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20 March 2024
Important update to Nation's accelerated capability development

Image: Vice Admiral David Johnston, AC, RAN, Vice Chief of the Defence Force addresses attendees of the 2024 Capability Symposium from the National Convention Centre, Canberra. Courtesy Defence.

Australia's Defence community received a significant update on the nation's accelerated capability development at last week's Defence Capability Symposium.

Key priorities outlined in the 2023 Defence Strategic Review, including advancements in long-range anti-ship, naval-strike, and land-based strike missiles, were shown to be progressing. Additionally, a fictional scenario illustrating the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) planned capacity to strike targets across extensive distances showcased the advancement of cyber capability.

Vice Chief of the Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnston said turning the Government’s expectations to reality more quickly is imperative. 

He said a strategy adopting minimal viable capability was needed.

“We need to abandon the pursuit of the perfect solution or process and focus on timely and relevant capability delivery, which means delivery to the operators who need it in the shortest possible time,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

A more agile capability acquisition system will be backed up by more frequent updates to Defence strategy.

A new National Defence Strategy document will be released every two years, replacing periodic Defence White Papers.

The first National Defence Strategy is set to be released in coming months, and will realign all Defence planning with government direction.

“It gives us the opportunity to determine where we’re performing well, where we may have been underperforming and what we will do to shift,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

“The Government is prepared to make hard decisions to cancel and reprioritise Defence projects and activities when they are now less relevant to the environment in which we find ourselves.”

Deputy Secretary Defence Strategic Review Implementation Tom Hamilton told the symposium that Defence was making good progress towards delivering a more focused and integrated ADF, capable of responding to increasingly challenging circumstances.

“Defence is working to simplify and streamline its capability acquisition systems. It is focusing on speed to capability and value for money, coupled with appropriate strategy and policy settings across government to reduce the complexity for industry when working with Defence,” Mr Hamilton said.


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