In light of the Strategic Reform Program being implemented by Defence, this article discusses risks inherent to Defence's planned approach to Smart Sustainment reforms.
It also suggests an alternative more likely to deliver cost-effective sustainment outcomes, now and into the future. Defence's planned approach to Smart Sustainment is likely to damage the defence sustainment system and betray the national interest, but the Strategic Reform Program provides an opportunity to potentially fix the system's long-standing structural weaknesses.
This article recommends that Defence should move away from input-led matrix management and the status quo model of prescriptive regulatory contracting by adopting two reforms. First, Defence should institute an output-led management framework, empowering the Service Chiefs to manage capabilities and drive innovation throughout the sustainment system. Second, Defence should expand strategic partnerships between Defence and Australian defence industry, encouraging both to focus on efficiency and productivity, not just inputs and price.