Defence seeks CTO after Mohan departs

To lead 200-strong division and manage $200m annual budget at department

Credit: © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

The Department of Defence is seeking a new chief technology officer, following the departure of Aiyaswami Mohan in May.

Mohan had served in the role since 2014, joining the department from logistics giant Toll Group. He previously led the enterprise integration function at Coles Myer during its transformation program and the enterprise architecture transition program for Optus.

In his first job as a software engineer, he led a technical team that implemented the automated passenger reservation system for Indian Railways.

Aiyaswami Mohan. © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence
Aiyaswami Mohan. © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

The CTO role has been filled by former assistant secretary of enterprise technology operations Justin Keefe since June.

The successful candidate will lead Defence’s Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG) Technology Division, which is responsible for the IT systems that support military operations and department business.

Responsibilities of the role – which reports to chief information officer Stephen Pearson – cover Defence’s ICT strategy and enterprise architecture as well as consideration of emerging technologies for use by the armed forces. The role also leads the Defence Technical Authority for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) and sets the science research agenda for ICT within the Defence Science and Technology Group.

The task of the CTO is considerable: Defence’s ICT environment encompasses around 100,000 workstations, 3000 applications, 280 processing centres and 670 networks. The CTO manages a division of around 200 staff and an annual budget in excess of $200 million.

In 2016, the government earmarked an additional $5 billion to fix the underinvestment in Defence’s ICT systems over the previous decade.

That year’s Defence White Paper also pointed out a “lack of a coherent enterprise-level strategy for Defence’s complex and rapidly evolving information and communications requirements” which had led to a “serious degradation” of its ICT capabilities.

Later in 2016, Defence released an updated ICT strategy — ICT Strategic Direction 2016-2020 — intended to help it implement the ‘One Defence’ reform program it had proposed in response.

Within the program was a move to an “enterprise approach” to the delivery of corporate and military services and a move to a ‘Single Information Environment’ (SIE) architecture with standardised businesses processes and a reduced cost of ownership for ICT.

The SIE approach included the largest enterprise resource planning (ERP) program undertaken by the Australian government. Last month IBM won a $95.5 million contract for initial design work on the ERP system.

The CTO role is an Australian Public Service senior executive service band two position, and based in Canberra. Salary is negotiable.

“You will require knowledge and practical experience in delivering ICT strategy, ICT enterprise architecture and providing technical direction in a large, complex and diverse organisation. Prior experience in a large scale highly complex business transformation is highly desirable. In addition, an understanding of new and emerging technologies and their applicability to Defence will be critical,” the job listing reads.

“You will be self-aware, positive in considering and respecting a diversity of ideas and perspectives of others,” it adds.

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