digital transformation in the Defence sector to accelerate innovation and the delivery of new capabilities will be the focus for the inaugural Australian Digital Engineering Summit on November 17. The one-day summit will be held at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and virtually. It will provide an ideal platform for the Defence community to discuss insights and collaborate to advance Australia’s digital engineering capabilities and build a digitally-equipped workforce.

The Royal Australian Navy’s Head of Navy Capability, Rear Admiral Stephen Hughes, and Director General of the Future Navy Workforce, Commodore Anthony Klenthis, will be among a number of high-profile speakers from private defence industry companies, tech start-ups, universities, government agencies and Defence.

UNSW Canberra Capability Systems Centre Director and Associate Professor Sondoss El Sawah said the summit will raise awareness about the critical need for digital engineering to accelerate innovation and meet future Defence challenges.

“The whole landscape we’re operating in is changing; Defence needs to build and deliver capabilities at scale and speed that we haven’t seen before,” El Sawah said. “We need to leverage the digital transformation to enable Defence capabilities at this scale. The idea of digital engineering is having an integrated set of computational models and tools that allow us to experiment with the design, test and evaluation of these capabilities in a digital manner before deploying them in the real world. Digital engineering is a key enabler to achieving outcomes identified in the Defence Strategic Review and the AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Pillar, as it will accelerate the design and development cycle, integrate decision-making and improve visibility across the capability life cycle.

“The Australian Digital Engineering Summit is an opportunity to co-design with the Defence community what our vision for Australia’s digital engineering capability will look like. We want to start the conversation around digital engineering and what it means for Australia,” El Sawah said. “As part of this digital transformation journey, we also need to architect Australia’s digital engineering capability. A key element of this is workforce mapping and scoping out the digital engineering skills and competencies Defence and defence industry requires to operate, manage and acquire advanced capabilities.”

The summit is being held under the banner of the Security and Defence PLuS – a partnership between Arizona State University, King’s College London and the UNSW focused on advancing the AUKUS agreement – and supported by partners DEWC Services and ADROITA.


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