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Subject: RUSI prsentation by Wooner on Collins
gf0012-aust    11/4/2009 2:57:04 PM
http://www.rusiaust.org/states/act/PRES_TRANS_from_1999/Woolner_Derek_4Feb09.pdf
 
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Aussiegunneragain    Volkodav   11/7/2009 7:12:08 AM
With respect, the experience that you guys have is all within the system that has delivered an ongoing series of major procurement stuff ups associated with unique solutions, compromising the capability of the ADF and wasting vast amounts of taxpayers money. In contrast where we have taken up proven MOTS solutions they have generally worked out better, as they have with other nations. Your suggestion that we should have bought a bleeding edge AWD design is evidence of the exact cultural mindset that has gotten us into the trouble that we have been in the first place. Having the best ship in the world operational in 2020 won't be any use to us if we need to operate them in 2017, keeping in mind that we should have had these sorts of ships in service by the turn of the century anyway. I'm interested to any information that you guys can share here but given the record of the Australian defence establishment of which you are a part, I'll be drawing my own conclustions thanks.
 
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Volkodav       11/7/2009 8:54:29 AM
Sorry AG, it's getting late and my sense of humour gets out of hand when I'm tired.  My suggestion of a super AWD was more than a little tongue in cheek.
 
I suppose I was trying to illustrate (poorly perhaps) another issue with MOTS.  MOTS solutions are designed to fill specific roles within their parent service and thus, without modification, will always be a compromise solution for any customer service with a significantly different structure, or intended purpose.  Spain has a carrier with AV-8B Plus and Seaking AEW, we do not, they have 4 and are building more AWD's etc etc.  The F-100 was designed to be an integral part of a structure we simply don't have, as such omissions in the design that are covered by other capabilities within the ARMADA, many of which we don't have.
 
This has to be taken into account, MOTS solutions often require a significant support overhead that a tailored solution will not.  An example of this is the F-111 acquisition.  It is well known the the back up plan was buying F-4E Phantoms, what is less well known is this wasn't simply a case of replacing the 24 F-111Cs and proposed 6 RF-111's with the same number of Phantoms.  The proposal was that in the event of the F-111 order being cancelled a force of 36 F-4E, upto 12 RF-4C and 12 KC-135 would be acquired  to ensure the required capability was still achieved.
 
Everytime we buy a MOTS solution we need to assess how close a fit it really is to what we need.  If it is not close enough, can we cover the delta through a reasonable degree of modification (Australianisation) or do we need to consider further, complimentry, acquisitions?  Its all a compromise it just comes down to what you prepared to compromise on and how much risk you are willing to support.
 
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gf0012-aust       11/7/2009 3:05:22 PM

With respect, the experience that you guys have is all within the system that has delivered an ongoing series of major procurement stuff ups associated with unique solutions, compromising the capability of the ADF and wasting vast amounts of taxpayers money.

actually I've spent more time on the other side of the fence so I've seen a lot of the results of that decision making and have had to try and work within it.

one of the reform processes includes and requires greater use of people with histories like me (and thats clearly the vision of the current diarchy at the direction and insistence of this govt) that they pull in more people with industry relevance. hence why the push towards more credentialed individuals who have been operational or who have a strong background in this business.  that however means squat when areas exercise privilege and veto and cause contractual delays.  companies (like what I used to do) now heavily build in penalties into the contract because the govt is regarded as unreliable and that if they interfere/pollute the process (as is their right) then they get penalised.  so all contracts are now heavily protected. hence why rapid (comparative) acquisitions such as C-17's and Shornets seem to be the solution to get passed the multiple review process.  Unfort, we'll see in 30 years time how both projects were done with a lack of rigour, and the supposed success is a bit shell like.

Just because some Ministers and their staff are wargamers doesn't make them tactical and strategic experts - and unfort some of the advisers that have the ear of their ministers have zero life experience due to their age and backgrounds.  That might seem unfair commentary - but we've seen some of that at work firsthand over the last 18months.

the diarchy was established so that the govt had a parallel handle at the wheel - they don't collude and their roles means that there is no opportunity to load the bases anyway. i'd suggest that just like soviets, this tripartite process is a cluster because the spirit of its intent is still weighted by the principle. ie PM/Cabinet/DefMin/NSC

again, procurement under kinnaird means that mutiple passes are required, multiple approvers are required, and someof those ironically have vested interests, the design authority lies with CDG, the project management authority lies with DMO but is at all times subject to veto by principle stakeholders (Min/NSC/Govt being the alpha authority), the stakeholdfers provide the design authority with their requirements, (and they often get rejected), and the design authority needs approval by Govt to make any changes.  then there are 3-6 external agency reviewers.  Then, dependning on whether  its at final second pass, it will need to go in front of DOFD's special Defence Team for overhauling.  At any stage there are multiple intercept points where things can get stopped.  No single agency has the power (except MinDef/Cabinet/NSC) to put the hammer on things.

I've been on one project where there were close to 1000 checkpoints that required coverage (and delegation) over 18months.  The services can't do squat without Govt say so.  Now prior to hitting this side of the fence I was under the impression that the services had a field day and were screwing the process for their own gain.  Its not the case at all.

when the PM gets his brief before dawn and is advised that we have situation  x evolving in the PACRIM, he will expect CDF to be able to trot out the plans to execute a mission if directed by the Govt.  There are a number of times where we "can't" do things because both sides of Govt delayed the processes on gear because they exercised budgetary restraint, ironic when we are told that executing a mission has no financial constraints and that the best capability to do so is paramount - not the cost of doing business.  unfort its a contradiction in delivery when you can't deliver the capability needed without constraint because the capability was constrained.  There are so many examples of how we were handicapped by logistics that its not funny.  ET being a stellar example.

