Editorials

The reinvigorated energy around getting Australia into space, culminating in the establishment of the Australian Space Agency (ASA), has been building for some time.

Sitting out the Avalon air show for the first time since I joined the ADM team (injured not dead, I’ll be ok) made me nostalgic. So I referred to my archives to see what ADM was writing about five years ago in this very column.

When I first started at ADM, my first big trade show was an Avalon Air Show. The endlessly long flightline, huge marquees in a paddock and typical Melbourne-like weather of part swamp and part heat wave depending on the time of day.

The December/January edition of ADM is a logical time to look at the year that was and the year ahead.

One of my big concerns this year has been the varying levels of effective communication between Defence and industry.

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A cunning plan

As I have written here before, the change in the policy landscape since the release of the 2016 White Paper has been nothing short of remarkable.

In the month before Land Forces kicked off, Army quietly introduced the concept of Accelerated Warfare as their next future statement, complementing the ‘Army in motion’ idea from new Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr.

Once again Budget papers provide more information about the state of the union than almost any other document released by the Department or government.

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has released the Defence Industrial Capability Plan.

Speaking at ADM’s 15th Congress last month, Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell reflected that the Australia Army has been on “sustained and ongoing operations with our joint force and interagency partners – in the Middle East, our closer region, on our borders and at home” for 19 years.

Once upon a time, there was a capability known as Electronic Warfare in the RAAF. It was the home of PowerPoint slides with lightning bolts connecting everything in new and exciting ways. Few truly understood how EW worked or what it could do.

2017 was the year that these changes were felt outside the Defence establishment.

I have managed this survey single-handedly for 22 years. Over that time it has grown in stature so I’m delighted that what started as a ‘thought bubble’ in 1995 has proved to be of long term value to Defence and defence industry alike.

Those of you who attended ADM’s Defence Estate and Base Services Summit in September may remember an extremely engaging and interesting presentation by Professor Andrew Harris.

How many times have you heard the words ‘People are our most important asset’?