Defence big guns take aim at records

Defence big guns take aim at records

July 3, 2009:Digital record-keeping has won a place in the $A60 billion program of Defence spending announced this week by the Minister John Faulkner.

Project Eden has been announced as a major initiative to deliver an Electronic Document and Records Management solution (EDRMS) within the next five-years as part of a major push to modernise Australia's defencecapabilities.

The list of acquisitions announced in the Defence Capability Plan (DCP) 2009 includes provision for 100 new fighter aircraft, 12 submarines and 24 naval combat helicopters; as well as replacements for the existing Armidale patrol boats and mine-hunters.

Project Eden is described as a project to buy, select and implement an electronic document and records management solution (EDRMS) to meet Defence's compliance obligations for record-keeping.

Senator Faulkner said the Defence Capability Plan (DCP) contains a large number of opportunities for Australian industry.

Project Acorn is described as a "solution to improve Defence’s current levels of effectiveness and efficiency in managing its holdings of physical and electronic records and ensure ongoing compliance with legislated and standards-based mandatoryCommonwealth record-keeping obligations.

"The project will leverage off additional capability that the selected solution might provide in order to realise additional benefits that contribute towards meeting the information and content management business needs of Defence users accessing the Defence Restricted and Secret Networks.

"The deployed solution is intended to overcome deficiencies associated with the use of disparate records and document management systems across the department through utilisation of a standard ECM tool,standardisation of business processes and enhanced capability that enables departmental knowledge management and business intelligence initiatives.

Some indication of purchasing intent is provided in the DCP, which states "hardware and software is anticipated to be acquired as Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) itemsavailable from Australian suppliers.

"Significant industry opportunity is anticipated for the provision of services that encompass information communications technology (ICT) systems design, integration, installation and commissioning of system components. The project is expected to be a major businesschange management initiative and significant opportunity for industry involvement is anticipated in the fields of information architecture, business analysis and process engineering, change management and user training."

Shadow Minister for Defence David Johnston claims the 2009 Defence Capability Plan is an outrageously vague document.

“Out of 229 pages that make up the plan there is only the vaguest hint at what any new acquisition will cost defence, and the costs that are mentioned are broad pricing bands, extremely broad, and that is simply not good enough,” Senator Johnston said.

“Not only has the DCP been reduced from the previous planning time frame of 10 years to an inexplicable four years, but costs are described broadly as being between some where and some where.”

A specific budget for Project Acorn was not included in the plan announced this week by the federal government.