Defence gifts Thales $51m IT contract

Five-year contract for command and control systems support services to run from Canberra and Perth

The Department of Defence has gifted a $51 million contract for the provision of command and control systems support services to Thales Australia.

In a statement the minister for Defence Personnel, Material and Science, Greg Combet said the five-year contract began this month, supports 37 jobs and will be delivered from Canberra and Perth facilities.

“The command and control systems support military planning and the conduct of ADF operations and exercises," Combet said.

“The systems are used at the strategic and operational level of command both in Australia and on deployment. They are vital to the planning and conduct of ADF operations and exercises.

“The command and control systems, comprising software application and information technology equipment form part of the Joint Command Support Environment.”

In January, Defence said it had initiated a new approach to procuring ICT services and equipment two months after announcing the changes to its sourcing strategy.

In November, Defence flagged its sourcing strategy as a major area of review in its Defence Information and Communications Technology Strategy 2009 report.

According to the report, while the vast majority of the Defence CIO’s ICT spend was external, a strategic management approach had to date not been taken with this spend.

“85 per cent of expenditure is spent on external providers yet sourcing is highly fragmented, and procurement is decentralised and uncoordinated,” the report reads. “Existing contracts focus on inputs rather than end-to-end accountabilities for business outcomes [and] sourcing acts as a bottleneck, hindering the delivery of business outcomes.”

To address the issue Defence said it planed to consolidate the number of vendors from which it sourced in an effort to have more strategic relationships.

Defence’s infrastructure sourcing strategy will revolve around five technology areas, or bundles: distributed computing, centralised processing, terrestrial communications, specialist communications and applications.

It has also set itself the 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 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.

Not long after announcing its intentions to modify its procurement approach, Defence released the details of an audit into its ICT spend.

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