Defence decision delayed again

Decision was expected last year but may now follow the September election

Cabinet last week again deferred making a decision on spending upwards of $30 million on a joint command and control system for Defence.

The potential vendors include EDS, Unisys and a Fujitsu-led consortium that includes Australian Defence Industries and Northrop Gruman.

A Cabinet decision on approving tender documents had been expected late last year.

Indicative funding for a command and control system is in the $15–30 million funding band under the Defence Force long-term funding plan.

Industry sources say a moratorium has been in place because the Ministry of Defence was afraid of an INCIS-type blow-out. This is because of different agendas within the individual services, with one group pushing for a homegrown solution and others favouring individual solutions. It seems everybody wants something different, nothing of which talks to anything else.

A command and control system would enable the chief of defence to communicate and plan with all forces from a central point.

It was expected that a final decision would be signed off before next September’s election. That may now be in doubt because of political issues.

The non-decision came on the same day that the Audit Office released a highly critical report into the purchase of 105 light armoured vehicles for $695 million. The report suggests many of the expensive vehicles are surplus to requirements.

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