If t
 
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Volkodav       11/7/2009 6:17:25 PM

Thank goodness combet is in the chair though, the other muppet was a woftam. 
 
Snowdon, Fitzgibbon or both?
 
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gf0012-aust       11/7/2009 7:00:42 PM


Snowdon, Fitzgibbon or both?
both.  although IMO Fitzgibbon only has himself to blame for the way that he blustered his way through things - and for not having a tight handle on his chief of staff.

Nelson genuinely liked the job, the others were media trollops more interested in spin than substance.

I've dealt with snowden in a prev govt life, he was a waste of space then.  he just wears more expensive suits now. 
 
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Volkodav       11/7/2009 7:24:02 PM

Thank goodness combet is in the chair though, the other muppet was a woftam. 
 
Snowdon, Fitzgibbon or both?
 
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Volkodav       11/7/2009 7:53:42 PM
both.  although IMO Fitzgibbon only has himself to blame for the way that he blustered his way through things - and for not having a tight handle on his chief of staff.

Nelson genuinely liked the job, the others were media trollops more interested in spin than substance.

I've dealt with snowden in a prev govt life, he was a waste of space then.  he just wears more expensive suits now. 
 
Whoops hit refresh....
 
Fitzgibbon struck me as being well intentioned but out of his depth, more a junior than a senior, I know my parents never had much time for Snowdon but were even less impressed with the alternative.

Who would you peg as the worst Defence Minister in recent decades?  I am guessing it would be either Moore or Reith with Fitzgibbon running third.
 
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gf0012-aust       11/7/2009 8:12:54 PM
Who would you peg as the worst Defence Minister in recent decades?  I am guessing it would be either Moore or Reith with Fitzgibbon running third.

Moore was politically savvy - he was able to adlib and sound coherent even when "molly the monk" (which he was frequently).  he wouldn't read briefings (he had dyslexia, but he also didn't listen to his suits or uniforms either).  I blame him for exacerbating the problems with Collins for he was the one who decided that they would be fixed, but saw the political opportunity to make mileage out of it and turned them into a political football.  At least I got media liaison training out of that round.... :)

Reith was an arrogant pr1ck.  I've never come across any Minister with such a disdain and veiled contempt for their portfolio and for such a visible persistent visible demonstration of contumelious indifference to engaging with it.  He liked having the driver and liaison officer hanging off of his arm because it was added "cachet".  He was a woftam on the public purse.  

Fitzgibbon was completely out of his depth, had rogue staff and a chief of staff who played him on a break and who used his own personal agenda to balance out the books on media outlets who slighted him in a prev life on other issues, and he was not impartial to hog tying other industry journalists as a form of payback "for same"..  On top of which F didn't know his brief but mistrusted the wrong people.  Always look at the Praetorians before you accuse the outer circle.  As such he was regarded as incompetent and lacking in character "astuteness".  The primes had a field day with him - the classical example of being impressed by powerpoint and toyshop stops and then all and sundry then wait for the incoming as his CoS fired off follow on traffic asking stupid questions so that they could go on a junket.
 
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Aussiegunneragain       11/9/2009 9:21:15 AM
GF,
 
'fraid I'm going to have to agree to disagree with you on the bit about senior brass pulling strings to try and get flasher, riskier gear than they really need. The Navy tried it publically with the AWD's and I've heard enough stories to settle in my mind that it goes on.
 
Volkodav,
 
I know that MOTS purchases might not 100% fit the bill for any particular purchase but I don't think the AWD's fit that description. The Government wanted a modern area air defence ship that we can crew and afford, and the F-100s fit the bill so perfectly that they may as well have been designed for us. Its just a shame we are insisting on building it here instead of letting the Spanish yard that knows it best do it for us.
 
As for those instances where the MOTS purchase isn't such a good fit, if we don't have an interm capability to ensure that all bases are covered I'd rather take 80% of the capability to get the proven platform into service then look for another way of achieving the other 20% if we need to, than to go with a unique design that doesn't get delivered and leaves us with a capability gap. We are too small to be f*cking around on the bleeding edge and we are just lucky that we haven't had a war during the recent debacles.
 
 
 
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gf0012-aust       11/9/2009 2:51:07 PM

GF,

'fraid I'm going to have to agree to disagree with you on the bit about senior brass pulling strings to try and get flasher, riskier gear than they really need. The Navy tried it publically with the AWD's and I've heard enough stories to settle in my mind that it goes on.

that would be despite the AWD having a superior weapons fit (and I'm not taking about load out)
that would be despite the AWD having  a stronger support base and design heritage to cover off the value for money issues
that would be despite the advice coming from other NATO partners about the quality of their spanish build assets
that would be despite the fact that the "build at home" political leverage generated by having the F-100's and fatships (both spanish) being built here was supposed to lower the costs

are they fine ships?  no doubt.  were they the best on the capability evaluation matrix? No.  was capability supplanted by non technical drivers on that matrix? apparently so.

in this case, the political interference was legion

there are stories, - and there are stories

you'be surprised at how much of the ebaluation process was conveniently ignored by the final veto authority.  but never let a good series of external stories put a proper evaluation down (a vague parallel association with a common throw away expression was intended here)

the govt can't have its cake and it eat it too.
 
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