The Australian Government has a long-term vision for a robust, resilient and internationally competitive Australian industry that is positioned to meet Defence’s requirements, generate economic growth, and support employment opportunities across the country.
“This partnership will be vital if we are to deliver Government’s modernisation program and build a joint force that can meet the threats of today and adapt quickly to the threats of tomorrow,” Lieutenant General Richard Burr, Chief of Army said.
“We must continue to build faster and more effective ways of doing business that are mutually beneficial and better facilitate an open exchange of information and ideas. To unlock industry’s capacity and technical expertise, Army must better understand industry and support innovative ways of doing business.”
Army is actively pursuing this policy initiative, as demonstrated last week through another insightful industry engagement activity.
On Friday the 21st of May, Systematiq attended the Australian Army’s annual Land Environment Working Group (LEWG) in Canberra, chaired by the Head of Land Capability, MAJGEN Simon Stuart, AO, DSC. MAJGEN Stuart opened the LEWG and during his welcome, introduced Army’s new Industry Statement.
Army’s Industry Statement outlines their new way of working with industry to create a strong local supply chain and sovereign capability, “based on a strategic partnership between Army and industry, characterised by engagement earlier in the capability life cycle.”
It also outlines Defence’s broader industry policy and the eight Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities that are directly relevant to Army. These were initially identified in the Government’s 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan as:
- Combat clothing survivability and signature reduction technologies
- Munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture
- Land combat vehicle and technology upgrade
- Aerospace platform deeper maintenance and structural integrity
- Enhanced active phased array radar and passive radar capability
- Advanced signal processing
- Surveillance and intelligence
- Test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance.
Positive news for Australian industry was demonstrated at LEWG by the approach being adopted by Army during the morning’s presentations and then afternoon’s stand-based presentations and discussions. Army are changing their approach and are proactively engaging industry early by providing them with an update on their requirements for future capability investments.
Mr. David Creagh, the Industry co-chair for LEWG responded to MAJGEN Stuart’s welcome address and made comment that in order to build successful supply chain partnerships, Australian Industry must adopt the guidelines outlined by Army’s industry statement to help achieve Army’s capability objectives.
Other presenters on the day included:
- Head of Land Systems from CASG, MAJGEN Andrew Bottrell, CSC and Bar, DSM
- Head of Armoured Vehicles from CASG, MAJGEN David Coghlan, AM
- Mr. Andrew Hodgkinson, Assistant Secretary Defence Capability & Innovation from the Defence Industry Policy Division – Innovation Hub.
- Director General Future Land Warfare, BRIG Ian Langford, DSC and Bars
- Director General Logistics, BRIG Suzanne Graham, CSC
Some of the main themes presented on the day by Army were the requirement for earlier engagement with industry to help the ADF achieve its objectives of rapidly modernising the Army. BRIG Suzanne Graham in her presentation referred to the extensive modernisation occurring across every facet of the Army, stating that the only item in her time in the Army not being updated was the Army’s iconic Slouch hat.
Army is further enhancing its commitment to engagement with industry by the creation of a new Army Industry Engagement Team, aimed at providing a dedicated point of contact, to coordinate and streamline engagement. This team will have a broad remit to respond to industry enquiries, connect industry with appropriate areas of Amy and Defence, and facilitate engagement through forums such as the LEWG, Army Innovation Days, and Chief of Army Symposium.
MAJGEN Stuart summed up Army’s approach to engaging with industry as wider, more expansive, and more frequent. This will no doubt result in better preparedness of industry to meet the challenges and requirements to deliver to Army programs, and mean stronger industrial capability within Australian business.