Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 4 2011 Contents 46 DEFENCE MAGAZINE
thE LASt WORD
(CIO), Mr Greg Farr, manages
one of the largest ICT
operations in the country,
with billion-dollar budgets
to lead large transformation
projects, managing and
maintaining more than
100,000 work stations and
around 3000 applications.
And that’s just to start.
Mr Farr heads up the Chief Information
Officer Group (CIOG). Mr Farr recently
conducted an inter view with the
Australian Computer Society (*ACS) to
discuss the opportunities Defence ICT has
for ICT professionals.
What is the scope of CIOG’s
The CIOG is responsible for ensuring
that Defence has a dependable, secure
and integrated Single Infor mation
Environment (SIE) to suppor t Defence
military and business operations.
The SIE encompasses the computing and
communications infrastructure of Defence
along with the management of systems and
people that deliver that infrastructure.
It includes our computing networks,
business applications and the data that they
generate and carry. It also includes the
communication standards and spectrum
required for our battlespace networks.
This infrastructure is essential and integral
to such central Defence functions such as
intelligence, sur veillance, reconnaissance,
communications, information warfare,
command and management.
The right formula for
recruiting ICT professionals
Defence’s Chief Information Officer, Mr Greg Farr.
Photo: Grace Costa
What challenges does CIOG
face in finding and retaining
talented ICT professionals?
The number one challenge for CIOG
is the remuneration competition from
the private sector.This, coupled with
the drop during the last few years in
university applications to undertake
IT degrees and the strong demand
for well-qualified professionals in a
strengthening economy, are the biggest
issues we face in finding and retaining
talented ICT professionals.
Are there any current gaps of
ICT professionals within CIOG?
Currently we have a demand for
project managers, system security
analysts, and business analysts, among
We have implemented programs
such as the Australian Government
Information Management Office APS ICT
Cadetship, which CIOG has been part of
since its inception, providing us with a
pathway to ‘grow-our-own’ professionals.
This program is an excellent
opportunity for IT university students
to bridge the gap between study and
We support cadets with part-time
work while they continue to study.
Through this we have had a number of
successful transitions from the Cadetship
to the workforce and look forward to
continuing our association with it.
Another entry-level program we
run is in conjunction with the Defence
Graduate Development Program.The
Information Stream of this Program
provides graduates with three IT work-
rotations and a subsequent position
I have worked with a number of
the graduates from this Program and
believe that this is another avenue for our
succession planning within the department.
What does it mean to be a
professional in the ICT sector
(and within CIOG)?
Working as an ICT professional within
CIOG allows you the opportunity to
keep up-to-date with the ever changing
industry. Defence is at the forefront of
this developing industry and our people
have the opportunity to live it rather
than read about it happening.
development does CIOG offer
The CIOG offers its ICT professionals:
skilling framework to identify
the requirements for people to
proactively develop their careers,
the willingness to train our employees
in the most up-to-date tools to meet
our future requirements,
access to the University of NSW at
ADFA for continuing education paid
“The number one challenge for CIOG is the remuneration
competition from the private sector.”
for by the department, and
ACS membership and certifi
How does improving
professionalism in the
workforce benefit the
Improving professionalism in the
workforce increases our profile and
helps make us an employer of choice.
It helps to retain staff through the life of
projects and assists staff to make a career
How important is it to have a certified
Certification is a major step forward
for the industry. In the past we have
struggled to be seen as a professional
group.With certification we can have
the same standing and recognition as
Certification also promotes project
delivery and aids reputation amongst
colleagues and peers.
*The ACS is a professional association with
approximately 16,000 members. CIOG has
a professional partnership with the ACS
which is a policy adviser to government
and industry.This article was originally
published in Information Age, July/August
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