Defence outlines ICT strategy in new report

Department of Defence has restated its goal of saving up to $1.9 billion over the next decade with better DIE

The Department of Defence has restated its goal of saving up to $1.9 billion over the next decade by spending $940 million to develop an improved Defence Information Environment (DIE) to support the armed forces and business reform objectives to 2030.

As part of its ICT strategy report, titled, Defence Information and Communications Technology Strategy 2009, Defence reconfirmed its commitment to building a new DIE by 2012 and claimed it would bring savings of $1.9 billion over 10 years with continuing savings of $250 million per annum.

The Federal Government said it would invest the $940 million at the release of the 2009 Defence White Paper in May with two thirds of the money to be used to "address long-term underinvestment in Defence ICT by reforming access to, and management of, Defence information". The remaining funds will go to replacing hardware and improving information security.

In June, Defence reported less than half of the annual $1.2 billion spent by Defence on its ICT is visible to its chief information officer, Greg Farr.

The shortcomings were detailed in its Strategic Reform Program Delivering Force 2030 report.

In the most recent strategy report, Defence said it was aiming to achieve: Greater ICT scalability, flexibility and adaptability; improved information speed and accuracy; continued technological capability edge; enhanced interoperability; and improved business support.

To achieve these goals four areas of focus were identified including the prioritisation of spend and efficiency; the development of a stakeholder-centric organisation model; the creation of a "Defence-wide ICT Operating Model and Enterprise Architecture promoting standardisation and consolidation"; and general improvements to culture, leadership, skills and other characteristics.

"New governance arrangements will align ICT investments across Defence with the priorities set by the Secretary and Chief of the Defence Force. New procurement and approval processes for ICT investments will shorten time to market while maintaining high levels of project assurance," the report reads.

"The implementation of a single portfolio of ICT investment in Defence will increase the visibility of Defence’s ICT expenditure and improve the effectiveness of Defence ICT systems and processes."

Additionally, Defence restated its intention to build a networked ADF with sensors, weapons systems, commanders and personnel all linked in a network environment.

"The networked force is to be built by progressively delivering networked capability within the maritime, land, aerospace and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) domains," the report reads. "This approach to building a networked Australian Defence Force (ADF) will be dependent on the establishment of a secure high-capacity information network that allows personnel located in different areas to collaborate in real-time and to precisely synchronise their operational actions."

In a forward to the report, Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner said the department would take a whole-of-portfolio approach to its use of ICT.

"The areas, agencies and branches directly affected by new ICT projects will play a direct role in determining project priorities and timing," the forward reads. "Put simply, investment decisions will reflect departmental priorities, and end users will help shape the specifics of what they get, and when they get it.

"Cultural change and workforce planning initiatives will make the most of our ICT workforce, and the new Integrated Defence Architecture will guide future investment decisions and the strategic planning of information technology and systems.

"This ICT strategy also places the remediation and reform of ICT capability provision within the broader context of the 2009 Defence White Paper and Defence’s Strategic Reform Program (SRP)."

In September, Defence said it would shortly commence refreshing its core management information system for personnel management, personnel management key solution (PMKeyS), in an effort to better manage risk and add “significant and sustainable benefits” to the organisation.

The full report can be found on the Defence website.

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