Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 1 2016 Contents Secretary of Defence Dennis Richardson outlines the goals
and challenges for this year
WITH THE SECRETARY
10 Defence Issue 1 2016
What is your focus in 2016?
It is the White Paper and everything associated
with it, in terms getting it out on the streets and
the hard work of implementation. Peter Baxter
and everyone involved in the White Paper
should be very proud on their achievements.
There will be the continued implementation
of the First Principles Review, and big projects
such as submarines, future frigates, offshore
patrol vessels and Land 400.
Air Force is in a pretty good position
and ensuring what they have in the pipeline
continues to be delivered on time and on
And, importantly, there is the DECA.
The associated Force Structure Review,
Naval Shipbuilding Plan, Capability Plan
and Industry Policy Statement are being
released in conjunction with the White Pa-
per. What challenges do you expect to come
The major challenges of these will be simply the
hard work of the implementation process. There
will be the expectations from industry, within
the three Services and from within Government.
I suppose delivering on/for them is the ultimate
challenge. This is assuming their expectations
are realistic to start with.
A third of the recommendations of the First
Principles Review have been completed.
How many more are expected to be com-
pleted this year, what are the big-ticket
items and what will they mean for the work-
I don’t think of the implementation of the First
Principles Review in terms of the numbers.
For instance, it is true we have implemented
about a third of the recommendations, equally
it is true that the recommendations we have so
far implemented are the easy ones. So a third in
absolute numbers, but we haven’t yet delivered
on a third in terms of degree of difficulty and
We also need to nail down the capability life
cycle, which has taken longer than anticipated,
because it goes to the heart of the way we work
in government and with Government. It goes to
the heart of what comes out of the Department,
which is of central importance to the ADF. It is
essentially the vehicle through which we deliver
on the force structure. Getting that right is really
We aren’t yet there, but VCDF Vice Admiral
Ray Griggs has been leading that and I am
very confident we will get there in the first four
months of this year.
We’ve got a lot of work to do this year in
terms of the continued professionalisation
of the APS side and some of the changes in
the skill mix in the Capability Acquisition
and Sustainment Group and we’re only in
the very early stages of doing what needs to
be done on service delivery. And in terms of
behaviours which underpin the whole of the
First Principles, we’ve got to work that in with
Pathway to Change.
There will be a degree of change for the
workforce; no organisation remains stationary,
and there will always be change. We are at
where we need to be in terms of APS numbers.
We are down to just under 18,000 full-time staff
equivalent. The challenge is no longer absolute
numbers, but getting the right professional
skill mix in the workforce. This will lead to
continued change over the next couple of years.
So you are satisfied with the current APS
numbers? Will more voluntary redundan-
cies be sought?
I’m reasonably comfortable if we can keep
numbers around the 18,000 level – which is
about 4000 off the peak of the 22,200 we had
a bit over three years ago – we can deliver
what the Government requires. There will be
no more broad general offers of voluntary or
involuntary redundancies. I very much hope
between June and September of this year we
can return to normal recruitment processes.
What is your message to staff in regards to
The key message is an understanding of what
is the prerogative of Government and the
prerogative of the Department.
The elected Government sets the
framework and maximum that can be offered,
ENORMOUS CULTURAL AND
BOTH IN THE APS AND ADF.”
SECRETARY OF DEFENCE
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