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."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam