The Ministry of Defence has confirmed how much it has spent on the failed attempt to part-privatise its defence procurement arm.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is about to announce he is scrapping plans to privatise the government body which buys defence equipment.
The Defence Secretary has said he predicts talks between the Afghan government and Taliban will begin "in the coming months".
The Ministry of Defence has said the analysis into scrapping plans to privatise the government body which buys defence equipment provided "invaluable insight".
An MoD spokesperson said the amount spent represents "a very small proportion" of the £14b DE&S budget.
– Ministry of Defence
We have invested in detailed analysis to not only fully understand the problems in DE&S but thoroughly scrutinise the various options for how to improve the complex defence procurement process.
This analysis has provided invaluable insight that will help to deliver long term savings as we transition to a new organisation.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has urged Tory backbenchers to give his plan for recruiting more than 10,000 Army reservists a chance, instead of "throwing roadblocks".
Responding to accusations that recruitment targets for the Army Reserve have been missed, he said it was still early days and that he would not tolerate a halt in that process.
He also accused opposition parties of exploiting a Tory rebellion for political advantage.
The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said Britain must never forget the ultimate sacrifice of the 446 servicemen and women who have died in Afghanistan, as the country prepares to pay tribute to those who have died in major conflicts.
Mr Hammond said this year's service in Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan will hold particular significance as it will be the last large-scale act of remembrance in the country before more troops are recalled ahead of the completion of operations at the end of next year.
"As we get closer to the culmination of this 12-year campaign, it is right to reflect upon the sacrifices that have been made by the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, and their significant achievements", he wrote in The Sun on Sunday.
"Four hundred and forty six British servicemen and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan on our behalf, putting their lives on the line to protect us. We should never forget them and we should never forget their families, who are forever without their loved ones."
Mr Hammond also said the dedication, professionalism and courage of Britain's armed forces was "truly the finest in the world".
After the UK's most senior general admitted an Army recruitment drive for part time soldiers had got off to a "wobbly start" there have been concerns about whether the Ministry of Defence will hit its ambitious targets.
In order to offset a cut of 20,000 in the size of the Regular Army - the MoD is committed to increasing the size of the Army Reserve (the new name for the Territorial Army) by a third - from 19,000 to 30,000.
Leaked memos have suggested the target will be very difficult to reach.
However, the Defence Secretary has just told the House of Commons that 1,576 applications have been received since the campaign was launched.
And last week the Army Reserve recruitment team received 380 applications.
Given the MoD needs only to recruit an average of 42 reservists per week, it would appear this target might be easier to reach than even the MoD's own generals anticipate.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has set a target of recruiting 10,000 army reservists in five years.
He revealed that there have been 1,576 applications so far.
Mr Hammond said he shared the confidence of the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Nick Houghton, that the UK would eventually meet the target of 30,000 army reservists.
Convicted hackers could be signed up to the UK's new cyber force despite their criminal past, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond indicated.
Speaking to BBC2's Newsnight, he said: "Each individual case would be looked at on its merits.
"The conviction would be examined in terms of how long ago it was, how serious it was, what sort of sentence had followed. So I can't rule it out."
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the underspend reflected better control of equipment projects and a conscious decision not to spend money on contracts until needed.
– MoD spokesman
Rather than rushing money out of the door for the sake of it within a financial year, we are committing money as and when projects require it.
We make no apologies for having a proper grip on the equipment plan and running a tight ship with a cautious approach that, with the support of the Treasury, allows us to roll forward cash to next year, thereby ensuring the money will still be spent on equipment.
The Defence Secretary has hit back at critics who claim the armed forces are suffering unnecessary cuts because of his "overzealous" austerity drive.
Senior defence sources quoted by the Daily Telegraph complained that Philip Hammond's cautious approach meant the defence budget was underspent by almost £2 billion at a time when thousands of military personnel are losing their jobs.
But in a strongly worded statement Philip Hammond said his critics had no idea how the defence budget worked, while the Ministry of Defence described the complaints as "financially illiterate".
In his statement, Mr Hammond retorted: "These retired 'senior military figures' are presumably the same people who presided over an out of control defence budget that led to the previous government sending troops into battle without the proper equipment needed to protect them.
"They clearly have no idea how the defence budget now works. Instead of having to delay and cancel programmes as in the past, we now budget prudently and then roll forward any underspend to future years, allowing us to place new equipment orders."