Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2010 Contents 26 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
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Reforming for a better fight
By Jack Foster
The Strategic Reform Program message is simple for Army – work smart, train hard, fight easy.
Army has committed to executing the
changes SRP represents with rigour
and discipline, and early wins over this
last year demonstrated the potential
of Army’s commonsense, pragmatic
As Deputy Chief of Army Major General Paul
Symon points out, early reform initiatives within
Army, such as modifications to Army’s non-
technical inspection (NTI) regimes for many of
its vehicles, will reduce not only costs, but
Supported by engineering analysis from DMO,
Army has changed the frequency of periodic NTIs
for its B vehicle fleet from monthly to quarterly.
This has resulted in a significant workforce
productivity gain for Army.
For Army’s soldiers, adjustments to administrative
processes like the NTI regime mean that they will
be able to focus more effectively on the crucial
training needed to prepare for their core role –
MAJGEN Symon said that to continue with reforms
like this, Army’s leaders are aiming to leverage
soldiers’ and public servants’ knowledge and skills.
This means encouraging Army’s people to identify
waste and propose ideas for dealing with it.
He also said that work is well advanced in
developing processes and mechanisms for doing
this. He referred to comments by Chief of Army,
Lieutenant General Gillespie, who recently said,
“our workforce has never been as well educated
and clever as it is now, and the collective IQ
of the Army should now firmly be based on the
full strength of 50,000, not just on its senior
When addressing Army Headquarters’ staff
on 21 April, MAJGEN Symon pointed out how
approachability and willingness to listen to
soldiers’ ideas is already enabling exactly the sort
of behaviour that Army wants to see.
Army sees SRP as a great opportunity and
and tools to help improve efficiency by reducing
waste, streamlining processes, and addressing
the sometimes unreasonable constraints Army
imposes on itself in trying to do the right thing with
the taxpayers’ dollar.
MAJGEN Symon indicated to Army Headquarters
that they should think of Lean simply as a
framework for applying common sense and rigor to
He said Lean emphasises initiative and innovation
and is therefore highly compatible with Army’s
culture of mission command, courage, initiative
As LTGEN Gillespie foreshadowed in his Order of
the Day, some of the changes ahead in the SRP
may be uncomfortable for some and ultimately
require behavioural change.
“But one thing that will not change is the need to
do our business more effectively so that we can
focus on training for war,” LTGEN Gillespie said.
ABOVe: Private Anthony Doig was surprised by his parents Alby (left) and Chris Mannak (right) on his return to Townsville
after deployment with the second rotation of the ADF Force Support Unit in the Middle East. Anthony’s parents secretly
flew from Adelaide to be in Townsville to welcome him home. Photo: LCPL Mark (Doc) Doran
MAIN: A soldier keeps his focus while performing
drill movements during an Anzac Day dawn service
conducted by the member countries of the Five Power
Defence Arrangement (FPDA) in Penang, Malaysia, on
the eve of the commencement of Exercise Bersama
Shield. Photo: LAC Casey Smith
realisation of that opportunity as a key priority,
second only to maintaining ongoing operational
commitments. Realising the opportunity will mean
encouraging Army’s people to speak up about
waste and put forward ideas to deal with it.
This is the essence of Army’s approach to long-
term, sustainable reform through SRP and was
outlined in LTGEN Gillespie’s Order of the Day on
SRP dated 31 March.
The Chief directed Army’s members “to use the
chain of command and the Army Suggestion
Scheme to bring to my attention issues beyond
your power to influence”. The Chief will soon direct
an Army-wide back-briefing process, in the latter
part of 2010, to ensure he hears of all the local
But generating good ideas without support to the
organisation to develop and progress them will not
assist in making reform sustainable.
To provide support, Army will use Lean concepts
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