The freshly unveiled Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) is set to emerge as the long-awaited main access portal for industry to connect with Defence, according to First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy Division Kate Louis.
First Assistant Secretary Louis, who is charged with developing better methods for government agencies and industry to interconnect, told Defence Connect that her role primarily centred on building on the undertakings formulated in the Defence White Paper released early this year.
“[It] sets out what we really need our Australian Defence Force to do … they have to be very agile, adaptive, powerful, forward leaning [and] engaged in the region and internationally,” said First Assistant Secretary Louis.
The concept of the CDIC – launched on 5 December by Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne – is to bring together a vast array of programs and initiatives, and offer primary industry players, SMEs and academia a more easily accessible ‘front door’ to Defence.
Part of the Defence Industry Policy Statement outlined in the federal government’s 2016 Defence White Paper, the CDIC will be funded at around $230 million to 2025-26. Its aim is to boost defence industry competitiveness, guide priorities across defence industry and connect Defence capability with a renewed focus on fostering innovation.
In addition, a new Defence Innovation Portal – resorting under the CDIC purview – will seek to provide a ‘communication bridge’ between Defence, industry and academia, enabling improved connections between SMEs and Defence.
“I started almost 20 years ago in Defence,” continued First Assistant Secretary Louis. “But [now] I’ve probably got one of the best jobs in Australia. It’s a fantastic opportunity to drive the partnership between Defence and industry.”
First Assistant Secretary Louis said the fledgling agency had all the right elements in place.
“We’ve got all the right sort of support, right from the top of the government from senior Defence leaders, and we’ve got terrific funding, resources and initiatives,” she said.