THE HON CHRISTOPHER PYNE MP Minister for Defence Industry Address to the French Strategic Studies College

It is both a pleasure and an honour to join you today at the campus of the École Militaire.

16th Dec 2016


THE HON CHRISTOPHER PYNE MP
Minister for Defence Industry

Address to the French Strategic Studies College


Paris, France
 
15 December 2016
 
It is both a pleasure and an honour to join you today at the campus of the École Militaire.
 
Here in Paris, we are already fortunate enough to be in the heart of one of the most beautiful and historic cities to grace our globe – but it would be hard to imagine a more magnificent setting for military, government and industry leaders to gather to discuss the latest thinking on defence than these buildings.
 
This time-honoured centre, the École de guerre, the Institute of Higher National Defence Studies and the Centre for Higher Military Studies are renowned around the world for the great leaders they have produced.

And for more than three quarters of a century the Institute of Higher National Defence Studies has been a place for the sharing of knowledge through the wisdom of its teachers and the leaders who have gathered here, civil and military, French and foreign.
 
Australia has been proud to have one of our own, Ms Rowan Ainsworth, a future diplomat here in Paris, as one of the participants at the IHEDN this year. I would like to acknowledge Ms Ainsworth who is with us today.
 
This afternoon I would like to discuss five matters:
 
·        The history and the strong bonds of friendship we have built and sustained, that tie Australia and France together and will unite our two nations for decades to come;
 
·        Defence as a driver of economic and technological advancement for both our great nations;
 
·        The importance of Australia’s Future Submarine Program for the security and economic prosperity of my country and the security and economic prosperity of France;
 
·        The Defence-industry partnership with Thales; and
 
·        The role exports play in building industrial resilience and advancing and expanding our defence sectors.
 
The Australian Government’s decision to select DCNS as our preferred international partner for the 50 billion dollar Future Submarine Program has set us on a path to a deeper relationship through long-term strategic industrial cooperation.
 
 It has reminded us yet again of the importance of the bilateral defence relationship between Australia and France.
 
Our two nations have a long and honourable history as allies, stretching back a century to the First World War.
 
After their blooding on the shores of Gallipoli – where I lost one of my great uncles Patrick Thomas Pyne on the landing day in 1915 – Australian troops came here, to France, fighting 100 years ago in the battles of Fromelles and Pozieres before playing a vital part in the offensives that finally brought victory.
 
It was here, on the fields of France, that the Anzac legend, the story of the deeds of the Australia-New Zealand Army Corps, first formed in Turkey, was cemented in the annals of history.
 
And it is here, in France that is the final resting place of my other great-uncle Octavius Pyne, along with those of so many of his comrades in arms in the battle fields of the Somme.
 
Almost 300,000 Australians served on the Western Front.
 
Over 114 thousand were wounded.
 
Almost 50,000 were never to return.
 
Australians are not just honoured and touched by the way France remembers the soldiers who came from so far away to fight in this land.
 
More and more we are realising that it was in the battles here of 1918, when Australian leadership proved decisive, that we truly came of age as nation.
 
And year after year we are reminded of the deep connection between our two lands as thousands of Australians visit France to commemorate the soldiers who bravely fought here.
 
But the history of Australia and France stretches even further back.
 
Two hundred and sixty years ago, in 1756, Louis XV sent Bougainville to search for the Great South Land.
 
Great French navigators such as Dufrense, La Perouse and d'Entrecasteaux were among the first Europeans to chart the coasts and dare to venture on the shores of what was then called New Holland.
 
Names given by these intrepid explorers – or in their honour – can be found across Australia.
 
And it is significant to note here today that when our Future Submarine first sets to sea from the shipyards of my home town of Adelaide, she will be sailing in waters once charted by perhaps the greatest French explorer of Australia of them all, Nicolas Baudin.
 
As she leaves the sheltered shores and slips into the Southern Ocean to port, there will be a spit of land that still bears the name Baudin gave it more than 200 years ago, the Fleurieu Peninsula, christened in honour of the explorer and scientist Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu.
 
Even closer to home, my wife’s and my house at the beach sits on Guichen Bay and one of its heads is Cape Lannes.
 
From strong foundations, our close and longstanding relationship has continued to develop over time.
 
