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Annual Report 2013-14

Volume 1, Part 2 : Performance

Program 1.9: Defence Science and Technology

The Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Alex Zelinsky, is the primary adviser to the Secretary and the CDF and, through their offices, portfolio ministers and the Government on defence-related science and technology matters. He leads the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in providing science and technology support for Australia’s defence and security needs.

In support of military operations, DSTO deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations nine operations analysts directly supporting commanders, as well as six fly-away teams that enhanced ADF capability and force protection. Soldier protection technology developed by DSTO has been transitioned to Australian industry and is now being procured by allied nations.

DSTO’s science and technology program includes a specific focus on sustaining the current force. Highlights in 2013–14 included the Collins class submarines remedial program and hull structure remediation of Armidale class patrol boats, as well as reducing the cost of ownership of Army vehicle fleets through vehicle health and usage monitoring systems and condition-based maintenance regimes. A major upgrade to the Jindalee Operational Radar Network has taken significant DSTO research and development into operational capability, resulting in enhancements to coverage, processing capacity, electronic warfare, airfield surveillance and spectrum usage.
Budget management and rebalancing within the department resulted in DSTO reprioritising its overall research program in consultation with Defence clients, which led to lower-priority deliverables being deferred or cancelled.

DSTO provided technical risk advice for 30 Defence Capability Plan projects proceeding to the Government for decision and technical risk certification for 24. This has increased awareness of technical risks for decision makers
in Defence and the Government and enhanced the risk management of major projects.

DSTO’s Strategic Research Investment program aims to provide game-changing capability for Defence by investing in the organisation’s science and technology capabilities. The focus is on potential high-impact areas of bioterrorism preparedness; cyber warfare and security; future electronic warfare; future undersea warfare; hypersonics; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; signatures, materials and energy; blast modelling and explosives; autonomous systems; and space systems. The program continues to leverage and foster interactions with industry, academia, and Australian and overseas research bodies.

DSTO led a whole-of-government effort that scoped the need for a national security science and technology policy framework and supporting program.

DSTO capabilities in cyber security, chemical–biological defence, intelligence analysis, blast modelling and explosives were provided, as part of Defence’s contribution, to higher-priority national security tasks.

Highlights of DSTO’s enhanced engagement with industry and academia and with partner nations included:

  • introduction of Defence Science Partnerships, which provide a common framework for Defence to engage with Australian universities
  • execution of new strategic industry alliances with eight major defence companies
  • establishment of the Defence Innovation Realisation Fund, and government agreement to the initial tranche of projects
  • approval of seven collaborative projects with Australian industry under the Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program
  • agreement with Japan to cooperate on a project in the field of marine hydrodynamics.

Table 3.25: Program 1.9 deliverables



Provide timely, accurate and expert science and technology advice on Defence and national security related matters to the Secretary, the Chief of the Defence Force and the Government


Provide effective, relevant and timely:

  • science and technology solutions and technical support to military operations, to the current force and to national security agencies’ operations and capabilities
  • science and technology support to capability development and acquisition decision making, including technical risk assessment and certification for Defence Capability Plan projects

Substantially met

Deliverables in support of operations were rated met, while current force and national security deliverables were substantially met, with Defence clients agreeing to defer or cancel some medium and lower priority tasks.

Deliver a program of strategic research aimed at enhancing future Defence and national security capabilities and maintaining the organisation’s world-class research expertise and facilities


Further develop strategic partnerships with external organisations, in particular international partners, local industry and academia; promote defence science and education in the broader Australian community


Contribute to Defence reform outcomes by continuing to seek and implement improvements to DSTO leadership, business and culture, including fostering diversity and gender equality. Identify and evaluate technologies that facilitate efficiencies and savings in the development, operation, repair and maintenance of ADF platforms


Table 3.26: Program 1.9 key performance indicators

Key performance indicator


Advice to Defence and the Government on science and technology matters is valued and contributes to better Defence and national security outcomes


The applied research program is strategically balanced in meeting the needs of Defence in support of operations, the current force, capability development and acquisition, and the needs of national security agencies


Research program outputs are well suited to enhancing Defence and national security capability, treating risks and saving resources


The strategic research is focused on supporting future Defence capability and on providing game-changing capability for Defence in the longer term, to both prevent and create strategic surprise


Program outcomes are delivered on time, in scope and within
agreed resources

Substantially met

Budget management and rebalancing within the department led to Defence clients agreeing to some medium
and lower priority tasks being cancelled or deferred.

DSTO’s science and technology capability is contributed to by:

  • a workforce with world-class expertise and facilities, measured through benchmarking and client feedback
  • appropriately leveraged science and technology engagement and partnerships with international defence research organisations, industry and academia