Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 2 2015 Contents Associate Secretary Brendan Sargeant reflects on Innovation Month
and how the First Principles Review implementation will support
innovation to ensure Defence delivers its strategic and capability
requirements into the future.
Defence Issue 2 2015
AT ANY LEVEL.
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews
with the Afghanistan Ambassador
in Australia, H.E Nasir A. Andisha
(fifth from left), holding counter-
IED equipment and surrounded by
Defence and industry partners
in Project Redwing.
Photo: Lauren Larking
N JULY, the APS explored how depart-
ments and agencies address complex eco-
nomic, social and environmental challenges
Associate Secretary Brendan Sargeant says
Defence has always had to keep pace with rapidly
“We will continue to face challenges in the
coming decades, with rapid technological change,
economic and military growth in our region, and
an increased demand on our military resources
for emergency response and support,” Brendan
“We need to get the best value out of the
resources given to us by the Government.”
Brendan is confident the First Principles
Review (FPR) will help Defence to embrace a
more innovative approach to its business.
“The FPR looked at how we can do things
better, smarter and more efficiently.”
It was timely that the plan commenced imple-
mentation during Innovation Month as Defence’s
new organisational structure came into effect.
Brendan encourages everyone to participate in
the FPR and to seek opportunities for innovation.
“Innovation can come from anyone at
any level. It can lead to new technology
developments, streamlined stakeholder
engagement, more efficient business processes
and better utilisation of our people,” he says.
“I am continually impressed with the
innovation that we, as a Department, show. From
technology to streamlining business processes,
people are continually coming up with ideas that
enable us to do things better.”
As an example, he cites the new mobile data
capture capability developed by the Environment
and Engineering Branch in Infrastructure
“This app assists Defence with our
responsibility to protect the environment that
we live and work in. It allows us to monitor our
impact on the environment in near real time,”
The data collected from this app can guide
decisions on the location of exercises to setting
priorities for remediation control, and has been
used in the field in Afghanistan as well as during
Exercise Talisman Sabre.
To strengthen interaction with the university
sector, the Defence Science and Technology
Group has established the Defence Science
Partnerships (DSP) program.
The DSP reduces the time it takes to connect
with a university from months to days and has
already doubled Defence’s investment with the
sector to more than $16 million.
“We should be looking at how we can
innovate in everything we do. Reviewing how we
do our everyday business can lead to commercial
savings and a better outcome for Defence,”
Defence recently reduced its base service
contracts for products and service delivery from
21 to 10.
By using outcome-driven contracts and
engaging directly with specialist contractors,
Defence has been able to achieve better service
and a dividend of about 8 per cent.
“Direct contracts allow innovative thinking
as specialist contractors now work directly
with Defence, rather than through managing
contractors,” Brendan says.
“This approach has seen leading waste
industry experts deliver new approaches to
measuring Defence’s waste volumes, and
provides better guidance on how Defence can
increase its reuse and recycling while also
reducing waste to landfill.
“For the FPR to be successful, we require
everyone to show leadership regardless of where
they sit in the organisation or the role they per-
“The FPR challenges us to think differently,
and to explore new ways of doing things.
“It asks us to embrace change, take risks and
look for opportunities.”
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