It is incumbent upon government to take the lead in terms of risk, enabling the Defence sector to drive innovation, according to retired Major General Jim Molan.
Asked by Defence Connect to outline his views on the way in which defence industry and the services connect and engage, Molan was adamant that industry could not be expected to take risk if government – for its part – refused to do so.
"Government must take risk, and in some areas they are at the moment," he said, noting risk taken in relation to the purchase of submarines.
"We took risk in relation to helicopters and we lost, and we're paying the price at the moment," Molan added. "If government won't take risk, then you can't ask defence industry to take risk and to innovate."
"[When] you match it up on those areas, government has got to lead," continued Molan, adding "the government is the customer, and government has got to lead in taking risk."
In addition, Molan noted that a stint as an advocate for Australian Defence Force products had taught him the value of capitalising on actual usage experience as a key selling point.
"I'd go as someone who had been in operation service, just back from Iraq and I'd say, 'This is a great product. We used it [and] the Americans used it in Iraq – why don't you buy it from us?'"
According to Molan, the main driver behind this useful dynamic centered on potential buyers being aware of the in-depth assessment of Defence gear on the part of the ADF, as well as the Australian government.
"Because so many people see our exhaustive analysis of products, as being something they don't have to do [they’ll say], 'If the Aussies are buying it, must be good. We'll buy it.'"