A review of the Department of Defence’s innovation, science and technology capabilities is underway by the federal government.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price announced that the independent review is being led by former Rio Tinto Australia managing director David Peever, who also led the Defence First Principles Review in 2015.
Peever is reviewing the governance, management and finances of Defence’s innovation programs. The $800 million Defence Innovation Hub and the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund are among the major programs under review. The review is examining several key areas, including how to give Defence a ‘unique capability edge’ by:
- Strengthening links between academia and industry;
- simplifying the contract acquisition process; and
- utilising and commercialising Defence’s research and innovation.
According to the terms of reference, the review is also looking at the organisational structure, governance and funding of the Defence innovation ecosystem.
Minister Price said the review will seek to ensure that Defence becomes more commercially-driven and outcomes-focused.
The review will build upon Price’s ‘five pillars’ approach, released in 2020. The ‘five pillars’ are:
- A new and enhanced Australian Industry Capability (AIC) contractual framework;
- An independent AIC Plan Audit Program;
- Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPR) guidelines update;
- Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) Review and its implementation; and
- Australian Standard for Defence Contracting (ASDEFCON) Review
The pillars encapsulate the Minister’s approach to changing how the Federal government does business with the defence industry.
Peever is expected to deliver the final report to the Minister by the end of 2021.
All defence innovation programs, including the Next Generation Technologies Fund and Defence Innovation Hub, will continue to operate for the duration of the Review.