Page 38 - Australian Defence Magazine November 2019
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of how we think we need to function at a national level against current and future threats. In Defence parlance this might be called a Future Joint Operating Concept.
Again, Defence had one of these a few years ago but it has since faded from view and does not appear to have a replacement. As one senior officer explained to one of the authors of this article in 2018, “we don’t need one as we already know what warfighting capabilities we will have in 2030.” That response speaks for itself. The national mobilisation work being done in VCDF Group to support a new strategy (the first such effort since WWII) might have some answers.
Thirdly, we need a plan of how we will build our national security capabilities, one component of which should be a national IME. That will be problematical without the first two steps.
Fourthly, we can’t design, build and operate an integrated national IME using business models developed for acquiring stand-alone, stove-piped capabilities. An integrated IME is not a capability that can be procured as a single entity, it must be designed, built, tested, accredited and sustained from the bottom up horizon- tally traversing extant boundaries, cul- ture and thinking.
Government, like Defence, operates pri- marily on an industrial business model. Break a problem into parts, work on the parts, use committees to coordinate and then deliver something, preferably on time and on budget. Henry Ford would have been proud of us.
So, where does rapid innovation occur? Clearly in some parts of industry and par- ticularly in small teams and SMEs. An ex- ample which did impress us was that of the Lockheed Martin Skunkworks. In an ex- cellent presentation to the Williams Foun- dation Seminar in August 2015, Steve Jus- tice described a rapid innovation culture that produced transformational results.
It wasn’t done with a rigid process, large staffs and numerous committees and con- tinuously growing budgets. The original vision for the Skunkworks was for “An ex- perimental department where the design- ers and shop artisans could work together closely in the development of airplanes without the delays and complications of in- termediate departments . . .” It had a num- ber of key rules, the first four of which were: One Strong, Knowledgeable Leader; Mini- mal Program Office Size; Minimal Staffing and Simple Paperwork.
Australia supplies a significant amount of LNG to Japan which in turn makes up about 30 per cent of their energy needs.
Last year we concluded our article by stating that the ADF is acquiring 5th Gen platforms and systems but with a risk that they will be shackled with an outdated communications and information network architecture.
Given the recent examples of emerging threats, and the scale of destruction that can be achieved by a small number of weap- ons, now is the time to ask ourselves if our current approach to national security is fit for purpose for both near term and future threat environments.
If an adversary can use the latest commer- cial technologies in an agile and asymmetric manner, you cannot counter them with a large process focussed organisation business model.
The warning signs are there. We don’t want to wait for yet another wakeup call closer to home.
Ian McDonald AM, MSc, DipEng, is a Weapons Design Engineer in the system of systems and countermeasures environment with over 43 years in ADF, USDOD ICT technology and Coalition militaries focused on interoperability and technology driven paradigm change.
Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn (Retd) AO, MA, MDefStud, retired as the Deputy Chief of the RAAF in 2008. In a RAAF Re- serve capacity, he subsequently supported the development of Plan Jericho, Plan Aurora and the analysis of IAMD options. He is now the Board Chair of the Institute for Integrated Economic Research (IIER) – Australia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, the Insti- tute For Regional Security and the Sir Rich- ard Williams Foundation.
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