Today, it is underpinned by our shared commitment to meeting global security challenges and contributing to the rules-based global order that has delivered so much benefit to us all.
 
It is this commitment and shared vision for a prosperous and stable world which sees us working together, side by side, from the Pacific to the Middle East.
 
In the 2012 Australia-France Joint Statement of Strategic Partnership, our two governments asserted “the importance of close bilateral cooperation to address major international security issues of common concern,” and “cooperation in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, where we both have an interest in promoting peace, stability and prosperity.”
 
This will only grow as the Future Submarine program moves forward.
 
One of the areas where Australia and France enjoy strong bilateral cooperation is in the Pacific territories, where we are connected at an operational level on a regular basis.
 
The French territory of New Caledonia is one of Australia’s closest neighbours.
 
My government’s Defence White Paper, released earlier this year, cites a secure maritime South East Asia and South Pacific as one of Australia’s most significant strategic defence interests.
 
Maritime security cooperation remains a cornerstone of our defence engagement across the region.
 
The White Paper identifies France as a South Pacific partner – a testament to the importance we place on our relationship.
 
Australia and France regularly participate in combined force training exercises, particularly in the Pacific and Southern Oceans, including for emergency and disaster relief and operations against illegal fishing.
 
We are grateful to have France lead the largest humanitarian and disaster relief training exercise in the South Pacific, Exercise Croix du Sud.
 
Held every two years –it is a vital preparation for disaster relief operations in a region all too often battered by the forces of nature.
 
Last month over 100 members of the Australian Defence Force joined with their French colleagues in this exercise, focussing on disaster response interoperability and improving the capacity of both our services to provide a coordinated response in what can be a complex and challenging operational environment.
 
Earlier this year, in February, Australian and French defence personnel were able to respond swiftly with vital, life saving assistance to Fiji in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston.
 
Our two forces came together in March 2015 responding to the devastation brought by Tropical Cyclone Pam to Vanuatu.
 
This humanitarian work – assisted by New Zealand – helps our nations in our shared commitment to security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
Australia’s security and prosperity not only depends on stability here, but on a rules based global order.
 
A stable, rules-based regional regime is critical to ensuring both our nations access to an open, free and secure trading system.
 
Indeed, I note that France’s 2013 White Paper on Defence and National Security recognises that her prosperity is “inseparable from that of the Asia-Pacific region”.
 
Australia acknowledges France’s substantial military presences stretching from Djibouti to Réunion, to New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
 
Australia and France’s cooperation also extends to our contributions to the international coalition’s efforts to disrupt, degrade – and ultimately defeat – the terrorist threat from Daesh.
 
Australia notes with sadness how this city and this land have suffered from this scourge.
 
My own niece, Henrietta, was only 400 metres from the Bataclan Theatre the night of the shocking attack on freedom.
 
Both our governments are committed to tackling the pervasive threat of terrorism that risks undermining global peace and stability.
 
That means we place high importance, as founding members of the Proliferation Security Initiative, in combating trading and dealing in weapons of mass destruction.
 
France is an invaluable ally in this area, with significant expertise and experience in combating and prosecuting terrorism, boasting a system of specialist counter terrorism judges with global reach.
 
But as well as the framework of regular bilateral exchanges and frequent service-level engagement the Australian-French defence relationship has also long been characterised by major equipment procurement programs.
 
This brings me back to the Future Submarine Program – the largest defence procurement program in Australia’s history.
 
The selection of DCNS as our international partner for the design and build of Australia’s Future Submarine will only further strengthen the already strong bilateral defence relationship between our two nations.
 
France’s Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Christophe Lecourtier, has rightly pointed out that future ties between our nations will be far reaching in scope.
 
Ambassador Lecourtier has said that France is “not just offering a submarine design, but also a broader alliance between our business communities, between our governments, to face some of the most tricky challenges of this century.”
 
It is an offer Australia both welcomes and accepts.
 
Australia is committed to deepening our links with France – and with the close cooperation we already enjoy in so many areas the bonds between our two nations will only grow as the Future Submarine Program moves forward.
 
The Australian government has placed defence at the forefront of our policy agenda.
 
This is reflected in my appointment as our first Defence Industry Minister.
 
