed a vehicle that could detect improvised explosive devices in warzones – on DE&S.

Mr Freer has started his Bechtel career in Washington state, where he is using his doctorate in chemistry to work on the design of a waste treatment plant to decontaminate underground tanks that hold liquid and semi-solid nuclear by-products. This waste dates back to plutonium production during World War II.

However, it is understood that Mr Freer will eventually help Bechtel on their defence bids. Under civil service rules, Mr Freer is likely to have been banned from working on defence work for a set period after leaving Downing Street.

A defence industry source said: "Freer is an outstanding intellect and was essential to the coalition's defence reform programme."

A spokesman for Bechtel said: "In his role as a programme technical manager, his education, technical skills and experience provide valuable insight into technical decisions for the final design of the plant.

"We recognise the importance of ethics and transparency in our hiring practices, and we are careful to comply with the letter and the spirit of every requirement and guideline."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn