Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 2 2016 Contents 20 Defence Issue 2 2016
VEN the Prime Minister and
Defence Minister call them the
“two Neils”. They are Air Vice
Marshal Neil Hart and Neil Orme,
who combined a collective 60
years’ experience to help deliver the first fully
costed White Paper that takes into account
infrastructure and personnel.
The two Neils developed the 2016 Integrated
Investment Program, which was a key output
from the Force Structure Review that was
undertaken as part of the White Paper process.
“It was the first time Defence has described
in detail, in a public document, the rationale
for its plans for a future force,” Neil O says,
speaking of the Integrated Investment Program.
“And the first time Defence has consciously
put together, in a single plan, those different
elements of investment like equipment, facilities
and workforce with the Integrated Investment
“Our mantra has been to align strategy,
resources and capability.”
Traditionally, Defence had separate costings
but the Integrated Investment Program brought
all inputs together into a single plan.
This meant looking at costings beyond
simply purchasing new systems, according to
“We don’t have an Air Force without
airfields, we don’t have a Navy without wharves
and ports, and we don’t have an Army without
training ranges,” he says.
“We have a pretty potent set of equipment
and capabilities, but what we hadn’t focused on
as effectively over the past five to 10 years were
the joint enablers like infrastructure and estate.”
Neil O says they had to balance major
capabilities with everything that makes them
“The enablers are the glue that binds together
the elements of a modern defence force,” he
“We used to talk about ‘glue projects’ and
in the competition for resources those enabling
functions tended to run second.”
After the Force Structure Review was
approved by Government, the two Neils and
the team moved on to the Integrated Investment
Program using the newly increased Defence
budget, in what Neil H calls the “funding
“You can’t focus on one system this year and
another next year. We needed the appropriate
balance of investment to fund a number of areas
simultaneously at an achievable rate,” he says.
The two Neils also strived for benchmarks
to see if they were getting value, whether
there was time for people to be trained in a
new system, and how quickly industry could
“Some projects were robust and well known
but we had external costing companies come in
to make sure we had thought of everything and
had the right numbers,” Neil H says.
“With the capabilities that were new, we
really had to get those costing companies to
develop estimates and work from there.”
The Chief Finance Officer Group set up a
panel of eight private companies to conduct
about 70 cost assurance activities across the
Integrated Investment Program and the entire
With about 400 projects to take into account,
Neil O says they had to weigh up competing
priorities and not leave any capability gaps
when new equipment was introduced.
“Juggling that vast array of projects to
get the optimum mix of capabilities was the
biggest challenge,” he says. “We were making
calls on what we would allocate to a particular
capability, work out the timeframe and how
much funding should be allocated.”
Neil H joined the Air Force as a pilot more
than 30 years ago and has flown more than 3000
hours in fighters like the Mirage and F/A-18
Neil O joined the APS in the mid-1980s
as a stores clerk at the Navy Supply Centre in
Sydney before moving up the ranks to become a
First Assistant Secretary.
“I know how Government works and I’m
good with words,” Neil O says. “Neil H has
a very deep knowledge of military capability
and he’s good with numbers. That’s the ideal
combination in terms of bringing together what
is probably one of the most complex pieces of
policy advice you can have.
“Most people know who we are because
we’ve been around forever and we both have an
Neil O says they avoided military or
doctrinal terms when putting the work together.
“Any reasonably informed citizen can
read that document and have a pretty clear
understanding of what the intent is,” he says.
Both Neils were pleased they had helped
assemble Defence’s $1.2 trillion plan for the
next 20 years.
“While not everyone got everything they
wanted, you’d be hard pressed to find an area
that didn’t get some level of enhancement,
additional capability, training, or facilities in
meeting the agreed strategy,” Neil H says.
“We’ve published a 20-year view, factored in
glue projects and made sure all our existing or
planned capabilities aren’t bought and forgotten.
“They have support mechanisms and they
maintain their relevance through technology
Neil O has now moved to the Australian
Geospatial–Intelligence Organisation and
Neil H is working to implement the First
“It’s now time to move into the execution
phase of the White Paper and it’s important to
have a new team to bring a fresh perspective,”
Neil O says.
“I think bringing to bear that combination of
experienced military and civilian officers will be
the key ingredient to success.”
Neil H hopes the program will be
remembered as an integrated starting point for
developing future capabilities.
“We have a simple and understandable
capability framework,” he says. “Some things
will change and adapt, but I’m hoping our
approach is taken forward and we never buy
a ship without considering wharves, aircraft
without airfields, or other systems without
Neil Hart and Neil Orme drew on their wealth of experience in Defence to
help deliver the first fully costed White Paper
Corporal Max Bree
ARE THE GLUE THAT
THE ELEMENTS OF A
DIRECTOR AUSTRALIAN GEOSPATIAL–
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