A key innovation in the 2016 Defence White Paper is the release of its accompanying Integrated Investment Program (IIP), a 10-year planning document outlining defence capability acquisition and upgrade programs.
But unlike the old Defence Capability Plan which it partially replaces, the IIP looks at not just equipment but also the “key enablers” of infrastructure (bases and ranges), information and communications technology systems, and personnel training.
As a result the IIP replaces not just the DCP but the Approved Major Capital Investment Program, the Major Capital Facilities Program, discrete ICT planning and group service workforce plans.
“For the first time, these formerly separate programs are now incorporated within the Integrated Investment Program,” the document reads.
“An integrated approach to capital investment planning will provide the framework for a more coherent and efficient approach to managing the development of future Defence capability,” it promises.
A key driver is avoiding what the IIP calls “the risk of incomplete or fragmented approaches to investment”, where a new capability such as an aircraft or class of ships is acquired separately to the necessary base infrastructure or wharf upgrades needed to operate that capability successfully.
Another change of approach is that the IIP also looks at capabilities across six “capability streams”, rather than across the three different services. These streams comprise: ‘ISR, EW, space and cyber’, ‘key enablers’, ‘air and sea lift’, ‘maritime and anti-submarine warfare’, ‘strike and air combat’, and ‘land combat and amphibious warfare’.
“The breadth, complexity and interrelated nature of all Defence capabilities and enablers led to the development, in the Force Structure Review, of a new framework to adequately explain the link between strategy and capability,” the IIP reads.
“The six capability streams in the framework are used in the Integrated Investment Program to better represent the key force elements – how they are typically employed and their planned enhancements. This was a deliberate move away from describing our capability investment plans in a stovepiped structure.”
It is an integrated approach, but one that provides less specific detail on projects than the old DCP, albeit over a much longer planning timeframe. For example, projects are not listed by project number and phase, and timeframe and budget guidelines are much broader, detailed under “Summary of key investment decisions from FY 2016-17 to FY 2025-26” tables under the broad headings of “program timeframe” and “approximate investment value”.
Instead, the IIP “provides a consolidated overview of the elements of the plan for the future force; it does not provide an exhaustive list of projects.”
It continues, “Since the status of projects will change as they move through the different stages of the approval cycle, it will be inefficient to maintain a current hard copy version of the Integrated Investment Program.”
Rather, an online IIP will be “periodically updated”.
“Defence proposes to further develop the content and the level of detail provided in the Integrated Investment Program,” the IIP reads.
“Early engagement with industry, through dialogue mechanisms such as industry forums building on the existing environmental working groups, will be a key part of the future development of the Integrated Investment Program.”