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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"National security" shroud part of the problem at Defence

The outstanding series of articles on Defence spending in the Sydney Morning Herald by Linton Besser and colleagues includes more details of extravagance today, with Minister Faulkner asking questions including if senior management knows what is going on:
'There are issues about the culture in the organisation. Obviously those sort of things are not to be sneezed at.''Senator Faulkner told Parliament yesterday he had asked the Secretary of the Defence Department, Ian Watt, to review the contracts published by the Herald to make sure they fell inside the reform program and ''to ensure Defence has adequate reporting procedures to give senior management the information and the opportunity to intervene''.''Financial control is critical. All of these issues, if not dealt with already, should be and will be examined,'' he said.
 Dr Mark Thomson an expert on Defence expenditure has some suggestions on what can and should be done including:
Finally, if the government really wants efficiency, it should open Defence's performance to external scrutiny. The new minister, John Faulkner, has made encouraging moves, but much remains shrouded behind implausible claims of national security. If Defence's problems only emerge through the media, it will continue to devote more attention to hiding poor performance than making improvements.

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