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Defence eyes improved links with industry as key plank of capability support strategy

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New technology on display at the launch of the Next Generation Technology Fund in Adelaide

The Australian Defence Force is set to dramatically ramp up its push to find new ways of forging improved relationships with industry, describing the match-up as fundamental to the ADF’s capability.

Speaking to Defence Connect in Canberra, First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy Kate Louis said that one of the core objectives of the Defence Industry Policy Statement was to look at the importance of industry as a strategic asset.

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Louis highlighted that, going forward, her own involvement would see her focusing on "really building that capability, not so much through just project-by-project or transaction-by-transaction, but strategically planning over the long term, over the next 10 to 15 years what we need industry to do".

A key focal point of this push includes the development of what Louis classed as a seminal piece of work – the creation of a Defence Industry Capability Plan, "and embedding in that the sovereign capabilities we need to invest in in the future".

She said the plan would enable Defence to gauge what the industry capabilities currently serving the ADF look like.

"But [we’ll] also [look] at our $195 billion Integrated Investment Program, saying, 'OK, what are the capability streams in that program [and] what does our Australian industry need to look like in the next 10 to 15 years in order to support that?'" Louis said.

"It’s a huge piece of work and a real challenge, but a very exciting opportunity for us to look at," added Louis, noting that this type of initiative had never been done before.

"I guess we’re learning on this journey too but it’s got to be done in partnership with industry effectively."

Louis also emphasised the need to outline a new approach to innovation and to encourage increased and wider industry involvement.

"There are many different groups doing fantastic things in innovation, right across Defence and indeed more broadly … with the Department of Industry and their innovation activities," she said.

"What we wanted to create was a front door and that is through the business.gov.au/CDIC website, [which] is really critical to us."

Defence eyes improved links with industry as key plank of capability support strategy
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