Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 4 2011 Contents 20 DEFENCE MAGAZINE
DrWatt’s move to PM&C on
September 5 completed a circle after he
left that department a decade ago as a
“I am greatly honoured to be appointed
to the position of Secretary at PM&C, but I
leave Defence with considerable regret,” Dr
“The position of Secretary of Defence
has been both challenging and rewarding.
I have enjoyed my time here and I will
miss the people that I have worked with
during the last two years.
“The people of Defence – military and
civilian – achieve many marvellous things
for the country and it has been a privilege
to have been a part of that.”
The position as Secretary at PM&C
is the highest bureaucratic role in the
Australian Public Service.
The new Secretary, Duncan Lewis, is
the former National Security Adviser and
Special Operations Commander.
Mr Lewis is also returning to familiar
ground; he left the Army in 2005 to join
PM&C as First Assistant Secretary of the
National Security Division, and soon
after, was appointed as deputy secretary.
The Minister for Defence, Mr Stephen
Smith, sees the move as beneficial for
“His departure as Secretary of the
Department of Defence is a loss for
the Defence organisation, but having a
Secretary of the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet who understands
the national security and defence issues,
including budget, capability, acquisition
and sustainment, will be a considerable
advantage for central agency consideration of
these complex issues,” Mr Smith says.
“His appointment reflects the breadth
of his experience, his standing, and the
regard in which he is held in Government
and in the public sector.”
DrWatt says he will go to PM&C with
a greater appreciation of the way line
“The sheer volume and complexity of
the issues that are faced at Defence will
definitely help me provide better advice on
whole-of-government issues at PM&C.
“I will continue to be a supporter of
Defence and I think both departments can
benefit in this reform environment.”
Having arrived at Defence inAugust
2009 as the longest serving Secretary at the
Department of Finance and Deregulation, Dr
Watt expected he would be in for the long
haul at Defence.
“I definitely thought Defence would be
my last public service job.”
He came to know the organisation
well during his two years, visiting troops
in Afghanistan and EastTimor, but
unfortunately was unable to get to the
“If you don’t go and spend time with
our troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere,
you can’t really talk about it, so it was
very important for me to see the troops
on the ground.”
He also saw in the Air Force’s first
Super Hornets, but is cognisant of what he
leaves behind for Mr Lewis.
“Duncan will oversee the
Secretary reflects before
taking top APS role
By michael Weaver
“You work for a terrific organisation.
There’s some big challenges ahead, but I ask
you to grasp those challenges and Defence
will be a better place.”
- Dr Ian Watt
The former Secretary of Defence, Dr IanWatt, and his senior executive assistant Mrs Beryl Knox. Photo: Steve Dent.
implementation of the Black Review (full
story p24-27), the accountability and
culture reviews, while what’s happening
with the Strategic Reform Program is
clearly the major reform agenda,” he says.
“I’ve known Duncan for five or six years
and he will be supported by a very well
seasoned team, which is really important,
because Defence has a great team, and it
needs a great team to properly handle the
complexity and volume of the issues it does
on a daily basis.”
He says the reviews into Defence’s
accountability processes and culture are
“Defence is complex, but if you align
accountabilities with outcomes, you can
still achieve what you want.
“If we don’t change the way we operate,we’ll
have lost the momentum gained by SRP and
quite simply, we won’t have Force 2030.
“As an organisation, I’m confident
Dr Ian Watt would have happily worked as Secretary
of Defence until retirement had not Prime Minister
Julie Gillard announced on August 4 that he would become
the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
Dr IanWatt is briefed on
operations in Afghanistan during
a recent visit with the former
Chief of Defence Force.
Photo: Corporal Chris Moore.
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