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MINDEF announces launch of Defence Transformation Strategy

Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence delivers the Keynote address at the Politics and Policy Western Australia Business News breakfast event in Perth (Source: Dept of Defence)

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds has announced the launch of the ‘Lead the Way: Defence Transformation Strategy’, a new framework to evolve Defence’s strategic purpose, performance and accountability, building on the Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan announced earlier in the year.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds has announced the launch of the ‘Lead the Way: Defence Transformation Strategy’, a new framework to evolve Defence’s strategic purpose, performance and accountability, building on the Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan announced earlier in the year.

Lead the Way: Defence Transformation Strategy will build Defence’s capacity to identify and seize opportunities to transform the Defence enterprise, and improve how quickly and effectively Defence delivers against its strategic objectives, this strategy outlines a number of initiatives that are designed to build a continuous improvement culture, institute an enduring transformation system and focus the Defence enterprise on priority focus areas for reform.

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The strategy outlines a number of initiatives that are designed to build a continuous improvement culture, institute an enduring transformation system and focus the Defence enterprise on priority focus areas for reform.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds explained that the Defence Transformation Strategy will fundamentally change the way the Department works to evolve and adapt as One Defence, particularly as Australia faces an increasingly contested, challenging Indo-Pacific. 

Minister Reynolds explained to reporters at the launch of the strategy: "The fact for us all today is this, is that changing circumstances are a reality for all Australians, and not just for Defence. We are all having to recalibrate our thinking, our systems, our institutions, and indeed our very lives. History has shown over and over again humanity’s capacity to adapt and to evolve. A fast moving world means more demands are being placed on this capacity. Making it even more challenging to do all the things that we must as a society and also as a Defence.

"This year our nation’s attention has rightly been focused on the challenges of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our strategic circumstances were changing and deteriorating well before then. You’re all very well aware of what’s happening in our region, the Indo-Pacific: Countries are modernising their militaries and accelerating their preparedness for conflict.

"New weapons and new technologies are transforming the characteristics of warfare. Some nations are increasingly employing coercive tactics in the grey-zone, which [are] directly impacting on our sovereignty. Great power competition is causing the most consequential strategic realignment since the end of World War Two."

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Those areas of focus are:

  • Driving improved build and delivery of vital military capability;
  • Strengthening Defence’s approach to Australian industry capability, including innovation, export and harnessing opportunities from Australian science and technology;
  • Adopting a strategic approach to enhancing Defence enterprise resilience and supply chain assurance; 
  • Improving Defence’s strategic workforce planning, learning and management; 
  • Improving performance measurement and reporting framework; and
  • Improving our engagement and communications.

"Defence must continue to improve its ability to deliver on its current commitments while retaining the organisational capacity to anticipate and respond effectively to strategic challenges. On becoming Minister, I set Defence leaders three key priorities – strategy, capability and reform," Minister Reynolds said. 

The Defence Transformation Strategy builds on the strong foundations of the 2015 First Principles Review, and refocuses Defence’s enterprise efforts from creating One Defence, to ensuring it is now fundamentally embedded as a guiding concept throughout the entire enterprise.

Minister Reynolds added, "These priorities are the pillars that support, guide and ensure agility and adaptability in Defence culture and thinking, strategic performance, and organisational structure. In July, the Prime Minister and I announced the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, which addresses strategy, by outlining this government’s response to the challenges Australia faces while setting out adjustments to Defence planning."

Additionally, the launch of the Defence Transformation Strategy enhances the frameworks, force structure priorities and capability focus identified in the Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan respectively and aims to fulfil the reform agenda identified by Minister Reynolds as Defence and government respond to the myriad traditional and asymmetric challenges facing Australia in the region. 

Minister Reynolds explained, "Reform – the third priority, keeps Defence organisationally fit to implement its strategic and capability priorities. Lead the Way: Defence Transformation Strategy acknowledges that large-scale transformation requires cultural change and that our Defence people will be the source of, and reason for, our success.

"This strategy, which was foreshadowed back in July in the Defence Strategic Update, will ensure Defence is able to adapt to meet the challenges arising from our changing strategic environment into the future."

MINDEF announces launch of Defence Transformation Strategy
MINDEF-Linda-Reynolds.jpg
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