Army’s recently announced focus on “accelerated warfare” presents a significant opportunity for technologically innovative businesses, according to Major General Kathryn Toohey, Head Land Capability.
Speaking prior to Land Forces 2018, Major General Toohey said “accelerated
warfare is underpinned by rapidly changing technology.”
“Army is thinking deeply about how we can ensure we are leveraging leading edge technology – and on occasion bleeding edge technology – to give us a
In his pivotal Futures Statement released in August, Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr, described Accelerated Warfare as both the operating environment and a description of “how we respond”.
“Accelerated Warfare provides the start-state for how we think, equip, train, educate, organise and prepare for war,” he said. “This is a critical step in
becoming future ready.”
Major General Toohey said Army seeks to develop functionally based requirements “to allow industry to offer their best technology.”
“A number of our programs now support spiral development,” she said. “We have a battle rhythm of regular engagement with government rather than the waterfall, big acquisition approach that our platform projects have taken in the past, and will necessarily need to take in the future.”
The technology refresh planned for systems on the Land 400 vehicles is a good example of ensuring Army capability remains relevant.
“The Land 400 vehicle, the hull, will be in service for decades but the systems on board the vehicle, will be refreshed more regularly. That tech refresh will be managed through the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) as the sustainer of the vehicles.”
Getting noticed by Army
Major General Toohey said Army will have a strong presence at Land Forces, adding with a laugh: “We’re always on the hunt for great capability.”
She also cited a range of other pathways that businesses could access to ‘engage’ with Army, including: The Defence Innovation Hub; Army’s annual Innovation Day in Canberra; Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC); the Defence Innovation Portal and the Land Environmental Working Group (see separate story on page 11).
“Army has an excellent relationship with industry, noting that our formal commercial relationship with industry is managed by CASG,” she said
“That relationship is obviously with the Primes but is also with SMEs and I believe that Army is the Service that touches the most SMEs across Australia.
“Army looks to engage with industry as early in the capability lifecycle as we can. That engagement is to ensure that Army separates science from science fiction and to ensure that we have a good understanding of our needs and requirements before CASG initiates the formal market solicitation process.
“Army understands that we need to work really closely with industry to deliver the best capabilities to our soldiers.
“I would say that a strong relationship is always two way. Both Army and industry need to ensure our engagement remains meaningful, honest and open. We continually look at ways to improve this.”
Profit and patriotism
Defence Business magazine asked Major General Toohey if SMEs needed a shift in mindset, from seeing defence as an area of potentially lucrative revenue, to being a ‘partner’ in delivering capability in the national interest? How do we work together to build that trust and collaboration at the working level?
“Small business needs to do both,” she said. “To be successful they need to make a profit. My experience is that they can make a profit but at the same time also effectively partner with us to deliver capability. The successful companies are just as invested in delivering world class capability to Army soldiers as we in uniform are.
“They see it as not just an investment in their company; it’s an investment in their nation.
“When I speak to people from defence industry, they often talk about how strongly they relate to the important role they fulfil in delivering and sustaining
“And a lot of people in industry are ex-uniformed members. I relate to the saying ‘you can take the person out of the uniform but you can’t take the uniform out of the person’. They go on to find other ways to continue their service, such as working in defence industry.”
The biennial Land Forces industry exposition is described as “a comprehensive showcase of products, services and technologies for the armies of Australia, Asia and the Indo-Pacific region and provides a direct conduit between major industry suppliers and key government and military decision-makers.”
Over 500 exhibitor companies from 23 countries participated in the Land Forces Exhibition 2016. The 2016 Chief of Army Seminar attracted a total of 34 international military, industry and scientific delegations from 18 nations, including 16 Chiefs of Army or senior military commanders.
Major General Kathryn Toohey joined the Australian Army in 1987. A former Director-General Integrated Capability Development (CDG), she was appointed the Head of Army’s Land Capability division in 2017. In the same year, she was conferred with the Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to the Australian Defence Force in the fields of capability development and education.
She outlined (below) a range of pathways that firms can use to ‘do business’ with Army.
The Defence Innovation Hub facilitates innovation activities from initial concept, through prototyping and integrated testing.
“We are big users of the Innovation Hub. Land Combat, Amphibious Warfare and Special Operations is actually one of the Innovation Hub’s three priority streams.”
Army’s annual Innovation Day in Canberra has been highly successful and is now in its fifth year.
“The process is that we invite industry to put their proposals forward. We then select companies to demonstrate their equipment or capability at Innovation Day.
“In the morning, companies set up in a trade show type format and we talk to each company about their capability. In the afternoon we run the Army equivalent of a Shark Tank, where we get each company to pitch their idea or proposal.
“We then identify those ideas that are worth investing in and that have the ability to operationalise. The whole intent of the day is to get capability in the hands of soldiers within 12 months.
“We are currently working with a few companies today that came out of Army innovation Day 2017.”
The next Innovation Day is in Canberra on 25 October 2018. Proposals are submitted via the Special Notices platform and closed on 22 August 2018.
Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC)
Designed to help transform the Defence and industry relationship, facilitate innovation and exports, and fund defence industry development, critical defence business maturity and skilling. It has advisors in all States and Territories.
“CDIC has a national network of business advisors, specialists who link industry with defence. Those business advisors also provide advice, support, information and guidance in terms of how to best engage as part of the defence market.”
Defence Innovation Portal
The Defence Innovation Portal connects industry and research organisations with Defence innovation investment opportunities. It is open all year.
“The Defence Innovation Portal provides an opportunity for industry to put forward their innovative ideas for assessment by the department.”
Land Environmental Working Group
The annual meeting of the Working Group is being held in Adelaide on September 3 this year.
“It’s really an opportunity for Army to talk to a broad group of industry people about what we are doing and seeking to deliver from a land capability perspective.”
Registrations are now closed.
The following are excerpts from the Futures Statement released by Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr (pictured left).
“As an Army in Motion, our profession demands a continuous contest of ideas. This requires wide engagement across Defence, whole of government, industry, academia and our international military partners as well as with new and emerging partners. Our aim is to strengthen our joint warfighting philosophy to meet the challenges of the future while also being strategy and concept-led.”
“I require all of Army, at every level, to discuss and debate the themes framed through the notion of future conflict, or what Army is now describing as Accelerated Warfare.”
“We must leverage emerging technology as a potential source of advantage, integrating new technologies within the joint force. Partnerships through teaming with our international military partners, industry and academia will be of paramount importance to unlock potential and strengthen relationships for mutual benefit.”
More information on how to contribute will be released during the Chief of Army’s Land Forces Seminar on September 4, 2018.
Australian Army Soldiers from 7th Brigade run to a position during live artillery practice.
Head of Land Capability, Major General Kathryn Toohey talks to Mr Brian Gathright, BAE Systems Australia.
Australian Army soldier Corporal Max Bree tests out the Zero Latency technology as part of a previous Army Innovation Day.
A DefendTex representative talks to Head of Land Capability Major General Kathryn Toohey at the Army Innovation Day 2017.
Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr.