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New Defence ICT strategy outlines $20b, 10-year investment

New Defence ICT strategy outlines $20b, 10-year investment

Defence charts course for IT transformation

Defence CIO Dr Peter Lawrence

Defence CIO Dr Peter Lawrence

The Department of Defence has released an updated ICT strategy intended to help it implement the ‘One Defence’ reform program and the priorities outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper.

The First Principles Review (FPR), released by the government in April 2015, called for a shift to the One Defence model, which would include implementing “an enterprise approach to the delivery of corporate and military enabling services to maximize their effectiveness and efficiency.”

The Defence Integrated Investment Program (DIIP) unveiled alongside the 2016 Defence White Paper earmarked additional funding to address what the government said was underinvestment in ICT over the last 10 years.

The new Defence ICT strategy document — ICT Strategic Direction 2016-2020 — is the successor to a 2009 ICT strategy. It was launched publicly today by Defence CIO Dr Peter Lawrence at the MilCIS conference in Canberra.

The document states that Defence ICT needs to prepare for and embrace a number of changes in the technology landscape including the growth of connected devices, the increased importance of ICT in supporting military operations, and increased threats to cyber security.

The Defence ICT environment encompasses around 100,000 workstations, 3000 applications, 280 processing centres and 670 networks.

Currently, Defence ICT “does not adequately support the cooperation, coordination and communications needs of its personnel,” the document states. The Defence ICT workforce “does not reflect all capabilities needed for the future,” the document states.

The current state of ICT is characterised by challenges including fragmented processes and information, separate “infrastructure islands”, aging infrastructure and applications and a lack of innovation.

In addition there is a reliance on bespoke applications, a reactive instead of preventative approach to cyber security in many areas and limited industry strategy partnering.

The 2015 First Principles Review of Defence identified a “costly and complex” application landscape within the Defence Department as a source of waste and inefficiencies.

“Duplicated systems and processes reflect entrenched resistance to implementing businesslike approaches such as shared corporate services and the empowerment of single accountable officers in areas such as information management,” the review argued.

The strategy sees Defence shifting to a more efficient, scalable ‘Single Information Environment’ architecture with standardised businesses processes and a reduced cost of ownership for ICT.

Elements of the SIE, including the consolidation of data centres, infrastructure remediation, and investment in end user computing and networking, are being delivered now. Defence has already begun what it believes is the largest ERP program implementation undertaken by the Australian government.

Delivery of the strategy will be overseen by a Defence ICT Advisory Group and a Defence ICT Leaders Group. In total, Defence plans to invest $20 billion over 10 years in ICT to implement the strategy.

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Tags department of defenceAustralian Defence Force (ADF)

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