Defence & Industry Study Course

Applications are now open until 5pm Friday 26 February 2021



The current Defence & Industry Study Course (DISC) evolved from the Industrial Mobilisation Course which commenced in 1954 as an outcome from post-war reviews identifying the deep divides and lack of knowledge between the public and private sectors involved in national security. The primary aim has been, and remains, to promote a better understanding and engagement of both Defence and industry in order to improve Australia's Defence industry capability and thus national security.

The course delivers Australian Defence Force (ADF), Defence, other Federal and State agencies, and industry executives with an enhanced understanding of Defence business whilst also improving the collective knowledge of Australia's defence industry.

Defence recognises industry as a fundamental input to capability and as such industry will play a significant role in developing, delivering and sustaining the capability outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper. Defence must also evolve as a 'Smart Buyer'. DISC brings together and exposes participants to key aspects of the environment in which Defence and industry will need to navigate, collaborate and partner in order to successfully deliver and sustain equipment for our forces.

DISC is an annual course delivered in four one week Modules over approximately seven months. Each DISC is comprised of a balanced mix of ADF officers from all three services together with Australian Public Service employees from various Defence groups and agencies, and industry participants who are selected to represent the different sectors, states/territories and scale of company (SMEs/Primes).

The course provides a professional environment for forging lasting networks with cohort members together with extensive networking opportunities with key decision makers from within Defence, Government and industry. Participants will also work in syndicates to undertake a research activity and develop deliverables centred on current issues.

DISC Objectives:

  • To enhance the relationship between Defence and Industry by promoting a shared understanding of capabilities and processes.
  • For Industry: to develop an informed understanding of the Defence structure, how the Groups/Services interact, and how Defence operates.
  • For Defence/Public Sector: develop an informed appreciation of how companies - at different levels in the sector - operate, interact, and plan; including the different drivers and business motivations.
  • To develop on-going networks between Defence and Industry peers to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of interactions.
  • To expose all participants to the functions and use of military equipment in the operating environment.
  • To provide access to Defence and Industry sites and senior personnel to facilitate knowledge transfer and engagement, particularly on lessons learnt.

Who should apply to join the DISC?

  • 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.
  • A member of the ADF (MAJ-COL (E)) or a defence employee (Executive Level 1 - SES 1).
  • An employee of other Australian Government and State and Territory agencies, at executive level.

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.

As a participant of the DISC you will join other like-minded executives that have the drive to improve their knowledge of Defence business.

Prior to lodging your application to attend the course, you must get endorsement from your employer and acknowledge this in the application form.

Your nomination will then be considered by a selection panel.

Course dates for 2021

Module 1:  15 - 21 May, commencing in Canberra

Module 2:  25 - 30 July 

Module 3:  05 - 10 September

Module 4:  28 November - 03 December, concluding in Canberra (Strategic theme)

Themes for Modules 1 – 3 will include Land, Aerospace and Maritime elements. 


The cost for 2021 is $9000 plus GST, and is tax deductable. The course fee covers all costs associated with delivery of each module from the time the participant arrives at their departure airport until return, including all accommodation, all meals, access to venues, and all transport.

In addition, the course fee covers your first two years of membership of the Defence Industry Courses Alumni.


The course runs for approximately 28 days, and comprises four modules spread over a seven month period. Participants must commit to attending all modules in order to graduate from the DISC.

Course delivery has been modified to ensure the capacity to meet COVID-19 restrictions.  The delivery model is a flexible mix of virtual and live activities, potentially using hubs should COVID-19 restrictions be applied.

It is very important that you read the ‘Conditions of Participation’ in the Application Form.

Syndicate work

Further to the structured program, syndicate work will be required during, and outside of course dates. Participants will be allocated to a working group in order to develop a presentation on an assigned topic. Each syndicate topic is different and a mentor will also be assigned to assist and guide you. The syndicate will present to senior Defence and industry executives during the final module of the course. This is followed by completion of a 3000-3500 word paper on the topic by the syndicate. At each module, applicants should be aware that there will be course deliverables in the form of written submissions and/or presentations leading to the final paper.

As examples, some previous syndicate topics were:

  • How relevant are Industry Associations and Networks to companies and Defence?
  • 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 of merit progress into acquisition and sustainment funding streams?
  • Are companies that export inherently better than those that do not? How can Defence improve its involvement in supporting companies internationally?
  • What are the benefits and risks to Government and Defence of giving weight to local or regional sourcing?
  • Do "Rolling Wave" and "Continuous Build" programs in Sustainment and Acquisition respectively, offer the government and the taxpayer Value for Money?
  • Is the industry and Defence support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education paying any dividends for either?
  • What objective measures are required to demonstrate the progress and effectiveness of the Defence Export Strategy for both Defence and industry?
  • Looking forward ten to fifteen years, what can be done now to mitigate the potential skills, knowledge and diversity challenges facing industry and Defence?

How to apply

Applications are now open and will close 5pm 26 February 2021. Click here to open the Application Form - (PDF) 1.3MB.

General enquires about the course can be made to the DISC Management Team at