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Defence Information Environment

In the Defence White Paper, the Government directed Defence to harness advances in information technology and ensure information capabilities receive proper attention. To meet the Government's requirements, the Chief Information Officer was appointed as the coordinating capability manager for the Defence information environment. The Defence Committee decided that the role of the Chief Information Officer is to establish the strategic direction, governance arrangements and coordinating processes for the development, operation and management of the Defence information environment.

The Defence information environment is a single entity that encompasses intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, communications, information warfare, electronic warfare (including self-protection), command and headquarters systems, and management (logistics and business) systems. It involves the aggregation of information, individuals and the systems in Defence that create, collect, process, protect, disseminate or deny this information. The environment also includes interoperability with allies, industry and other government agencies.

In addition to the activities described below, the Chief Information Officer coordinated a wide range of Defence information environment development activities conducted by the Groups and Services. These included improvements in the financial management and reporting system, supply systems, information systems skills training, network centric warfare, and information systems security.

Performance Summary

Improvements for 2002-03 focused on business processes and practices, accountability and management arrangements, strategic direction, improving governance and coordination arrangements for the development, operation and management of information environment capabilities, the development of improved systems functionality to overcome current deficiencies and the development of a network-enabled warfare capability.

Mitigation of Key Risks

The creation of the Office of the Chief Information Officer and the Information Capability Development Branch within Capability Systems Division mitigates the risk that Defence could fail to align the development of its information systems with its enterprise requirements as described by Government.

Performance Targets

In late November 2002, after the portfolio additional estimates statements were finalised, the Defence Committee agreed new administrative arrangements for the Office of the Chief Information Officer. These were designed to bring greater coherence to capability management of the Defence information environment. In line with this direction, revised performance targets were set. These revised targets are reported on below.

Develop a coherent vision, strategy and architecture for the Defence information environment

Substantially Achieved

A coherent vision and strategy for developing the Defence information environment and its components in line with the overall direction set by Government, the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force was articulated through the 2003-04 Defence information environment plan. The plan and its supporting processes are maturing incrementally with each release.

A primary vehicle for coordination is the Defence architecture framework. Development of this framework progressed and initial architecture implementations for the Air Force, Policy Guidance and Analysis Division and for the information domain of network centric warfare began.

Coordinate the information direction of the Groups and Services

Substantially Achieved

Groups and Services are developing supporting plans for the development of their respective information systems. Planning is also under way for the management of specialist areas. For example, the Defence simulation plan was completed and drafting of the Defence spectrum strategic plan is underway.

A corporate information facility is being developed to improve decision support capabilities, particularly in the reporting, analysis and modelling of financial, personnel and materiel data. It aims to provide senior decision-makers in Defence with a tool that will enhance strategic decision making in Defence by developing a central point of access to 'corporate information' that is trusted, authoritative and repeatable. The Chief Information Officer endorsed the corporate information policy in May 2003. A prototype was demonstrated and is being developed.

Planning commenced to improve competencies in the Defence information environment workforce, including the attraction, retention and training of personnel with relevant skills. Ongoing involvement with the development of the Defence workforce plan will ensure that information skill requirements are represented.

The Defence information environment plan was developed by coordinating information on known activities occurring across the Defence information environment. A strategic approach has yet to be taken. A Defence information environment strategy will be developed in 2003-04 and will be used as the basis for future planning.

In addition, a number of Groups and Services continue to develop their plans, which will be necessary to achieve this key performance target.

Ensure balanced investment in the Defence information environment

Substantially Achieved

Work on improving the acquisition and through-life management of information capabilities centered on corporate enterprise management applications. A study was completed to detail the costs of significant Defence enterprise applications and work is under way to explore mechanisms for funding the investment required for maintaining currency and sustainability.

The Defence information environment plan is developing as a tool for prioritising information capabilities and measuring progress in development.

As identified above, maturity of Defence information environment planning will deliver a more holistic view of investment in the Defence information environment and will enable identification of future investment needed

Develop the Defence information environment as a critical component of future war fighting

Substantially Achieved

Significant effort was expended to assure necessary access to the electromagnetic spectrum, which is a strategic resource for Defence. The development of electronic business capabilities continues. There continue to be improvements in information systems that support enterprise business processes for the management of people, finances, logistics and records.

Significant improvements in coordination have been achieved regarding command support systems development, tactical data links and intelligence support capabilities.

Improve joint operational concepts and doctrine

Substantially Achieved

The Office of the Chief Information Officer represented Defence in forums which take a national approach to information management issues, such as the National Office of the Information Economy and the Government's Information Management Strategy Committee and its Chief Information Officers' Committee.

Defence continued to maintain and improve critical solutions and relationships for information exchange with allies and partners through involvement in forums and exercises, such as the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration and the Australian and United States Ministerial Interoperability Review Team.

In a related achievement, guiding principles for developing network-centric warfare were issued in April 2003. It summarised the network-centric warfare capstone doctrine, addressing the nature of conflict in the information age, how the ADF can exploit the information domain through network-centric warfare, the implications of that warfare and the pathways for development.

Support to Operational planning

Substantially Achieved

The Defence information environment working group was established to consider Defence information environment issues affecting operations and the Defence information environment operation risk register was created to collect and assist in treating risk issues affecting operations. Resources were provided to Strategic Operations Division to establish operations-related web sites, particularly in support of Operation Falconer.

Establish robust governance processes for the Defence information environment

Substantially Achieved

Implementation began on a governance framework for information management, by establishing agreements with key enterprise business process owners. These owners will improve information assurance by addressing the availability, confidentiality, integrity and accuracy of data.

The enterprise business process owner agreements will be extended to include document records management in 2003-04. An evaluation of the existing Defence information environment governance arrangements will be undertaken in the first half of 2003-04 and implementation of recommendations coming from that review will commence in 2003-04.

The Defence Committee also agreed to the restructuring of the current system of Defence instructions and a recommended implementation process. Documents that support the delegation of authority for the restructure are being developed.

The new system of Defence instructions is expected to be implemented by the end of 2003.