The Defence Teaming Centre’s Defence Industry Virtual Summit has shed light on an industry buoyed by growing investment in capability, policy consistency and a boost to morale following the industry’s agility in response to the pressures of COVID-19.
Throughout the turmoil inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia's defence industrial base has moved with agility, collaboration and resolve to support during a national emergency, meeting the needs of the Australian government and the public.
This proving ground has revealed an industrial base that, while often the subject of criticism, is rising to meet the challenges and opportunities associated with the Australian government's ambitious, $270 billion investment in Australia's military capability.
Designed as a means of helping Australia's vast and growing network of defence SMEs and broader industry to remain in contact, network and hear from the nation's decision-makers and policy influencers in a flexible manner without the need to travel, the Defence Virtual Industry Summit has provided further wind in the sails of Australia's defence industry.
The virtual platform allowed businesses of all shapes and sizes from across Australia, especially regional Australia, for the very first time can engage and connect with Defence and defence industry.
It hosted an impressive list of guest speakers, ranging from former chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal (Ret'd) Angus Houston AK, AC, AFC, through to political decision-makers including Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price and senator David Fawcett.
They discussed a range of topics, including why Defence places great stock and investment in Australian industry meeting and exceeding the expectations identified as defence and industry work hand-in-hand to deliver the next-generation of defence capability and a truly sovereign and competitive industry capability.
Minister Price said, "As many of you would have seen over the past couple of weeks, we have made some exciting announcements with respect to our industry capability. The Minister for Defence and I have revealed details of the CDIC review and its recommendations.
"We have also announced significant changes to AIC in Defence and the overhaul of ASDEFCON. Developing a sovereign defence industry and ensuring small business remains a key part of this is no small feat.
"Especially when you consider the substantial cultural and systemic shift we are embarking on within Defence, and the changes we have implemented over the past six months."
The industry also heard from head of Australian industry capability at CASG, Martin Halloran, who expanded on the growing importance of the Australian industry content (AIC) and also helping Australia's burgeoning SMEs to understand how best they fit within the AIC requirements and the broader potential of the AIC initiatives.
Minister Price reinforced the comments made by Halloran, explaining, "But we must also recognise the vital role Australian industry will play in delivering our ambitious and unprecedented $270 billion investment in defence capability.
"Because the opportunities that arise as a result of that investment will be significant. Backing small businesses and ensuring they are given full, fair and reasonable consideration when Defence makes decisions is essential especially if we are to build our manufacturing base and develop new skills and capabilities in the Australian defence industry."
Shifting gears, the audience heard from Major General Simon Stuart, AO, DSC, Head of Land Capability; Rear Admiral Pete Quin, Head of Navy Capability; and Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts, AM, CSC, Head of Air Capability, who detailed the impact of the government's $270 billion 2020 Force Structure Plan and 2020 Defence Strategic Update.
As part of this series, each provided an internal deep dive into the details of the plans and how they would not only fundamentally reshape the face and capability of each of their respective branches, but equally how Australian industry now, more than ever, is a critical fundamental input to the capability of Australia's defence force.
The Defence Teaming Centre (DTC) is a nationally-focused organisation connecting and supporting Australian defence industry to develop capability and increase industry’s competitiveness in defence markets.
DTC supports Australian defence industry and has a large membership including prime Defence contractors, small-to-medium enterprises, professional service providers and academic institutions that are involved in supplying and supporting Defence capability.
DTC believes that Australia needs an innovative and sustainable defence industry – aligned to Australia’s strategic requirements and able to contribute to national economic activity.
The defence industry supply chain is diverse and DTC member companies cover the full range of products and services to support defence forces. The capability provided spans high-end systems engineering and integration; advanced industrial manufacturing and precision components; design engineering and development; electronics engineering; development of new technology and products; fabrication and traditional manufacturing through to through-life support, facility construction, military base services and support for ADF personnel.
Defence industry and member capabilities also include a range of supporting professional services such as specialist IP lawyers, immigration specialists, IT and cyber security service providers, and other business support services.
DTC provides services to facilitate market entry and ongoing business with Defence. Services are tailored to meet the needs of companies, of all sizes and across all tiers of the supply chain, engaged in activities in all domains within the sector – air, land, sea, space and cyber.