Page 18 - Australian Defence Magazine Dec 2018 - Jan 2019
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MilCIS 2018:
The pace picks up in ICT
“We all have a responsibility to make some hard decisions and carve out the time and money to innovate,” he said.
“We also need to expand beyond the In- novation Hub. It’s about creating an eco- system,” LTCOL Hartigan added. “The question we need to ask is, are we miring ourselves in a bureaucracy of innovation?”
Industry success
It was not all bad news. One of the program highlights was a presentation by Ben With- am, founder and director of cybersecurity firm Penten, who briefed an audience on how his organisation has used cyber ‘honeypots’ to protect customers’ digital systems. This involves building fake email servers or other tempting targets and then taking note of any user that attempts to interact with it, ef- fectively creating a ‘cyber minefield’ that is extremely difficult for adversaries to navigate.
The company has had significant success in this space. In February 2018 it won a $1.3 million contract to provide Defence with a secure Wifi capability before winning the Telstra Australian Business of the Year in September.
ADM also attended a brief by Lieutenant Colonel Mick Hose on the JP 9102 satcoms project, gaining insight into how his team identified Defence’s operational ICT re- quirements.
LTCOL Hose discussed how Defence might build resilience into satellite capa- bilities using a ‘know, avoid, survive’ model borrowed from the Land 400 program. Satellites will need significant situational awareness to identify threats from a number of vectors; they will need the ability to avoid those threats, potentially by moving out of geosynchronous orbit; and if the threat can’t be dodged, survivability might be achieved through ‘responsive space capabilities’ in low Earth orbit, a proliferation in the num- ber of satellites, or cryptographic resilience.
Air Vice Marshal Warren McDonald, Chief of Joint Capabilities, closed proceed- ings with a challenge to industry.
“Do you want contractual arrangements to change? Then ask yourself, are you will- ing to put aside some personal outcomes to get national outcomes? This is our chance to get it right for the future.”
Major General Marcus Thompson, Dep- uty Head of Information, agreed.
“I need your help,” he said. “Without our partnership, the ADF will be unable to ad- dress the threats in the information warf- ighting domain. And make no mistake: we are already in the fight.”
ACCORDING to Rear Admiral Michael Rothwell, head of ICT Operations in CIOG, Defence’s current network operations span 400 locations; 120,000 work stations; 230,000 network connections; 110,000 desktop phones; 10,000 servers; 30,000 mo- biles; 14 data centres; 50 floating data centres; and 1 million annual service requests.
The annual Military Communication and Information Systems conference (MilCIS), held in Canberra in November, brought to- gether the expanding sector’s best of breed with updates from the military and industry on major projects, products and challenges.
Defence’s Chief Information Officer Stephen Pearson opened proceedings by acknowledging difficulties he’s faced dur- ing his time in the role. Pearson also gave some updates on the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Informa- tion Management (EIM) programs. Little has been heard of the multi-billion-dollar ERP since it reached second pass approval earlier in the year: Accenture and IBM were told to expect a decision “within the week” in the second quarter, but no decision was announced. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the first tranche of the program, however, is still due in December 2019.
“EIM is on track for government approv- al in February,” Pearson said. “This is a criti- cal program for Defence. It’s also a time for us to review the [ERP] program strategy. It’s a time for us to recalibrate and look at our own resources and how we’re using industry and [delineating] roles and responsibilities.”
In a panel discussion afterwards, ADM pressed Pearson on what information he will take to government following former DIO director Frank Lewincamp’s review into the ERP, and whether the program is still on track to meet the 2019 deadline.
“We’re course correcting for ERP,” Pear- son answered. “We’re looking at how we are going to operate ERP in conjunction with EIM. The timeframe for the landings of those is part of what the review looked at and we’re still unpacking that. We have some tenders out that I can’t discuss that will help
us plan. So, we’re looking at alternative ways to undertake this [project].”
A separate panel discussion focusing on the need to foster a more innovative culture in ICT saw some debate. Lieutenant Colonel Shaun Love, Director Land Network Inno- vation, opened with a soft rebuke of previ- ous speakers.
“My aim is to counter some of the com- mentary that has happened over the last couple of presentations. That isn’t to deni- grate what they said, but [disagreement] is a fundamental of innovation.
“Perhaps the real impediment to inno- vation is this audience, and I count myself amongst you. Agility requires someone to be a bit funky. To think outside the square. And that requires a framework where you have to accept risk and embrace failure as a pathway forward.”
“I don’t think any of us disagree with you,” Lieutenant Colonel Dan Hartigan, Direc- tor Joint Command and Control, said. “The question is how do we apply limited people, limited money, and limited time to get the innovation outcome we all agree we need?”
“We need to yearn to learn,” LTCOL Love replied. “There’s an environment of learned helplessness that bounds us down a path of set process.”
Group Captain Jerome Reid, Director Plan Jericho, also argued that budget re- strictions are a common excuse for poor in- novation outcomes.
Information and communication technologies (ICT) may be
a less glamorous area, but is certainly growing as this key enabler is recapitalised.
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