Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 1 2012 Contents from page 20
Warren says the DMO will focus on building skills in
all these areas, and one of the initiatives he hopes to
implement this year is the establishment of a major
project negotiations cell.
“When the DMO is negotiating a project with industry
worth billions of dollars, industry obviously brings
its best minds to the table. We need to make sure
that we also have our best minds negotiating that
contract,” he says.
“We want to encourage a collaborative relationship
with industry and will be seeking the best deals we
can – the government and taxpayers will accept no
less. We need a cooperative arrangement that builds
on good business principles that allows industry to
make a profit, while delivering projects on time and on
budget in order for us to be successful.”
While Warren is conscious of building strong
relationships with industry, he is also well aware
that the need for cooperation applies equally within
“Defence is a complex organisation,” he says, “and
the DMO is one part of that. We are totally integrated
I don’t think anyone would question that.
“When the DMO became a Prescribed Agency, some
people interpreted that as being ‘different’. But I
put it this way: the Army, Navy and Air Force are all
different. They have different objectives, methods and
structures in order to do their business well as part
of the integrated ADF. The DMO is the same. It is an
integrated part of Defence but needs slightly different
structures in order to do its business.
“The other important consideration is that the DMO
has to operate objectively. So there will be occasions
when the advice I provide to the Secretary, CDF or
Service Chiefs may not be exactly what they want to
hear. That’s not being different. It’s simply a case of
offering good, objective advice so we can all deliver
sensible, achievable outcomes.”
In relation to accountabilities, Warren says the DMO
will continue to play a major role in advising the
government on the development of projects and their
respective cost, schedule and risk profiles.
“We will be heavily involved in the coordination role
with other parts of Defence but, when it comes to
executing capital equipment projects and sustaining
those capabilities, that will remain my prime
accountability,” he says.
The DMO has enjoyed much success recently,
despite what is regularly reported in mainstream
“Contrary to a lot of the public commentary we are
not over budget. In fact, on average we deliver our
projects under budget,” Warren says.
“Schedule slip, which is a problem for us, is also
lessening. We have reduced our average schedule
slip from about 50 per cent to 30 per cent. We have
also compared our own schedule performance
against our international counterparts and the
comparative results are very favourable.
“As well, many of the projects of concern have been
remediated over recent years. Take the Adelaide-class
frigates, for example, those ships are now serving
around Australia and in the Middle East. At present
there are just six projects of concern – at times that
will fluctuate, but we will continue to remediate those
The quick acquisition and delivery of HMAS Choules
is another of the DMO’s key recent achievements.
“We bought that ship from the United Kingdom at a
very good price and it’s already in service in under a
year,” he says.
“Another success is the Air Warfare Destroyer project.
When you look back to 2004, it was just a paper
concept. Now, if you go to Adelaide and around the
country, you can find more than 2000 people working,
a new shipyard, a new systems centre, and you can
actually stand on hundreds of tonnes of ship. So
while we’ve had some challenges with that project, I
don’t rate it as a failure – it’s a success.”
Leading the DMO was not Warren’s long-term
ambition. He says he was never driven to reach a
post of status, but that “it’s always just been about
doing a job I love”.
“I started my career as a Navy apprentice and
when I told my parents I was going to complete an
engineering degree and become an engineering
officer instead, they told me to stick with trade training
because there was no future in electronics! My Mum
and Dad would be stunned to know where I am
“I’ve reached a place I never thought I’d be and
this will be my last role in my full-time working life.
Between now and when I retire, my simple ambition is
to leave the DMO better-placed and to make sure we
are delivering well for Defence.”
“Defence is a complex
organisation and the
DMO is one part of
that. We are totally
integrated – I don’t
think anyone would
Chief Executive Officer of the
Defence Materiel Organisation
Issue 1 2012
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