Australian Government: Department of Defence
Defence Capability Plan 2009 - Public Version

About this Plan

The Defence Capability Plan: Public Version 2009 (DCP) provides an account of major capital equipment proposals that are currently planned for Government consideration (either first or second pass approval) in the period 2009-2013 (the Forward Estimates period). A number of substantial programs identified in the 2009 Defence White Paper, Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030 (the White Paper) are not included in this DCP as they will be presented for Government consideration beyond the Forward Estimates period. They are expected to be included in subsequent DCPs.

Details relating to a small number of classified and sensitive proposals have been withheld. These proposals represent less than three percent of the total value of projects.

The Government is also committed to ensuring that investment in future capability is maintained at appropriate levels. To achieve this, funding for the DCP is adjusted periodically to take account of the effects of inflation and movements in foreign exchange rates. This DCP contains over $60 billion of projects which is equivalent to around $77 billion out-turned (taking account of projected inflation rates).

Potential industry partners should note that proposals can undergo substantial changes over time. While the White Paper sets out the capability goals that the DCP is to deliver, the detailed project-level plan is subject to periodic review. Changing strategic or economic circumstances, new technologies and changed priorities will influence the specific proposals contained in the Plan as well as its overall composition. It must therefore be anticipated that changes will occur in coming years. Projects may be accelerated, deferred, enlarged or diminished as circumstances change.

In order to inform industry about the changes to projects, Defence will update the internet published version of the DCP at regular intervals. The changes made will reflect Government decisions on project budgets, scope and timing. The internet version of the Public DCP is available on the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) website at under the ‘Industry Resources’, ‘Publications’ links, and on the Capability Development Group (CDG) website at

When projects enter the DCP, the broad capability outcome sought is known, but often the specific means by which it is to be achieved is less clear. The budget provision made at this point is indicative only, often based on cost estimates of examples drawn from current technology.

The overall program is developed taking into account the available funding guidance from Government, the required delivery schedules of the capability, and the capacity of Defence and the Defence Materiel Organisation to develop and deliver the projects. There is also an element of over-programming built into the DCP. Over-programming is designed to provide flexibility and to aid in ensuring that best use is made of available funding in the event of delays to the development of individual projects. Over-programming means that a number of projects may move in timing based on their relative development maturity.

The Defence Chief Finance Officer, the Chief of Capability Development Group and the Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation deem that the provisions for the individual projects in this DCP 2009 are appropriate for planning. Discounting for the over-programming mentioned above, the DCP 2009 expenditures expected over the next four years covered by this DCP are judged as affordable within Defence’s portfolio allocations.

Projects are developed and refined over time. In that process a range of options are considered and explored, new approaches may become feasible, and scope and cost estimates are modified accordingly. Details provided on proposals in the DCP should be useful for planning, but industry should consult closely with Defence for specific and updated information. Contact points for individual proposals have been provided.

Proposals consist of a number of self-contained phases. Each phase will typically be reviewed and approved separately by Government.

The Government will consider projects via a tailored application of the two-pass approval process, as has been recommended by the Defence Procurement and Sustainment Review 2008 (the Mortimer review). For simple or accelerated acquisitions the Government may allow projects to undertake source selection and a single second pass approval process. For other more complex projects with high degrees of cost, complexity, significant risk, or which make significant demands on national resources, these might undertake two passes or multiple passes where necessary.

Under the traditional two-pass system at first pass the Government reviews the capability need or gap and the broad range of options that might address the gap. It is a requirement that at first pass one or more of the options presented must be ‘off-the-shelf’ (OTS), and those options will be the benchmark against which a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of the costs, military effects and schedule aspects of all proposals will be undertaken. At first pass approval the Government provides approval for Defence to investigate more fully a smaller set of options for further development and cost refinement, generally through the conduct of a Request for Tender (RFT). It should be noted that at this point Government has not committed to proceed with the project or with any specific capability option. Often the OTS option needs minimal modification to comply with Australian safety regulations and integrate with other ADF systems.

Considerable additional development work to refine scope and cost will continue after the first pass decision, leading to a full second pass approval decision with a defined scope and allocated budget. The key outcome of this process is that projects are approved when Defence has matured (de-risked) the project sufficiently.

In multiple pass projects, various incremental decisions may be made at each pass, with the overall intention being to reduce risk and retain flexibility as more is learnt about the overall capability and project.

The DMO will generate a Project Maturity Score for each option to assist Government in comparing the maturity of options as a measure of the relative confidence associated with them at the time they are considered. The Project Maturity Score is about quantifying the maturity of a project by way of a score at defined milestones in its capability development and acquisition phases and comparing this score with an ideal or benchmark score for that milestone.

The Project Maturity Score comprises a matrix of seven attributes that are examined during the capability development phase, i.e. pre-second pass, and the acquisition phase of a project which seek to quantify a project’s maturity through a set of focusing questions. In the capability development phase these are:

  • Schedule – What confidence do we have in the schedule?
  • Cost – What confidence do we have in the project cost estimate?
  • Requirement – How well is the requirement defined and understood?
  • Technical Understanding – How well do we understand the solutions?
  • Technical Difficulty – What is the technical complexity in delivering the solution?
  • Commercial – What confidence do we have that industry can deliver the solution?
  • Operations and Support – Is the effect on the operating and support environment understood and planned?

A generic example of how maturity scores are presented for Government is illustrated in Figure 1. This example shows the Project Maturity Scores for an OTS option and a developmental option, at first pass and second pass (about 2 years apart). In this instance, the Government can choose the lower risk solution that is more likely to deliver the selected materiel system on time and within budget, or it can choose the higher risk developmental solution due to the expected capability benefits.

Contact with industry typically commences some time before first pass as proposal sponsors and managers undertake pre-approval study activity and prepare the necessary departmental documentation. More formal industry participation is sought during the period between first and second pass approval. Solicitation occurs through a Request for Proposal (RFP) and/or RFT, allowing projects to move quickly to contract post approval.

Figure 1: Notional Project Maturity Score at first and second pass approval


Early contact with industry in the capability definition stages is facilitated through the various Environmental Working Groups. The points of contact provided for each project can provide further information on the timing and nature of industry involvement.

Defence procurement is underpinned by the principle of value for money. Within this framework, Australian industry is expected to have a key role in the majority of proposals during both the acquisition and through‑life support stages of a proposal’s life cycle, in accordance with Australia’s military self-reliance objectives.

In order to better inform industry of the potential opportunities arising from DCP 2009, the information contained in each proposal has been expanded from that provided in the previous version DCP 2006. The schedule details for each project now contains the anticipated first pass dates, in order to guide industry on the possible release of RFTs and RFPs. Where possible, the description of each project has been expanded to include more detail on the anticipated outcomes or intent of each project. These changes are in line with the current Government policy of providing clear identification of industry requirements early in the capability development process.

Defence Capability Plan / 2009 / Public Version