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By the Strategic Reform and Governance Executive
At the Senior Leadership Group meeting on 31 March 2010, the Minister for Defence announced the
Government’s endorsement of the Strategic Reform Program, culminating six months of dedicated scoping,
diagnostics and planning across the entire Defence organisation.
The Defence White Paper, Defending Australia
in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030, was
released in April 2009. It sets out the Government’s
plan for Defence to the year 2030 and describes
what Government, on behalf of the Australian
people, expects from Defence. The Strategic
Reform Program (SRP), established to ensure the
Defence organisation could deliver Force 2030,
will comprehensively transform the organisation,
making it more efficient and effective, and creating
significant cost reductions which will be redirected
towards building a stronger Defence organisation.
Prior to the White Paper, the broader perception
in Canberra was that Defence was a little
overfunded, which in some areas was actually
true, rather accident prone and not at all cost-
conscious. More profoundly, there was also a
recognition that the world is changing and that the
task of ensuring Australia’s security will get more
demanding in the future. This led to the need to
rethink policy, which was undertaken through the
White Paper process.
The result is a very ambitious vision of the future
ADF that Australia will need. It is a vision grounded
in the reality of hard-headed assessments of our
strategic circumstances in a changing world.
In agreeing to Force 2030, the Government
endorsed a more capable, muscular and hard-
hitting defence force. This includes everything
from now to 2030 outlined in the White Paper
from the Cyber Security Operations Centre to
building air power with the Super Hornets and
the Joint Strike Fighter; to Air Warfare Destroyers
and Offshore Combatant Vessels; from the Light
Armoured Vehicle replacement and self-propelled
artillery; to remediation of infrastructure and ICT as
part of repairing the backbone of Defence.
Government also recognised that in order to
build and sustain this future force, we needed to
create a very different Defence organisation. This
meant repairing what had been neglected, and
STRATEGIC REFORM AND GOVERNANCE EXECUTIVE
Government endorses plan for Force 2030
building a new organisation for the future. These
requirements, along with the Defence Budget
Audit, which helped inform the White Paper, has
provided the foundation for the SRP.
The SRP is one of the largest change programs
ever undertaken by a Government agency,
unmatched in complexity and size. It consists
of more than 300 individual reform initiatives,
grouped into 15 reform streams. The arrangements
for implementing it are designed to integrate
the reforms and maximise our opportunities for
success. Overall, each reform is aimed at one or
more of the following:
› simplifying our internal processes to reduce time
› consolidating where process work is conducted
so it is not duplicated in other parts of the
› aligning some of our more complex processes,
like the acquisition of new capability, so there is
a clear linkage between the identified need and
the final product
› ensuring our policies reflect contemporary
› improving our decision-making around expending
› reducing our demand for goods and services, and
› building a cost-conscious culture in Defence.
Many of the SRP reforms will not directly
reduce costs but will improve planning, strategic
alignment and improve overall efficiency.
The SRP is a 10-year reform program. During that
time, Defence will achieve a range of reforms that
will permit around $20 billion in cost reductions
which will be reinvested in Defence capability.
The SRP will also deliver a significant cultural shift
in our organisation so that Defence becomes an
organisation that is cost conscious, accountable
and agile in its business processes. Ultimately,
SRP roll-out begins
It’s the morning of the Government’s announcement that it has
considered and endorsed the implementation plan for the Strategic
Reform Program (SRP), and the man tasked with making it happen is
calmly making the usual last-minute changes, as the flow of information
to both the Defence workforce and the public begins in earnest.
The then Deputy Head of Strategic Reform
and Governance, Rear Admiral Ray Griggs first
introduced his ‘we can if’ attitude to the SRP last
Now, he is aiming to get to a stage where,
ideally, people stop talking about reform because
everything the SRP aims to achieve has been
embedded into everyday business.
“The key now really is cost-consciousness,” RADM
“Our focus is to ensure we live within our means
as we improve the organisation.”
Across Defence however, RADM Griggs said there
has been a real eagerness for information, but
he is quick to reiterate that despite the reforms
already underway, the SRP is still in its infancy and
there are still enormous opportunities for people in
Defence to contribute to the reform process.
