SeoulOne of the country’s most senior bureaucrats – Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty – has told an industry audience that the department will work quickly and cooperatively with them to implement the findings of the DSR.  He emphasised the structured nature of the process: the independent review team will deliver their findings to the government in February.  The government will decide on the response – and then the Department will work with industry to bring in whatever changes are needed.

He said: “Australia needs to be able to preserve our freedom of action and to discourage and deter those seeking to disrupt the international rules-based order – especially through force, or the threat of force.  We see the need for capabilities to deter conflict – and in a worst case scenario, defend against aggression.  The war against Ukraine has highlighted this, in stark terms.”

Mr Moriarty pointed that there are many lessons being learned from the current conflict, including the importance of command and control systems, precision strike capabilities, as well as the need for robust logistics and resupply.  He said that another, perhaps understated, realisation is that even when all the hi-tech weaponry has been used up – or is being rationed – people nevertheless keep fighting in what at times amounts to a war of attrition.

Speaking at an Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN) symposium on November 29 in Parliament House, Canberra, Mr Moriarty said of the DSR:

“We do have limited resources – and there will be hard choices to be made about priorities. Defence is committed to communicating with industry early to give certainty for business. We know that working with industry is the best way to meet the requirements of the ADF and to build the capabilities that we will need for the future.

“The Department has already started thinking about how to implement the DSR recommendations.”

He said that his people will be forward leaning in turning the government’s response into an actionable plan that can be implemented effectively.  He continued:

“I expect this will require a comprehensive refresh of the Integrated Investment Program to reflect the new government priorities that will flow from the DSR.  Some of these will need to be accelerated – some other capabilities might be reprofiled, de-scoped, or cancelled.”

He said that the government is already focussed on building resilient supply chains, along with acquiring stockpiles of high-end consumables, including weapons.  Resources – in other words money – will need to be found for this.

At the same event, AIDN National CEO Brent Clark, emphasised the importance of speed in implementing the changes to programs so that industry – especially the small business sector – is not sitting around indefinitely haemorrhaging cash while they wait for contracts.  In conversation with Australia’s premier national security television correspondent – the ABC’s Andrew Greene – he pointed out that large companies can survive peaks and troughs.

However, the same cannot be said for many smaller entities that need predictable cash flow to survive.  Mr Clark said that if they are forced out of the defence sector to hunt for business elsewhere, they may never return.

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Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


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