[LINK] Defence needs a plan for the Internet age

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Sun May 3 13:36:08 AEST 2009

The Australian Government released a detailed white paper on 2 May, 
proposing to buy 12 large long range submarines and 100 stealth 
aircraft <http://www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper/>. There is mention of 
cyber warfare, but little other recognition of the role which ICT 
will play in defence in the next 20 years.

Even if Australian can afford all the proposed hardware, it is 
unlikely it could find, train and pay the personnel needed to operate 
the equipment. It is likely that long before 2030, uninhabited 
(unmanned) submarines, aircraft and vehicles will be commonly used. 
Planning for this needs to start now. Otherwise Australian defence 
personnel will be risking their lives in expensive, vulnerable and 
outdated aircraft, ships and submarines.

The white paper is deficient in not mentioning "Internet" or "web" at 
all. The section on cyber warfare envisages military personnel and 
scientists operating a "Cyber Security Operations Centre". But 
without civilian support from organisations such as AusCert, the ADF 
will be vulnerable to cyber attack, as they will not be able to 
maintain the needed expertise in-house.

The Australian Government envisages saving $20B a year to pay for the 
new equipment. One way to do that is with better use of ICT in 
Defence. Based on some experience in ICT at defence (including in the 
military HQ), I suggest that will require a cultural change in the 
way the Defence Department implements and uses ICT. Buying hi-tech 
systems and then trying to adapt them to low tech management 
practices does not work.

Excerpts from the white paper and more comments in my blog at: 

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University  

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