Defence and Industry Study Course

Applications for the Defence and Industry Study Course 2018 are now closed

The Defence and Industry Study Course (DISC) and its predecessor, the Industrial Mobilisation Course, have been run annually by Defence since 1954.

The DISC has been designed to help participants develop a better understanding of both Defence and industry in order to improve Australia's defence industry capabilities. The course delivers Defence and industry executives an intimate understanding of Defence business while improving the collective knowledge of Australia’s defence industry.

Not only does the course offer the opportunity to share ideas, collaborate and realise best practice, it also forms the keystone to forging better business contacts.    

About the DISC


The DISC was born from a desire to strengthen the relationship between the military, the Australian Public Service (APS) and industries that support the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The course has evolved significantly over the last 50 years, in line with the ever-changing face of Defence and the requirements of our armed forces. However the spirit of the course remains.

Overall aims of the course include:

  • Building relationships between Defence and industry.
  • Improving the collective knowledge of the sector.
  • Facilitating closer business links.
  • Educating industry on Defence policies, processes and systems.
  • Improving the overall capabilities of stakeholders who service the ADF.


The course will equip industry executives with the knowledge to better engage with Defence, offer insights to doing business with Defence, while facilitating business introductions and forging relationships with other defence sector participants.

Key objectives of the course include:

  • Developing ongoing networks between Defence and industry peers.
  • Providing access to key ADF personnel in the acquisition and sustainment decision-making process.
  • Offering access and interaction with Defence stakeholders to reveal how military hardware functions in the operating environment plus the opportunities for businesses to participate in the procurement process.
  • Developing a multifaceted understanding of how Defence operates.
  • For members of Defence, Government and the ADF to develop a greater appreciation of how industry operates, its workflow planning processes and the impact Defence decisions and processes have on industry.
  • To offer access to Defence and industry sites, allowing participants to view defence equipment and engage with ADF personnel that have operational experience with specific equipment.

Cost and commitment


The cost is $8500 plus GST, and is tax deductable. The course fee covers course delivery, accommodation, meals and flights from participant’s local airport.

Following successful completion of the course, you will also receive a 2 year membership of the Defence Industry Courses Alumni.


The course runs for approximately 24 days, and comprises 4 one-week modules spread over a 7 month period. Participants must commit to attending all modules in order to graduate from the DISC.  

Further to the structured program, syndicate work will be required during, and outside of course dates. Participants will be divided into working groups in order to develop a presentation on a topic which they will then present to senior Defence and industry executives at the conclusion of the course. At each module, applicants should be aware that there will be course deliverables in the form of a written submissions and/or presentations.

Syndicate work

As part of your participation on the DISC, you will be required to participate in syndicate work to address a number of key priority issues that relate to Defence capability. You will have the opportunity to interview and seek views on your subject from a number of senior leaders from within the Defence organisation and industry. You will then team with your syndicate members to provide deliverables as part of your time on the course. While the program allows for some time to undertake the work required, you may need to allocate some personal time to deliver the assignments.

As example, the 2017 syndicate essays were:

Syndicate 1: Do ‘Rolling Wave’ and ‘Continuous Build’ programs in Sustainment and Acquisition, respectively, offer the government and the taxpayer Value for Money? If so, how, and if not, what needs to change to make these programs more cost-effective?  Are these contract types beneficial to industry?

Syndicate 2: Should industry view and treat Defence as 'one client', rather than as separate Groups/Services/Functions? If so, how can this be accomplished?  Does industry see advantages or disadvantages in treating Defence as 'one client'? 

Syndicate 3: What needs to change in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and Capability Development Life Cycle to ensure the Next Generation Technology Fund and Defence Innovation Hub programs with merit progress into acquisition and sustainment funding streams?

Syndicate 4: How relevant are Industry Associations and Networks to companies and Defence in the sector? If they are, why and how; if not, what needs to change?

Syndicate 5: There are a plethora of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focussed programs available and promoted both locally and internationally and sponsored at all levels of government and by the private sector. Are these programs having a positive effect for the industry(s) which needs these skills? Is the overall return on investment positive or negative? What demographic(s) should STEM programs be targeting? What are the essential elements that a STEM program needs to be effective?

Syndicate 6: The Commonwealth government has introduced ‘Consideration of broader economic benefits in procurement’ to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) for procurements above $4 million for non-construction and above $7.5 million for construction.  Given the requirements and parameters of this additional evaluation criterion, how can Australian industry best utilise this change, and how does this change benefit Defence?

Syndicate 7: How can Defence and industry work within the complex statutory and regulatory framework, as evidenced by WHSE? 

Syndicate 8: Should industry view and treat Defence as 'one client', rather than as separate Groups/Services/Functions? If so, how can this be accomplished? Does industry see advantages or disadvantages in treating Defence as 'one client'?         

Course dates

Module 1: 12-18 May in Tasmania, Melbourne, and regional Victoria (Land) 
Module 2: 22-27 July in Brisbane and Darwin (Air) 
Module 3: 16-21 September in Adelaide and Sydney (Sea) 
Module 4: 25-30 November in Canberra (Strategic overview)

Who should apply to join the DISC?

The DISC is an asset for all executives seeking to expand their knowledge of Defence and industry as well as those aiming for senior management roles.

DISC is geared to enhance the skills of current leaders, project managers and senior executives working within businesses that supply the ADF. Other course participants include ADF members and APS employees of Defence and aligned Government organisations.

As a participant of the DISC you will join other like-minded executives that have the drive to improve their knowledge of Defence business. Nomination for the course is open to Australian citizens* that are either:

  1. A manager, project manager or key member working in a position in a company engaged, or planning to be engaged, in business with the Department of Defence.
  2. A member of the ADF (MAJ-COL(E)) or a defence employee (Executive Level 1–SES 1).
  3. An employee of other Australian Government and State and Territory agencies, at executive level.

*Foreign defence officials wishing to apply should contact the program manager prior to submitting an application.  

Prior to lodgement of your application to attend the course, your employer must endorse your nomination. Your nomination will then be considered by a selection panel. 

How to apply

Applications for the DISC 2018 are now closed.

Applications and further enquiries can be made to the DISC team at