Australia sits in such a strategically significant part of the globe – with the Indian Ocean to our west, South East Asia to our North and the Pacific to our east – we understand that we must be strong today and recognise the challenges the future will bring.
 
Our Defence White Paper calls for a force that will be more potent and capable, one that can succeed in a more dangerous strategic and operating environment.
 
It calls for a force capable of conducting independent operations to defend Australia and protect our interests in our own region – one with enhanced abilities to contribute to brooder operations as part of international coalitions.
 
Australia has demonstrated a commitment to both leading peace keeping operations in our region and participating in combat actions further afield.
 
That willingness to commit to global operations, combined with our determination to sharpen the edge of our blade by acquiring significant new weapons, platforms and systems means Australia is not only an ally – but one that will be increasingly important and useful in years to come.
 
We are setting out to rebuild and reshape our defence forces and our broader defence industry, though a carefully planned program.
 
Alongside the Defence White Paper the Australian government also released two other significant documents earlier this year – the Integrated Investment Program and the Defence Industry Policy Statement.
 
These are the vehicles we intend to use to deliver Australia’s new defence capability.
 
The Integrated Investment Program provides a capability plan to position the Australian Defence Force for the opportunities and challenges ahead.
 
Not only does it detail our major acquisitions of new weapons, new platforms and new systems – and our investments in information and communications technology, infrastructure and the enabling workforce.
 
For the very first time it also gives industry clarity and certainty for the future by bringing together all of our defence capability related investments over the next ten years – a most significant investment indeed.
 
Between now and 2025-26 the Australian Government will invest 195 billion Australian dollars in renewing our defence capability.
 
This will be the largest ever investment in capability in our nation’s history.
 
It will see our defence budget grow to two per cent of gross domestic product by 2020-21.
 
Our unprecedented investment in defence capability will be backed by an increase in the ranks of the Australian Defence Force.
 
Our permanent forces will increase to over 62 thousand over the decade to 2025-26, returning them to their largest size since 1993.
 
This expansion will see more personnel deployed in air, land and sea combat roles, as well as intelligence, cyber operations and enabling capabilities.
 
This fully-costed plan will see our defence budget grow from 32.4 billion Australian dollars this year to 58.7 billion dollars by 2025-26, providing defence with almost 30 billion dollars more over the period.
 
Like France, Australia understands the importance of a strong sovereign defence industry in underpinning military capacity.
 
We are committed to building a strong, more resilient and capable sovereign defence industry base to deliver the Integrated Investment Program.
 
In the future, the Australian Defence Force will operate in a more contested environment in our immediate region.
 
We will be far more active and face a brisker operating tempo as we seek to shape a positive local security environment.
 
At the same time, however, we will face greater danger, from both state and non-state actors with unprecedented capabilities to damage our forces and our interests.
 
It will be far more challenging to operate, sustain and repair our forces.
 
This will demand a stronger, more resilient and more capable Australian defence industry.
 
The changes in our strategic circumstance mean that our defence industry must be ahead of the curve.
 
More than ever, industry needs to ensure they are ready when they are needed.
 
Here, we will want to work with our friends and allies.
 
The transfer of technology and industrial capability to Australia so that our defence industry can meet our sovereign capability needs will be crucial not just to our security, but to our broader prosperity.
 
Across our nation industry is making the transition to high-tech manufacturing; embracing the innovation that will drive our continued national prosperity.
 
This is where the jobs of the future will be created – and with them the broader growth we need to ensure Australian maintains its position as an advance economy among the top ranks of nations in the twenty-first century, one that can play its part ensuring global stability.
 
This is our great national endeavour – and as Minister for Defence Industry I will do everything in my power to develop and grow the sector into one of the most important parts of the Australian economy.
 
That is why the Australian Government has prepared the Defence Industry Policy Statement.
 
It recognises the importance of a shared investment in the future of the sector to promote national security and economic prosperity.
 
It reinforces the Australian Government’s commitment to maximising opportunities for Australian businesses to compete in our defence programs and building skills, diversification and export potential in our defence industry.
 
The initiatives outlined in the Defence Industry Policy Statement will not only transform the relationship between defence and the defence sector – but transform Australian industry and innovation as well.
 
Through the statement we will be investing some 1.6 billion Australian dollars over the decade to 2025-26 to harness Australian innovation and expertise and build industry skills and export potential.
 
