The government has announced it will embark on a 'comprehensive review of Defence innovation, science and technology'.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price announced former Rio Tinto Australia managing director David Peever would lead the independent review.
It will examine the Defence organisation in its entirety to establish how it can more effectively deliver 'home-grown, innovative capabilities' for the ADF, including a review of the organisational structure, governance and funding of the Defence innovation ecosystem.
It will also seek to strengthen and improve the links between academia and industry to solve Defence’s unique capability challenges; simplify contracts to support more rapid acquisitions and transitions from concept to capability; and establish how Defence-funded research and innovation can be more effectively commercialised.
The terms of reference for the review also announced a 'transition between Defence and other department’s innovation and manufacturing programs to support the continued development and commercialization of technology that does not meet a direct Defence requirement.'
Minister Price said the wide-ranging review would seek to ensure the Defence organisation was more commercially driven and outcomes focused to give the ADF access to 'world-leading' technologies and capabilities.
“We must ensure that we are taking full advantage of Australian innovations to maintain Defence’s capability edge while ensuring innovative businesses are given every chance of commercial success,” Minister Price said. “We need a Defence organisation that can capitalise on the knowledge and skills of Australian industry and academia to develop mission-focused technology that can solve Defence’s unique capability challenges.
“Now, more than ever, we are looking to drive fit-for-purpose innovation where Australian industry and academia are partners in this critical mission.
“The innovation is being jointly developed with taxpayers’ funds and Australians need to know we are investing their money wisely.”
The review continues Minister Price’s push to grow Australia’s defence industry following the release of the 'Five Pillars' approach in 2020.
Peever, who also led the Defence First Principles Review in 2015, will provide a final report to Minister Price by the end of the year.
Defence innovation programs, including the Next Generation Technology Fund and Defence Innovation Hub, will continue to operate as usual for duration of the review.