Katherine Ziesing | Avalon
In essence, the Plan Jericho vision is to develop a future force that is agile and adaptive, fully immersed in the information age and truly joint; the RAAF of the future is dependant on complex platforms operating in a multi-faceted joint and networked battlespace.
To support this vision, Plan Jericho is broken down into 16 streams of work (see box for more on the streams and their achievements) that are being pursued under the three guiding principles of:
Each work stream has its own goals, budget and management and is headed by a RAAF one star.
Affectionately known as one of the Jericho twins, Group Captain Jake Campbell (now Air Commodore on his next posting at the time of publication), confirmed that the work streams are part of a living document that underpins Plan Jericho, as new streams can be added as needed while others are removed once complete.
“This is the top down part of the approach,” GPCAPT Campbell said. “But we’ve encouraged all parts of Air Force to look at what they do and how they do it as Jericho can provide a way to evolve and make changes.”
And Air Force has indeed been responsive to the call out. Group Captain Pete Mitchell, the other Jericho director, told ADM that over 40 of the programs that Jericho has underway have come out of this approach.
“These activities are separate to the Jericho Dawn activities, which are more formal demonstrations of achievements within Jericho or demonstration of Jericho-centric concepts,” GPCAPT Mitchell said.
There have been a number of Jericho Dawn activities, with two recent events demonstrating ISR integration and more recently using Microsoft's Hololens augmented reality product to explore options to enhance command and control concepts or advanced operational planning.
The Jericho program of work saw RAAF spend $15.497 million 15/16 FY.
Despite the buzzword nature of innovation in Defence and the wider government environment, the Plan Jericho team is walking the talk. Partnering with University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Design Innovation Research Centre (DIRC) and industry, many Jericho programs are working differently within existing structures. A key development has been the application of Design Led Innovation (DLI) to appropriate programs.
Design Led Innovation is one of DIRC’s methodologies that builds capability through tried and tested, design-oriented practices applied to real world problems. The methodology has previously been applied and refined across multiple sectors including food and agribusiness, automotive, advanced manufacturing and renewable energy.
In June 2016, nominated personnel from DIRC, Plan Jericho and major industry primes, medium and small enterprises attended a four-day scrum (workshop) with approximately 70 per cent of participants travelling internationally or interstate to visit UTS. The aim was to delve into a specific, urgent and challenging Air Force problem, and move it fast from ideation to implementation.
The goal was to challenge assumptions and reframe requirements relating to ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast); a capability that will upgrade the Hawk 127 Lead-in Fighter training aircraft to meet CASA safety and technical regulation requirements. This program was already late, with parts of the RAAF admitting that they had dropped the ball to meet the new civil regulation.
Usually, Air Force would develop its requirements in isolation, and then release these to industry for their response. Industry would approach this problem by launching into ‘solution mode’ and preparing a pitch for tender, arguably without a deep understanding of the problem or the end-user context. Indeed, when industry was informally approached about the issue, the costs involved were prohibitive at first glance under regular frameworks.
In this scrum, participants were provided with the opportunity to meet with all the stakeholders, including the end user (pilot), the platform chief engineer and CASA.
“Part of the problems we’ve had in the past is that we’ve made assumptions – asked the wrong questions, and got the wrong answers,” GPCAPT Campbell said.
Over the four days, participants were divided into mixed groups that united various areas of industry with Defence personnel to collaborate through a series of DIRC facilitated DLI tools that encouraged participants to explore unchartered territory by trying to understand the problem from multiple stakeholder perspectives.
“Industry understands the issue as much as we do and the DLI approach gives us a valuable forum to explore the art of the possible,” explained Wing Commander Jerome Reid, who is leading the Jericho acquisition and industry engagement efforts.
Industry could see the potential opportunities and were prepared to engage, although there were some initial hesitations and reservations about the process and the ability to change the acquisition paradigm. Old habits are hard to break. Most industry participants had a technical or engineering background and entered with preconceived notions of the scrum process being technically driven.
Air Force moved fast, and within three days of the scrum being concluded, a Request for Tender was posted on AusTender. Industry was asked to submit their proposed solutions utilising this new DLI perspective.
The next step was to down select and invite the most suitable candidates to take up the opportunity to undertake co-funded prototyping. This approach to capability acquisition has had profound benefits to both industry and Defence. The program has now been formally approved, and the RAAF and BAE Systems are now forging ahead with four down selected companies, sub-contracted to BAE Systems for the prototype phase. Details of the four companies had not been announced at the time of publication.
“We took the program to this point in three months,” WGCDR Reid said, also noting that the program would have taken the better part of two years under existing arrangements.
The DLI approach is a fast paced framework that is not suitable for all programs but applied correctly can have huge benefits for all parties.
“The sprint methodology seen with ADS-B is based on a large body of research that we’ve been conducting,” WGCDR Reid told ADM. “That research included talking to industry, looking at best practice, and engaging with academia. Thanks to this work, we realised that there are two types of innovation that Air Force undertook. One was sustained innovation or incremental change; we were very good at that as it increased reliability.
“Then there is disruptive innovation, which we’re not so good at. It involves a whole bunch of risk and it involves validity rather than reliability. Our future development is a disruptive spiral thanks to dealing with transient advantage in a complex operational environment.”
The Jericho team is looking at which IIP programs are suitable for a sprint methodology, which will be included under the CASG Smart Buyer process.
“Going through the Smart Buyer process, it will become apparent as to whether or not the sprint approach is appropriate for any given program as an acquisition strategy,” GPCAPT Mitchell said, acknowledging the different risks and players of any given program.
“Whenever you are after a disruptive technology and the need is urgent, that is where the sprint methodology comes into its own,” WGCDR Reid concluded.
Industry has been enthusiastic about the Plan Jericho partnering approach thus far. Companies working on Jericho related programs include:
PLAN JERICHO STREAM ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE
Project 1. Enhance Air-Land Integration
Project 2. Enhance Air Force’s Maritime Operations Capability
Project 3. Establish an Air Warfare Centre
Project 4. Enhance Air Force’s Command, Control, Computer and Communications Capability
Project 5. Optimise Air Force Contribution and Access to the Common Operating Picture
Project 6. Grow the Air Force Capacity to Support the Joint Cyber Capability
Project 7. Develop an Integrated Fire Control Capability
Project 8. Enhance Air Force’s Air Base Warfighting Capability
Project 9. Implement an Air Force Collective Training Plan
Project 10. Enhance Air Force’s Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) and Ranges Capability
Project 11. Integrate Logistics into the Battlespace
Project 12. Develop Capacity to Manage Air Force Security
Project 13. Develop Air Force’s Strategy-Driven Operating Model
Project 14. Establish an Air Force Integrated Capability-Management Process
Project 15. Implement the Workforce Management Strategy
Project 16. Modernise Air Force’s Education and Training System
This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of ADM.