Again, for the very first time, the statement will explicitly recognise the enormous – and critical – contribution our defence industry makes to our defence capability and treat it like any other fundamental input.
 
This recognition will lead to better aligned acquisition and procurement objectives and a whole-of-life capacity engagement with industry.
 
The government has further plans under the Defence Industry Policy statement to ensure Australian industry is integrated as a fundamental input to capacity.
 
These include changes to the way defence approaches the development of capability and procurement proposals through a much clearer engagement with industry.
 
The government’s naval shipbuilding program is a great example of this.
 
We are recognising not only the capability base, but the industrial base the capability depends upon.
 
We are developing our own naval shipbuilding plan which will transform the industry and set it on a sustainable long-term path to deliver our continuous shipbuilding program.
 
This establishment of a sustainable naval shipbuilding enterprise will be of unprecedented scale, cost, complexity and risk.
 
It will be the most complex and expensive undertaking in Australia’s history.
 
But it is precisely this type of challenge we need to embrace if we are to succeed in our great endeavour: over the next several decades building 12 offshore patrol vessels, nine future frigates,
12 submarines and up to 21 Pacific patrol vessels for partners in our immediate region.
 
And undertaking as much as possible of this work in Australia, promoting and supporting a significant sovereign defence base.
 
Mapping similar plans for our broader capability needs will enable defence industry to maximise its ability to contribute to the protection of Australia – and to become a force internationally.
 
The Government is at work on the development of our first Defence Industrial Capability Plan to guide the development of our defence sector over the next decade, due to be released next year.
 
This document will not only set out the sovereign capabilities vital to the defence of our nation, but also the broader defence industry development plans needed to deliver the Integrated Investment Program.
 
Its long-term view will help guide our short and medium term priorities, enabling us to maximise Australian industry involvement in our capability projects today.
 
We recognise, however, that planning is not enough.
 
We have to work alongside, to support, Australian industry to deliver what we need for our security.
 
That brings me to another element of the Defence Industry Policy Statement, the creation of two major new bodies – the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, or C-D-I-C, and the Defence Innovation Hub.
 
The CDIC, which I launched back in Australia just days ago, will work to breach the barriers that stand in the way of promoting a strong and nation-wide approach to capability development and innovation.
 
Under the chairmanship of both private sector and defence representatives, it will provide leadership developing Australian industry’s capacity to meet our strategic needs.
 
The CDIC will provide advice to help Australian businesses support the ADF.
 
It will have a sharp focus, seeking to build a sustainable, innovative and internationally competitive industry.
 
And it will have an eye on partnering small and medium enterprises with primes, both locally and internationally, and developing export opportunities.
 
The CDIC will operate as a key part of the Australian government’s new approach of partnering with Australian industry to deliver the capabilities Australia needs in a way that can harness the best we have to offer.
 
It will act as a spur to economic growth in Australia’s broader industry and innovation base, reaching businesses that have not previously worked on defence opportunity.
 
We will not only create jobs and growth for our own economy, but investment opportunities for French collaboration with Australian companies.
 
Both our nations’ focus on innovation will assist with this process; the focus your government’s document France Europe 2020: A Strategic Agenda for Research, Technology transfer and Innovation and Australia’s National Innovation and Science Agenda which I launched just over a year ago in my capacity as the then Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.
 
Your 2013 Livre Blanc puts an emphasis on science and technology within the ministry of defence to prepare the defence systems of the future and our Defence Industry Policy Statement outlines our national efforts to drive defence innovation that will boost our future capability.
 
We share a focus on supporting and developing defence science and technology.
 
As outlined in the Livre Blanc, defence industry is a long-established, crucial element of France’s strategic autonomy.
 
It makes a significant contribution to economic, scientific and technological innovation and job creation.
 
We intend to cast our industry in a similar role.
 
This means that there has never been a better time for both our nations to capitalise on our ideas and create and deliver cutting edge technologies to support and advance our defence forces.
 
In support of this work the Australian government has established a new Defence Innovation Hub backed by 640 million Australian dollars across the  decade.
 
The Hub will unite defence with industry, academia and research organisations to collaborate on the technologies.
 
This will provide leading edge capability.
 
It will also bring the disparate range of innovation programs managed by defence under a single program.
 
