Home' Defence Magazine : White Paper 2009 Contents 34
the lAst worD
the lAst worD
what makes this white paper stand
apart from it predecessors?
The key difference would be the scale and
the comprehensiveness of the final product,
including the outcomes. I don’t think anyone
could argue with the proposition that it will
result in what’s described as Force 2030 being
the largest, most powerful and indeed most
integrated force that we’ve ever contemplated in
There are also some key points of continuity
which relate principally to the fact that the
foundational policy framework remains the
defence of Australia in terms of its territory,
population and infrastructure. So in another
sense, that’s a very traditional focus for White
Papers, but it’s got a very 21st century flavour
and dimension to it now.
In terms of the process, we pushed it out at
the Band 2 / 2-Star level down. It went down and
out into the organisation more than any previous
attempt. I would argue as a result of this
networked approach, there are probably literally
hundreds of people who have got a piece of the
White Paper. They either directly worked on, or
at least to some extent, significantly contributed
to the White Paper. They worked very hard, it
was a very challenging timeline and was made
even more challenging by the fact that it was
done in the context of a formal budget cycle and
also of course with the parallel process of the
independent budget audit.
Notwithstanding all of that, it was a very
networked and federated approach that we took
and a lot of people should take a lot of heart
out of the outcome and should in their own little
way, feel very heartened by the outcome.
I think in terms of process, I would also
argue this was a revolutionary new approach that
really engaged the entire organisation – not just
with some small elite team locked away in some
building, but a team that was very much living
and breathing and working amongst all of their
colleagues, and where Service chiefs, Group
heads and the head of DMO all empowered
either their deputies or very senior officers, who
then built their own teams and networked and
federated into their own organisations.
So literally, all of the groups and services
have got a piece of this and should feel very
proud. So not only are the policy settings new
and contemporary, but also the process was
quite different, and in my view superior.
how will this white paper shape
the future of defence? and how will
the white paper shape defence’s
position in the world considering the
current economic situation?
On the one hand, Force 2030 will give a
future government, once the force is built, a
wider range of options and more capable options
in a wider range of scenarios. And that’s pretty
self-evident from the scale of the modernisation
But more so than previous white papers, the
roll-out and enactment of the Strategic Reform
Program (SRP) will fundamentally change the
way Defence works as an enterprise – whether
it’s non-equipment procurement or more efficient
shared services, or smarter maintenance
techniques that will actually change the Defence
workplace to make it more business-like, more
efficient and more effective.
And the great incentive about those two
linked thoughts (Force 2030 and the SRP) is that
the SRP program will create monetary gains that
will be fed into the development of Force 2030.
So everyone in the Defence workplace will be
able to take some satisfaction out of the fact
that the more business-like culture that they’re
developing, the new enterprise practices that
they are putting in place, actually help to build
the force that’s described at the front end of the
No White Paper before now has really
connected the reform of the enterprise – the
unlocking of efficiencies and the realising of
monetary gains out of that process – to the
building of the future force.
It’s a blueprint not just for the sharp
end – the capability development process,
the acquisition of platforms, the development
of new force elements and so on – but it’s
also a blueprint for everyone in the Defence
environment. It’s a blueprint for our enterprise
functions, be they logistics, ICT, facilities, estate
and so on. And I think everyone quite literally is
covered by elements of the White Paper.
Now obviously, the White Paper itself
presents high-level guidance at an unclassified
level and there’s going to have to be a lot of work
done in cascading out more detailed guidance.
That really shines the light on the responsibilities
that leaders and managers have to translate
the high-level guidance into detailed strategies.
Whilst it’s a very comprehensive document,
it’s still only 140 pages long to cover 21 years,
so in that sense, it’s still a very high-level
picture. So there’s going to be a huge onus on
managers and leaders at all levels to help their
workforces understand how the more detailed
elements of Force 2030 and the SRP relate to
and affect them, but also more importantly,
how they contribute to both the development of
the force and the realising of the new Defence
environment under SRP.
has there been a particular outcome
you’ve been happiest with?
We must always acknowledge the fact that
even if we worked very long hours and it was
our sole project, it’s always the government’s
document and we need to remain dispassionate
and detached from it in that sense, as obviously
the government of the day gives us direction as
to what their policy priorities are. But that said,
obviously it’s something which gave both my
team, and me personally, enormous satisfaction.
I wouldn’t like to highlight one watershed
moment, although there were certainly plenty of
positive moments and also plenty of challenging
moments, but what I will place emphasis on
was the very detailed engagement that NSC
ministers had with the document. They spent
hours discussing, debating it; they engaged in
dialogue with both Defence and other agencies.
The enormous amount of focus, attention and
personal time devoted to it by the Secretary
and the CDF, who of course have other duties
and responsibilities, was another critical factor
amongst many. But they were able to prioritise
their time so that they gave it an enormous
amount of attention. Group heads, Service chiefs
and the head of DMO and their senior leaderships
also invested a lot of time and energy into it.
But most importantly, I’d like to single out a
series of contributions at the level below what
I’ve just described. There was a very wide spread
network of people who were working either
with Major General John Cantwell on the force
structure side or with First Assistant Secretary
Maria Fernandez on the companion review side.
There was an enormous network of folk that
John and Maria were able to tap into. They are
the true heroes of the White Paper result.
what kind of response have you had
so far to the white paper?
There’s been very significant media interest
in it and there’s been a lot of interest within our
diplomatic community and from foreign partners
and certainly just in terms of simple metrics like
demand for the White Paper and people looking
to collect their copy. It certainly seems to be
destined to be a bit of a ‘best seller’. And so the
level of interest is certainly very high.
In terms of the nature of the response and
the interest, I think people have by and large
come to the view that it’s a very comprehensive
document. Some of the expert commentators
felt that some of the policy formulations perhaps
weren’t as they would have had it. Some of the
policy experts were of the view that some of
the formulations in fact aren’t necessarily the
best strategic approaches. They are of course
legitimately entitled to those opinions.
I think as far as Defence commentators
and industry are concerned, there’s been an
almost uniform appreciation of the level of detail
provided, in particularly to chapter nine in terms
of the capability priorities. It’s going to give
industry a very clear steer, particularly when
you couple it with the Defence and Industry
Conference that’s coming up later in the year, and
the Government has stated on several occasions
since launching the White Paper that we’ll be
putting out more detail at that time in relation to
the Defence Capability Plan.
So I think taking the launch on 2 May of
the White Paper, coupled with the Budget when
the financial detail was more exposed and
then towards the end of June when you’ll have
the capability plan out there, the Australian
community, our international partners and
Defence industry will have a very comprehensive
view of Defence planning for the next 20 years.
Our job now is to take notice of all commentary
and respond appropriately. If the Government
requires assistance on how to respond to
comments, then we are providing it. It is not our role
to sit back and be pained by such commentary, or to
rejoice in it. Our job is to have a very dispassionate
view and to support the government of the day in
dealing with the public debate.
what must defence do now to ensure
the white paper achieves its desired
I think two things are critical and they
themselves break into a whole series of sub-
streams. One is, of course, to commit to and
deliver the Strategic Reform Program. Without
the changed way of doing business, without the
reforms to our enterprise, without the savings
and efficiency initiatives, the Government has
stated quite clearly that funding will fall short.
So whether you’re a veteran of previous reforms
and efficiency drives, whether you’re a cynic
or a sceptic, whether you’re indifferent or an
enthusiast, we’ve all got to commit to the same
goal and that is the SRP mustn’t simply be a
slogan or a bumper sticker, it’s actually got to
come to life and be operationalised and be
delivered. Why? Because the plan doesn’t work
without it – it’s as simple as that.
Issue two, and linked to that of course, is
at the end of the day the Defence organisation
exists to provide a war fighting capability and
more generally a military capability to the
Government of the day to use. And that is now
wrapped in our plan Force 2030.
So the other central priority will of course be
to drive the capability process to ensure that we
deliver through acquisition – through capability
development generally, through training our
people and so on – the Force 2030 in the
timeframes the government has mandated.
Now some of that will fall to the formal
two-pass Kinnaird process in terms of cabinet
submissions going forward, approvals being
given and acquisition being undertaken and the
like, but some of it will also fall to the training
of our people, the non-DMO type procurement
activities, so it doesn’t just fall to the Capability
Development Group and DMO to deliver Force
2030 – we all have to.
what was the sense of achievement
like once the job was done?
Again, our prime focus is to be of dispassionate
and apolitical service to the government of the
day, but I think even as public servants we’re
allowed at least a small window of satisfaction
and celebration. Certainly on a personal note, I’ve
got to say that the Saturday afternoon after the
launch was certainly a highlight of my career, just
experiencing the buzz and sensation of such a major
policy statement delivered in such a wonderful
amphitheatre of my home town in Sydney. So any
chance to get on or close to Sydney Harbour is
always close to my heart. And of course, to have
a policy document introduced by the Minister and
launched by the Prime Minister would be a thrill for
any public servant.
But of course I just want to emphasise that
none of that represents self-congratulations to
which I am entitled, because frankly without the
whole team effort and not just the core White
Paper team, with my two deputies John Cantwell
and Maria Fernandez so prominent, but also
that extended family of, if you like, White Paper
warriors in all of the groups, we could not have
delivered this policy. I think they all ought to
indulge in a little celebration – only a little bit –
and then the task is now to get on with it.
the reform of the enterprise – the unlocking of
efficiencies and the realising of monetary gains out of
that process – to the building of the future force
Links Archive Issue 6 2009 Issue 4 2009 Navigation Previous Page Next Page