Page 32 - Australian Defence Magazine November 2019
P. 32

“Defence is further constrained by the existing contracting system and a political risk profile where management of the
“as is” is the priority over the “to be”.”
have been positive as they try to capture strategic integration requirements in poli- cy, concepts and patterns. External forums such as the Williams Foundation also play an important role in providing broader awareness of these issues.
The question is whether these initiatives are happening fast enough to keep pace with technological changes and evolving threat profiles. There is no doubt that strate- gic requirement has to be firmly established generating direction, budget and priority. However, Defence’s challenge remains in transitioning from concept and ODPs into actual design and build.
Projects such as Air 6500 lead the pack but are in somewhat of a vacuum, awaiting both more detailed strategic guidance and the mechanisms to enact that guidance at the design and build stage. Industry remains somewhat perplexed at the question of what Defence actually wants from this project.
Other discussions with Industry col- leagues indicate that a key Terrestrial LAN
integration Project is stumbling for want of effective design and technology base- lines. The apparent use of existing technol- ogy stacks, components and conventional hub and spoke thinking are not generating the strategic requirement needs. Whilst lessons are being learned on this journey, valuable budget and time are needlessly be- ing consumed for capabilities that are not fit for purpose.
From a scorecard perspective, Defence has made progress and is doing some good work at the Strategic Requirements level. The complexity of the integration challenge is immense, requiring design and perfor- mance understanding at both component and complete system level.
VCDF policy and direction is one thing, actual design take-up and build priority is another. Whilst the ADF is rightly ap- plauded for its’ tactical agility and innova- tion it is, in reality, restrained by a process- encumbered business model.
In our view, the pace of change in the IT/
information domain is such that the in- dustrial age business model evident at the strategic level is not capable of matching the pace of commercial sector innovation, and therefore the pace of threat growth. The brutal reality is that when an adversary can use the latest commercial technologies in an agile and asymmetric manner, then you cannot counter them with using an un- wieldy, process focussed, business model.
This is not a particularly original conclu- sion, but it does lead us to think about the need for a different approach.
The emerging problem
The potential task of protecting our critical infrastructure in a future context is mas- sive. At scale, this cannot only be a task for the ADF given its’ small size/task load, the cost of Defence bespoke capabilities, and the slow pace of force upgrade through the existing capability design and acquisition system. Whilst it is easy to conceive that our police forces will also need to be able to deal with such threats, the potential scale of threats could mean that we will need future critical infrastructure owners to be able to deal with more infrastructure protection roles.
Today they are responsible for physical ac- cess and cyber protection. Is it beyond our imagination to see a time when critical infrastructure owners will also need to ad- dress short range defence capability against a
Threats involving
the use of technology and networking
in society are growing.
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