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David Peever to review Defence Innovation

One of the successes of Defence’s innovation system has been Boeing’s Loyal Wingman project – but are Defence’s innovation and acquisition processes equal to the challenges of sustained, high-technology innovation for the ADF? Photo: Boeing Defence Australia

The Australian Government has appointed Naval Group Australia chair and former Rio Tinto CEO David Peever to undertake a comprehensive, independent review of Defence innovation, science and technology.  David Peever also led Defence’s First Principles Review in 2015.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the review, to be completed by the end of this year, will help ensure the ADF has access to the most cutting-edge capability in the world. It will examine the Defence organisation in its entirety to establish how it can more effectively deliver home-grown, innovative capabilities for the ADF.

The review will also seek to:

  • Strengthen and improve the links between academia and industry to solve Defence’s unique capability challenges
  • Simplify contracts to support more rapid acquisitions and transitions from concept to capability
  • Establish how Defence-funded research and innovation can be more effectively commercialised to give Defence a unique capability edge

Minister Price said the wide-ranging review would seek to ensure the Defence organisation was more commercially driven and outcomes focused.

“We must ensure that we are taking full advantage of Australian innovations to maintain Defence’s capability edge while ensuring innovative businesses are given every chance of commercial success,” she said.

“We need a Defence organisation that can capitalise on the knowledge and skills of Australian industry and academia to develop mission-focused technology that can solve Defence’s unique capability challenges.

“Now, more than ever, we are looking to drive fit-for-purpose innovation where Australian industry and academia are partners in this critical mission.”

The review continues Minister Price’s push for substantial change to grow Australia’s defence industry. Defence has published the Terms of Reference for the review

  1. Governance, management (the administration) and funding of all Defence-funded innovation programs across the Defence organisation. Particular focus should be given to the Next Generation Technologies Fund and the Defence Innovation Hub.
  2. Defence organisational structure, governance and funding of the Defence innovation ecosystem.
  3. How the Defence innovation system be adapted to create a greater link between academia and industry to solve Defence’s unique capability challenges.
  4. How to more effectively commercialise Defence-funded research and innovation and stimulate Australian innovation for the development of mission focused technology solutions that could give Defence a unique capability edge.
  5. Development of a simplified suite of contractual arrangements to support rapid acquisition and transition from concept-to-capability.
  6. Refinement, consolidation and streamlining of the research, innovation and technology development priorities and topics with the aim to strengthen participation of Service Capability Managers to direct ‘mission-set’ specific innovation.
  7. Transition between Defence and other department’s innovation and manufacturing programs to support the continued development and commercialization of technology that does not meet a direct Defence requirement.

Defence innovation programs, including the Next Generation Technology Fund and Defence Innovation Hub, will continue to operate as usual for duration of the review.

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