The Hub will run a range of projects across different technology readiness levels.
 
It will seek to be far more agile than anything before, in taking innovations from proposal to contract stage and managing intellectual property.
 
It will tackle the challenges of converting ideas into practical capability when they are needed to deliver a battleground advantage.
 
This work will also be supported by the 730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund, designed to foster innovations that offer longer-term war-fighting advantage.
 
The fund will complement the broader focus we share with France on leveraging innovative science and technological expertise for our defence capability.
 
Work is already rapidly gathering pace on the greatest collaboration between our two nations ever seen, the Future Submarine Program.
 
As you would be aware, the Australian Government selected DCNS as our international design partner after a rigorous and methodical competitive evaluation process.
 
The decision to choose a French partner was based on capability; on the quality of the French offering – and the assessment that working with DCNS to design and build a regionally superior submarine capability will best meet Australia’s unique requirements.
 
I hardly need to remind this audience of how DCNS comes with such a strong record after designing and building more than 100 submarines for nine different navies, including the state of the art Barracuda fast-attack submarine for the French fleet.
 
In September we signed the first contract with DCNS to mobilise the resources needed to begin design activities, including establishing a resident project team in Cherbourg.
 
The signing of the Design and Mobilisation Contract marks the start of the Future Submarines Program.
But as well as DCNS, we have another crucial defence link with France, through Thales.
 
Thales Australia has a longstanding relationship with our Defence Department.
 
The company has produced a number of key capabilities for the Australian Defence Forces, such as the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle and, most recently, the Hawkei.
 
Thales has already delivered over 1,000 Bushmasters on time.
 
The vehicle has been highly successful on operations over the past 10 years and has been credited with saving many lives.
 
Last year the Australian Government entered into a contract with Thales Australia to strengthen our defence force through the purchase of 1,100 Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicles and over 1,000 trailers.
 
When it goes into full service, the Hawkei will significantly improve protection for our soldiers, enabling them to operate in high-risk areas.
 
It has been specifically engineered for mobility, payload capacity, useability, sustainability and survivability.
 
The Hawkei features an innovative sub-frame design and a unique engine bay layout that will maximise its mobility in difficult terrain.
 
It will also be the only protected mobility vehicle in ADF service that can be transported by our helicopters.
 
Significantly, the Hawkei will also be equipped with a next generation integrated communications management system, to be designed and delivered by Thales.
 
The Australian Government is investing in initiatives to harness the potential of our defence industry.
 
The Hawkei shows exactly what collaboration can achieve.
 
Thales and Defence are giving our military a significant new capability and providing a boost for our defence industry.
 
Indeed, Thales Australia has been recognised for its work on the Hawkei with the recent award of one of our most significant science awards, the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia.
 
As we seek to transform our defence industry to support the largest revitalisation of our forces since the Second Word War, exports have become a key priority.
 
Australia, like France, now appreciates that exports are crucial to a sustainable defence industry.
 
Our market is not large enough to support a world-leading, productive and sustainable defence industry.
 
Exports change that.
 
They promote innovation, skills, technology development and employment.
 
And they help build our relationship with allies through partner country capability and interoperability.
 
The Australian Government will be seeking and promoting as many opportunities as possible for internationally competitive Australian companies to join the DCNS supply chain as we implement the Future Submarine Program – and as part of our broader defence plans.
 
Companies such as Thales Australia are already achieving great export successes.
 
The government intends to greatly expand the number of exporters and the volume and breadth of capabilities they can offer the world through our defence investment.
 
We already lead the world in development of technologies such as hypersonics and quantum computing – and we have demonstrated our ability to develop internationally significant capabilities, such as the CEAFAR Active Phased Array Radar.
 
I would like you very much to consider Australia as both a future partner and supplier.
 
Australia admires the success that France has enjoyed as a global defence manufacturer.
 
Our choice of DCNS as our submarine partner shows the depth of our regard for your industry.
 
At the same time we can continue to grow the longstanding relationship between our two countries as friends and allies with inseparable bonds formed by both the long years of history and valour on the battlefield.
 
 As the relationship between our two nations grows, we hope the list of Australian alumni of the Institute will also increase.
 
It is an exciting time for defence in Australia.
 
I look forward to learning much from you and enabling our two countries to set an example to the world.
 

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