Chief of Navy Speeches: Talking Points - Defence and Industry Shipbuilding Forum

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12 July 2018

Chief of Navy Talking Points - Defence and Industry Shipbuilding Forum


Thank you for being here today.

Having assumed command of the Navy on Saturday, this is my first Defence and Industry Shipbuilding Forum as the Chief of Navy.

I think it is very fitting that I be here today in my first week as the Chief of Navy because Industry, and particularly the relationship between Defence and Industry is one of the most critical drivers for the future success of the National Naval Enterprise, and our Navy.

Be in no doubt that this is a very important time for our Navy and our Industry partners. With the majority of capability decisions now made, we must shift our focus to successful delivery and sustainment of our current and future force - the eyes of Government and the Australian Tax payers will be firmly set on watching how we do this - together, as one team.

While we will be working together to deliver a fundamental national objective of security above, on and under the sea, the Australian public has an appropriate and innate ability to judge the value of what they pay for - and they will.

So, for all of us to be successful, Navy needs partners in Industry - and I stress the word “Partners” - that will not only deliver against Navy’s levels of required readiness and capability, but will also bring innovation and expertise that will translate cost effectiveness into enhanced readiness and next generation capabilities for our men and women on the front line.

I recognise that Partnership is a two way street. To best support Navy, you will all need to understand where we are going and what we are thinking in relation to future operating environments and the technology growth paths that will enable us to fight in those future environments.

That is not a set and forget activity. It requires active management and communication to keep all stakeholders aligned and to create the type of relationship that will be required to transform Navy from a consumer of industrial output to a partner in high-tech manufacturing. That means maintaining on open and ongoing dialogue between Industry and Navy - and continual alignment.

If we can do that – and we must - then I am confident that the continuous shipbuilding program will not only deliver platforms, but will deliver a mechanism to ensure that our Navy Vessels are built and sustained to guarantee their ongoing preparedness. It will deliver an agile, resilient and lethal fighting force, ready and able to execute complex operations in a dynamic region when called upon by our Government to do so.

So over the next four years with the majority of Navy’s major capability decisions now made, we - Defence and Industry, working in partnership - must shift our focus to successful delivery and sustainment of our current and future force.

In parallel, we must also continue to deliver on our contract with Government and with the Australian people during a period of increasing uncertainty and unpredictability, both globally and regionally.

During my tenure as CN, I am committed to ensuring that Navy will work closely with Government and the men and women of Australian Industry to mature the design, production and delivery of our future surface, subsurface and aerial platforms and weapon systems.

We will work to develop agility in our risk based decision making framework to support the numerous and wide range of decisions that will inevitably be required as continuous shipbuilding enterprise develops and matures.

We will also look to eliminate complicated and unnecessary structures, processes, and systems; we will clearly articulate the accountabilities and responsibilities of those involved in the continuous shipbuilding enterprise; and develop people who are able to thrive in what is a complex environment and focused on achieving the required outcomes.

From Industry, I would ask that you work together, and with us, proactively, as a professional team to achieve these outcomes. Look for better ways to do business and build innovation, evolution and continuous improvement into everything you do and everything you deliver.

Do not settle for the status quo. We need new and innovative ways to fight and to defend ourselves in all domains and we absolutely need new and innovative operating models that contribute to a downward pressure on resourcing.

In short, we must all strive to be better, every day, in everything we do. We must be worthy of the trust and responsibility that the Government and the Australian people have bestowed upon us with almost 100 billion dollars in forward investment.

The naval shipbuilding plan is aggressive and it will take us into territory that none of us have experienced previously. But I am confident that we can navigate those waters, together.

That is probably enough from me at this stage, I look forward to hearing from all here today about the actions they are taking to realise the full benefits of the continuous shipbuilding enterprise.

Thank you - and I look forward to working with you all over the next four years.