Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro has used the 10th annual Ralph Slatyer Address at the National Press Club to outline her vision for Defence science over the next decade – and it’s all about focus, scale and impact.
Professor Monro has overseen the development of a bold new strategy for Defence science and technology that will harness expertise from across the nation to deliver game-changing impact and capability to the Australian Defence Force.
The ‘More, together. Defence science and technology strategy 2030’, launched recently by the Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds focuses on aligning the efforts of Australia’s science and technology enterprise to address some of the nation’s biggest problems.
Minister Reynolds said at the time of the launch that it is more important than ever to harness science and technology for a secure Australia.
“Australia’s defence and national security is facing a period of technological change and increasing threats. That is why the Australian government is committed to growing Australia’s ability to operate, sustain and upgrade our defence capabilities with the maximum degree of national sovereignty through the 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan,” she said.
At the heart of the strategy is a set of eight science, technology and research missions, known as STaR Shots. Professor Monro has described them as "challenging, inspirational and aspirational scientific endeavours that the whole nation can get behind".
"They have been devised to unlock the creativity of the nation and to shape our research and development system to set the foundation for leap-ahead sovereign capabilities," Professor Monro said.
Professor Monro added, "Today’s technological developments and the world’s hyper-connectivity are transforming the characteristics of warfare.
"The emergence of new capabilities — like hypersonic weapons, high-speed and long-range missiles, and artificial intelligence — is increasingly challenging traditional military capabilities. To prevail in a contested environment Australia needs a modern military force equipped for modern warfare."
Professor Monro asserts that by concentrating the nation’s strategic research efforts on a smaller number of bigger, specific and challenging problems, scale and intensity can increase to deliver real, game-changing impact.
The STaR strategy will generate a major transformation in the way we partner with the national S&T enterprise to achieve impact through strategic research. STaR Shots support the over-arching objective of equipping Defence to prevail in contested environments, generating competitive capability best achieved through Australian investment.
A set of eight STaR Shots have been established aligned to our strategic needs. They reflect Defence’s enduring commitment to investments in S&T. As our strategic context evolves, new STaR Shots will be established to ensure that capabilities aligned to Defence’s needs continue to be delivered.
Critically, they will have clearly defined transition pathways to take innovative ideas out of the laboratory and deliver real impact into the hands of the warfighter.
The eight STaR Shots include:
- Resilient multi-mission space;
- Information warfare;
- Quantum-assured PNT;
- Disruptive weapon effects;
- Operating in CBRN environments;
- Battle-ready platforms; and
- Remote undersea surveillance.
The 2016 Defence White Paper outlined the government’s commitment to ensuring Australia maintains a regionally superior Australian Defence Force with the highest levels of military capability and scientific and technological sophistication.
To meet the challenges of our evolving context, DST has led the development of a new science and technology (S&T) strategy for Defence, in consultation with senior leadership across Defence, industry, academia and international partners.
'More, together' marks an important step to deliver strategic advantage across the full spectrum of Defence capabilities.
Focusing our national S&T enterprise on mission-directed research will ensure Defence is best positioned to realise capability advantage in a rapidly evolving environment.
Minister Reynolds added, "Key to this is a well-connected, informed and vibrant defence science and technology enterprise."
Defence Connect's recent podcast with Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro is also available here.