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Annual Report 2014–15

Volume 1, Part 2 : Performance

Programme 1.9
Defence Science and Technology

The Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Alex Zelinsky, is the primary adviser to the Secretary and the CDF and, through their offices, to portfolio ministers and the Government on defence-related science and technology matters. He leads the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in providing scientific advice and technology support for Australia’s defence and national security.

Support for military operations is DSTO’s foremost priority. During 2014–15, DSTO deployed two operations analysts, two science and technology liaison officers and one fly-away team to the Middle East Area of Operations. Force protection systems developed by DSTO and manufactured by Australian industry were delivered to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

During 2014–15, DSTO’s research programme supported 90 per cent of Defence’s high-priority science and technology requirements. Highlights included:

  • resolving cracking on the F/A-18 centre pylon, enabling the aircraft’s deployment to the Middle East
  • developing the Redwing equipment to protect soldiers and vehicles from improvised explosive devices
  • assisting with the HMAS Bundaberg fire investigation.

DSTO undertook technical risk assessments for 25 Defence Capability Plan projects that proceeded to government for decision. The Chief Defence Scientist provided technical risk certification in Cabinet or ministerial submissions for 30 major acquisition projects.

Under its strategic research investment programme, DSTO conducts fundamental research to provide future
game-changing capability for Defence. Within this programme, projects in two new areas, autonomous systems and space systems, are being developed.

Following extensive consultation with stakeholders, DSTO developed new policy and governance arrangements to direct future research in support of national security.

DSTO’s capabilities were mobilised to support a number of national security demands. These included investigations into the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 incident, the ongoing search for flight MH370 and the Sydney siege.

In 2014–15, DSTO continued to foster interactions with industry, academia, and Australian and overseas research bodies. Highlights included:

  • the DSTO Partnerships Week, held at the South Australian site, which showcased DSTO’s research capabilities and collaborative opportunities to more than 300 attendees
  • a new strategic alliance with Airbus Group Australia Pacific, and a number of collaborative research and development projects with other alliance partners
  • the transition of several technologies (for example, Digital Video Guard) to industry for commercialisation
  • participation in the 2015 Maritime Systems and Technologies Asia conference and exhibition in Japan as part of the Defence presence to showcase Australian maritime defence technologies and engagement opportunities
  • strong engagement with Australia’s Five Eyes partners through the Technical Cooperation Program and bilateral links, as well as fostering defence science and technology relationships in Asia, particularly with Singapore and Japan.
Table 3.24: Programme 1.9 deliverables

Deliverable

Status

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Key

Met

• • •

Substantially met

• •

Partially met

• •

Not met

• • •

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Provide timely, accurate and expert science and technology (S&T) advice on Defence and national security related matters to the Secretary, CDF and government.

Status Met • • •

Provide effective, relevant and timely:

  • S&T solutions and technical support to Defence operations, to the current force and to national security agencies’ operations and capabilities
  • S&T support to capability development and acquisition decision-making, including technical risk assessment and certification for Defence Capability Plan projects.

Status Substantially Met • •

Deliverables in support of operations were rated met, while current force and national security deliverables were substantially met, with Defence clients agreeing to defer or cancel some medium- and lower-priority tasks.

Deliver a programme of strategic research aimed at enhancing future Defence and national security capabilities and maintaining the organisation’s world-class research expertise and facilities.

Status Met • • •

Further develop strategic partnerships with external organisations, in particular international partners, local industry and academia; promote defence science and related education in the broader Australian community.

Status Met • • •

Contribute to Defence reform outcomes by continuing to seek and implement improvements to DSTO leadership, business and culture, including fostering diversity and gender equality.

Status Met • • •

Table 3.25: Programme 1.9 key performance indicators

Key performance indicator

Status

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Key

Met

• • •

Substantially met

• •

Partially met

• •

Not met

• • •

Click to view the full user guide

Advice to Defence and the Government on science and technology (S&T) matters is valued through its contribution to improved Defence and national security outcomes.

Status Met • • •

The applied research programme is strategically balanced and aligned with the needs of Defence in support of operations, the current force, capability development and acquisition, and the needs of national security agencies.

Status Met • • •

Research programme outputs enable enhanced Defence and national security capability, treat risks and save resources.

Status Met • • •

Strategic research is focused on supporting future Defence capability; it enables game-changing capability in the longer term, to both prevent and create strategic surprise.

Status Met • • •

Programme outcomes are delivered on time, in scope and within agreed resources.

Status Substantially Met • •

Budget management and rebalancing within the department led to Defence clients agreeing to some medium- and lower-priority tasks being cancelled or deferred.

DSTO’s S&T capability is contributed to by:

  • a workforce with world-class expertise and facilities, measured through benchmarking and client feedback
  • appropriately leveraged S&T engagement and partnerships with research organisations, industry and academia, including international government agencies.

Status Met • • •