“From the hundreds of people we’ve been
dealing with, there is still very much a ‘we can if’
approach, and now we are seeing an acceptance
of the Program more broadly as people understand
the crucial link between the SRP, the delivery of
Force 2030 and the future of our organisation,”
RADM Griggs said.
With Defence already on track to deliver $797
million in cost reductions scheduled for 2009-10,
the Government likewise is impressed with the
commitment to making the planned reforms
sustainable and successful.
When Minister for Defence Senator John Faulkner
addressed Defence’s Senior Leadership Group on
31 March, he acknowledged the work Defence had
put into developing the full implementation plan.
“The detailed planning work that has been
underway since May 2009 is critical to the success
of the SRP,” Senator Faulkner said.
“I congratulate and thank all those Defence
personnel who have worked so hard to develop the
“To be blunt, while we have already started to
build Force 2030 through decisions over the past
year, achieving it in its full potential will not
be possible without achieving the SRP in all its
ABOVe: Minister for Defence Senator John Faulkner
addresses Defence’s Senior Leadership Group to announce
the Government’s endorsement of the implementation plan
for the Strategic Reform Program. Photo: Steve Dent
the SRP is focused on delivering an organisation
that will be sustainable long into the future and an
organisation that will be able to fulfil the vision of
Defence will not succeed in delivering the SRP, and
therefore Force 2030, without the commitment,
creativity and collaboration of everyone in the
organisation. We have embarked on one of the
most significant periods of change for decades as
we build Force 2030.
As you become more familiar with the SRP and
begin to see its impacts, it will be important
that you ask yourself how you can play your
part in making this program a success. Some
key questions to keep in mind as the SRP gains
› How can I play a role in making Defence a better
› How can I apply the reforms in my workplace?
› How can I make improvements in the way I do
› How can I ensure I am spending dollars and time
on the right things?
› How can I communicate my ideas on reform?
The planning that has gone into the SRP represents
only the start of our task. SRP will, over time, touch
every part of Defence and challenge all of us to
consider how we do our work. It will challenge
us to innovate, to think differently about what
we do and how we achieve our purpose. It will
create new opportunities and call into question
long established habit and custom. There is no
improvement to a process or reduction in cost that
is too small. We must be flexible and agile enough
to look for, generate and seize new opportunities
as they present.
Our biggest challenge is to turn a well planned
program into a well executed program that delivers
the benefits it promises. Delivering on this program
means delivering Force 2030 and providing the
force that Australia needs for the future.
“Cost-consciousness is critical if we are to sustain
the reforms – without sustained reforms we won’t
be able to reduce costs.”
Armed with a small and enthusiastic group that is
the Strategic Reform and Governance Executive,
RADM Griggs said the need for a centralised team
to oversee, coordinate and integrate the Program
has been well proven.
“We’ve been able to assist the various reform
streams to ensure they have the tools they need to
make the development of genuine
reforms a reality,” RADM Griggs said.
“We’ve also had enormous support from the
stream reform teams, groups and services, which
has made the process thus far a real team effort.”
RADM Griggs has not shied away from what
has been described as ‘as large and as complex
a reform program as ever seen’ in Australia,
seeing his team’s role as letting the organisation
take ownership of their reform initiatives, while
maintaining a neutral yet supportive role.
One thing that many people do not realise is that
there has already been a great deal of reform
“Some of the streams such as Strategic
Planning, Capability Development and Science
and Technology have largely completed the
development and implementation of their reforms.
“Others, like the smart sustainment stream
and non-equipment procurement, involve either
complex policy or process changes and will take
two to three years to be fully rolled out,” RADM
As the Defence Magazine was going to print,
Rear Admiral Ray Griggs was appointed, at
short notice, to the position of Deputy Chief
of Joint Operations, based at Bungendore. Air
Vice Marshal Ian Smith (pictured above) was
promoted on 4 May to the position of Deputy
Head Strategic Reform and Governance.
By Michael Weaver
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