Scientists are Defence’s ‘secret weapon’, says Combet

While they rarely get the limelight, Defence scientists are critical to Australia’s security, the Federal Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, The Hon Greg Combet AM MP told Parliament today.

Mr Combet said the Federal Government was placing increased emphasis on the ability of Defence scientists to innovate and design new technologies and to apply and adapt existing technologies.

“Australia was one of the first nations in the world to recognise the importance of applied science and dedicated scientific research in sustaining a credible national defence effort.  For more than a hundred years, science has been an integral part of Australia’s defence.  From beginnings that were built around the technologies of the day – principally explosives and munitions – Australia’s defence science now covers the spectrum of our national defence capabilities. 

“From kinetics to electro-optics, from metallurgy to adhesives, from aeronautics to nutrition, our scientists are fundamental to the technological edge that is essential if our defence force is to deliver the level of security that the Australian people expect of Government.

“With strategic responsibility for a disproportionate share of the earth’s surface, but with a small population, Australia has to be both agile and smart if it is to maintain an adequate defence capacity. Defence science provides the ultimate force multiplier.

“While our scientists are largely unseen, they are in fact our secret weapon. Their contribution is critical.”

Mr Combet detailed the activities and accomplishments of DSTO, the lead agency charged with applying science and technology to protect and defend Australia and its national interests. He noted that DSTO’s track record in rising to the challenges of increased deployments of Australian the increased deployment of Australian troops overseas, the current global security environment, new advances in technology and the multi-billion dollar Defence acquisition program was impressive.

“To deliver on its research program DSTO continues to forge closer links with industry and the science and technology community both here and overseas. These links enable industry to better support the capabilities needed to defend Australia,” said Mr Combet. 

He highlighted the successful establishment of the Defence Materials Technology Centre as distinct form of collaboration between Defence and industry.

“The DMTC aims to leverage the expertise and resources of DSTO, industry, universities and other public research bodies to develop leading-edge materials-related technologies for the ADF,” he said.

“The Rudd Government intends to promote further joint ventures in high technology areas of interest to Defence. Accordingly, DSTO will expand its engagement program with its industry and overseas partners to stay ahead of the technology curve.”

Posted by DMTC on September 8th, 2009