This section outlines owner support achievements and activities performed within the Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group. The role of the Vice Chief of the Defence Force is to act as the Chief of the Defence Force in his absence and routinely to act as Deputy Commander supporting the Chief of the Defence Force in his command of the ADF. Strategic Operations Division supports the Chief of the Defence Force's operational functions and Capability Systems Division is responsible for the sponsorship, development and the provision of advice to the Government on appropriate options for current and future Defence capability. The Group also has specific and discrete responsibilities for oversight of Reserve policy, Cadet policy, the Headquarters Australian Theatre Project and the Australian Defence Force Parliamentary Program.
The major military operation during 2002-03 in support of Government policy, Operation Bastille/Falconer (preparation for, and actual operations in Iraq), was planned and successfully executed in the required timeframe. Planning for Operation Catalyst (Australia's contribution to the rehabilitation of Iraq) was also undertaken. Other military operations in support of Australia's global foreign policy objectives and national sovereignty interests included:
- Operation Citadel (operational support to United Nations Mission in support of East Timor),
- Operation Slipper (support to the war on terror in the Middle East area of operations),
- Operation Relex (the deterrence of unauthorised arrivals entering northern Australia by sea), and
- Operation Bel Isi (Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville).
Notable projects progressed for Government approval during 2002-03 included air-to-air refuelling aircraft, electronic self-protection for tactical aircraft, space-based surveillance, equipment for Special Operations Command, mine and obstacle avoidance sonar for Anzac ships, and system design and development funding for the new air combat capability.
Other initiatives undertaken in support of capability development included:
- discussions with the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand to advance dialogue on general interoperability issues and on the exploration of specific opportunities for achieving greater harmonisation of capability requirements and greater interoperability of defence equipment;
- improvement of cost estimation of capability projects by placing greater emphasis on forming integrated project teams to give early visibility of cost aspects of capability proposals, and conducting training in financial management, including cost estimation. The Division's links with industry also provided access to valuable information on current and emerging technologies and costs of new equipment;
- the release, in November 2002, of a new edition of the Capability Systems Life Cycle Management Manual. This is the key staff guidance document on the processes and issues for consideration in the development of capability requirements; and
- the development and trial of a new information system for tracking and reporting capability development projects. When mature, this system will provide a powerful tool for tracking progress of projects, assisting in the development of project-related documentation and analysing the potential implication of changes to one project on other related projects.
Defence regulations were drafted that create new categories of Reserve service, following changes to Reserve legislation.
The Defence (Personnel) Amendment Regulations 2002, which came into effect on 1 December 2002, consolidated the existing regulations relating to personnel matters contained in the Naval Forces Regulations 1935, the Australian Military Regulations 1927 and the Air Force Regulations 1927. These regulations also consolidated some of the former provisions of the Naval Defence Act 1910 and the Defence Act 1903 relating to personnel matters.
The regulations simplified administration and introduced common terminology across the Services. The regulations also established new categories of Reserve service:
- High Readiness Active Reserve;
- High Readiness Specialist Reserve;
- Active Reserve;
- Specialist Reserve; and
- Standby Reserve.
All currently serving Reservists were transferred into one of the new categories.
For permanent and Reserve ADF members appointed or enlisted after 1 July 2003, transfer to the Standby Reserve will now be part of a member's service. All members will serve in the Standby Reserve, except if the member has reached retirement age, or circumstances have occurred which have resulted in the prior discharge of the member.
Other new initiatives introduced by the regulations included:
- the concept of a provisional appointment, whereby permanent and Reserve members are able to undertake appointment or enlistment on a provisional basis. The member can be appointed or enlisted on the basis that certain specified matters are completed within a specified time; and
- increasing the maximum retirement age to which permanent or regular and Reserve members may be extended to 65. Additionally, the compulsory retirement age for Army and Air Force Reserve members (ie the normal retirement age in the absence of an age extension) was increased to 60 which is consistent with the compulsory retirement age for Naval Reservists.
Defence Determination 2002: Employer Support Payments, relating to the ADF Reserves Employer Support Payment Scheme, was amended by the Minister for Defence on 17 June 2003, with the revised arrangements for the scheme taking effect from 1 July 2003. These revised arrangements provide better support for ADF capability requirements.
The ADF Cadets is a combination of the Australian Navy Cadets, the Australian Army Cadets and the Australian Air Force Cadets.
The Government committed in 2002-03 to further enhance the ADF Cadets, through programs aimed at improving access to uniforms and equipment, administrative support including computerisation, the management and operation of cadet activities, and the quality of experience for cadets in a military-like environment.
In more than 400 communities throughout Australia, more than 26,000 young people are participating as Navy, Army or Air Force cadets. Over 2,450 adult volunteers lead and supervise personal development and training activities for cadets. Former cadets continue to make up a significant proportion of recruits into the ADF (full-time and part-time) and are more likely to stay in the ADF over the long term.
The cadets enhancement program enables the ADF Cadets to build upon its success as a community-based organisation that provides positive links into the Australian community. The enhancement program represents a range of initiatives designed to improve the quality of the cadet experience and, in so doing, promote Defence to young people and their communities as an organisation worth belonging to, or supporting.
Results achieved through the Cadet enhancement program during 2002-03 included:
- improving the safety management system through the release of the ADF Cadet Occupational Health and Safety Policy Manual in mid-2003;
- delivering a more skilled and effective cadet corps workforce. A dispute resolution process, grievance process and a staff performance management system were all introduced during the year;
- undertaking a range of training and development activities under the cadet-initiated activities scheme. This scheme provides cadets with the opportunity to submit proposals for funding of training and development activities;
- working towards accrediting cadet training within the Australian quality training framework, including developing certificate 1 and 2 level recognition for cadets;
- improving cadet accommodation, with functionality and maintenance works carried out in 150 cadet facilities around Australia;
- having cadets electronically connected, with 463 computers, printers and modems having been installed in cadet units and headquarters across Australia. The ADF Cadets web portal at www.Cadetnet.gov.au was launched in December 2002 and all cadet units across Australia now have email access; and
- establishing indigenous participation pilot projects in north Queensland and the Northern Territory. Approximately 130 indigenous cadets and adult staff are currently participating in these two regions. The indigenous participation action plan 2002-2004, for the delivery of cultural awareness training to cadet staff from national, state and local levels, is complete.
During the year, research was conducted into the recruitment and retention of ADF cadet members into the ADF. The analysis revealed:
- the conversion rate from recruitment inquiry to ADF application is high among cadets and there is a higher success rate in enlisting cadets in comparison to non-cadets;
- cadets who inquire about an ADF career are three to four times more likely to enlist successfully than non-cadets; and
- in 2003, 122 of 313 (39 per cent) Australian Defence Force Academy cadets were former cadets.