Lead the Way: Defence Transformation Strategy

The latest update, Lead the Way: Defence Transformation Strategy, takes all of the rumblings about an agile, responsive Defence Force and begins to seriously crystallise them into tangible and measurable actions.

We should be expecting these updates by now.

From the viewpoint of a professional services SME facing into Defence, there are some potential opportunities we believe important to keep an eye out for;

Agile Transformation

Making Defence agile. Agile, an ideology AND methodology, is most potent when it is adopted as a mindset. This recent update takes this knowledge and is implementing it throughout the One Defence strategy. This is an exciting opportunity for Project Managers, Program Managers, Scrum Masters and Culture Hackers alike to ensure they’re familiar with this mindset and Agile ways of work.

As the following quote demonstrates, this will even filter in how the workforce is managed:

“Agile mechanisms to distribute workforce resources in accordance with the identification and treatment of strategic risks”

  • So it’s fair to expect there may be upcoming work for Agile consultants in the future.


Previous papers have not been as explicit as Lead the Way when stating that changes to responsiveness, capability and interoperability are critical. It is not new knowledge that Australia’s strategic environment is unstable, but this paper is the first we’ve felt to instil a sense of urgency that the time frame on addressing this may be alarmingly short.

Put simply, the Strategic Update and Capability Plans have accelerated Defence’s goals. In writing at least, this plan pushes that throttle further.

  • For an SME, this presents both risk and opportunity. It means that an SME needs to be prepared to deliver what Defence needs when it needs it – so get ready and read ahead. It also means Defence is going to be looking for more, so the work is not going to slow down.

Defence Industry

Further investment in supporting Industry. Such a hot ticket item, and not forgotten in this paper. We can expect the release of Concepts to Capability: Defence, a Capability Innovation Strategy in 2021. This will also provide greater visibility for industry and academia on Defence innovation funding avenues, building on the More, Together: Defence Science and Technology Strategy 2030 released earlier in 2020.

  • We already know of the changes to ASDEFCON, as well as the CDIC moving into the Department of Defence, plus an audit program and changes to contractual agreements to give Australian Industry a fair go. Some of these initiatives have been received with mixed feelings. We all know it’s hard for SMEs to get a foot in the door with Defence. But there is some cause for optimism here. Being on top of the changes will be essential to ensure a playing hand in winning new work.


Finally, on the side of interoperability, Defence is making this clear as an ethos across the entire organisation – or “enterprise”. Already a big focus with the Joint Force, interoperability (somewhat synonymous with “agility” here) will be implemented across Defence. Not only from the technology but also through to organisational culture and how the workforce is structured, resulting in “One Defence”.

  • This one isn’t new either, but again worth remembering. To serve as a consultant to Defence, we need to understand there may be more expected of certain roles in terms of wider enterprise understanding. Meaning the consultants best positioned to win work will not just have a great track record, they’ll have demonstrable knowledge of how their project fits into the wider Defence ecosystem.

Well, there they are. Some of our thoughts on the Defence Transformation Strategy.

Any thoughts or comments? You can debate (or agree) with us below.

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