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Late last year, Defence released People in Defence, a document
that kick-started the organisation’s conversation on how best to
achieve the personnel requirements outlined in the White Paper,
Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030.
It proposed a vision for what needs to be achieved
by 2015 (the date mandated under the Strategic
Reform Program) to ensure Defence has the
workforce capability it requires to deliver Force
A recurring theme is the need to gain greater
traction within the community – our most crucial
audience in helping us meet the demand.
“Our success is very much dependent on how the
community views and judges us,” Head People
Capability Major General Craig Orme said.
“The White Paper tells us what Defence needs in
terms of security, the Strategic Reform Program
guides us for efficiencies.
“People in Defence, then, tells us what we have to
do in the people space to ensure we have the right
people in the right jobs at the right time to deliver
the capability we require.”
In developing this future workforce, Defence has
to consider the views of three main groups – the
Government, current and potential employees, and
The People Strategies bods call them lenses
looking through the eyes of those three
“We know the biggest influence to joining the
forces is a family member or friend who has
served; someone with an intimate knowledge
of what service life is like and can act as an
advocate,” MAJGEN Orme said.
“Similarly, the Defence APS draws about one-third
of its workforce from former members of the ADF.
“For us to be successful we have to increase the
number of young people out there who consider
Defence as a career. In order to achieve that we
need to engage with the influencers of those young
people and ensure they understand what we are
doing, they respect and value what we are doing,
and they trust us to hand off their kids and brothers
and sisters to us as an employer.
“But we can’t continue to rely on those who have
had friends or family members in the forces;
we must find new ways to attract talent from a
broader part of the community.”
Identifying how to do that is part of the People
in Defence initiative. From it will flow – and are
flowing – a series of projects that will flesh out the
development of human resources and workforce
initiatives across Defence.
The Defence Strategic Workforce Plan, Defence
People Systems Reform Plan and the Annual
People Plan are the three major projects.
The People Plan identifies critical issues
associated with workforce numbers, skills and
funding, and outlines short-term priorities and
Immediate priorities include a review of
rehabilitation and compensation, improving
support to families, developing new housing and
accommodation assistance options, improving
the delivery of mental health, and implementing
programs to increase diversity within Defence. The
plan is due for release in November.
“We already have some very good programs
around diversity, making service life more
attractive to a wider range of people,” MAJGEN
“We are creating more flexible work arrangements,
ensuring we remain contemporary and recognising
that the profile of family life is changing. We want
to have policies in place that respond to that.
“Multicultural and indigenous audiences are
other areas in which we are looking to increase
our diversity. We already have pre-recruitment
programs – numeracy, literacy and life-building
skills – where we prepare indigenous Australians
before they enter the recruiting process.”
MAJGEN Orme described People in Defence as a
“It has laid down what we need to do through the
community, the government and our people. The
various plans are putting the meat on the bones.
“From a departmental point of view, we will end
up with a system that works much more efficiently,
is far more coordinated, has fewer gaps, has
more cohesion across the organisation and less
“It’s about building a better people system.”
Defence people working towards a
common goal are (L-R): Nicholas Hyde,
Wing Commander Brady Cummins and
Photo: CPL Chris Moore
“Engaging more broadly with the community is the key factor in Defence
attracting and retaining a capable and high-quality workforce in the future.”
- Head People Capability Major General Craig Orme (pictured left)
By Phil Mayne
PEOPLE STRATEGIES AND POLICY
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