Defence Dept reorganises IS divisions

The Department of Defence is merging its information divisions at a time when it has come under fire in recent months because contracts and IT projects have been running over budget and behind schedule.

Defence is merging the divisions of the chief information officer (CIO) and the head of knowledge systems (HKS) to improve the management of its information capability.

Patrick Hannan will continue as the CIO with Rear Admiral Peter Clarke (formally head of knowledge systems) as the deputy to the CIO, according to a statement.

Hannan said information management is not just about computers and hardware. "It is about being part of the shaping of the strategic policy direction of the organisation."

The CIO will act on behalf of the Service chiefs and Ron Bonighton, deputy secretary intelligence and security for the coordination and strategic direction of warfighting and intelligence systems.

Responsibility for the detailed development of Defence Information Environment (DIE) related capital projects will transfer to the head of capability systems.

The DIE encompasses intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, communications, information warfare, electronic warfare, command and headquarters systems, and management (logistics and business) systems.

Earlier this week Opposition defence spokesman Senator Chris Evans said the Defence Department has lost more than $5 billion because most major purchases have run over budget.

Senator Evans said that, of the department's 20 biggest contracts to buy new equipment, 16 are over budget and behind schedule.

In Estimates Hearing for the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Senate earlier this year details of a $45 million budget blow-out in an overdue human resources IT project were revealed. According to transcripts, the project was originally a $25 million contract and is three years overdue.

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