The Australian Government will set up a special project team to deliver reforms to the procurement and delivery of uniforms and other personal equipment to troops.
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the ‘MyDefenceGear’ Project would:
- Oversee the development of a new combat uniform; and
- Implement the agreed recommendations of the Whalan and Lewincamp Reviews into the procurement and delivery of Australian Defence Force uniforms and other personal equipment.
Review of the Policy Framework for Clothing Procurement (the Lewincamp Review):
In February this year the Australian Government commissioned the Lewincamp Review in response to community concern about the manufacture of the combat uniforms worn by Australian troops.
The Review made 20 recommendations, 17 of which have been accepted in full or part by the Government. One requires further consultation.
Mr Clare said the Government rejected two recommendations dealing with the manufacture of standard combat uniforms overseas.
“The Government supports the manufacture of the standard combat uniform, the shirt and pants, inAustralia,” Mr Clare said.
“The needs of our troops are obviously our top priority.
“Where there is an operational need that can’t be met in Australia, we will take the necessary action to get it into theatre as soon as possible. But the Government supports the manufacture of the standard combat shirts and pants in Australia.
“I want to drive more competition for this work in Australia.
“Defence currently requires two garment manufacturers to be involved in supplying the standard combat uniform.
“This works well, ensuring a healthy competitive tension in the market.
“There is also opportunity for more local competition in the supply of the treated fabrics used in garment manufacture.
Project MyDefenceGear will implement the agreed recommendations from the Lewincamp Report which will improve the policies around the procurement of uniforms.
It will also oversee the development of a new combat uniform.
Defence has been working on the development of a midpoint combat uniform to replace the standard and desert variants of the camouflage pattern with one pattern.
Mr Clare has also asked Defence to pursue the purchase of a licence for the Multicam combat uniform, currently being trialled in Afghanistan.
The purchase of the licence would provide the potential to develop this as a new combat uniform with our own unique camouflage pattern.
These two projects will now be merged into one – to expedite the development of a new combat uniform.
Review of the Reporting of defects with ADF Personal Equipment and Combat Uniforms (The Whalan Review):
The Whalan Review made 18 recommendations to improve the Report on Defective or Unsatisfactory Material (RODUM) system, which allows soldiers to report faulty equipment and suggest improvements.
The Government will implement all of them.
The Review found that the RODUM system was sound in concept but could be improved through broadening and simplifying its operation.
Recommendations to improve the system include:
- Expanding the choice soldiers have about selected items of personal equipment;
- Improving feedback from troops using equipment in training and on operations; and
- Modernising the supply chain for combat clothing and equipment to make it leaner and more responsive; and
- Setting up an online ordering, feedback and supply system for military clothing and combat gear.
“The message I have heard from soldiers is that they want more choice and a system that’s more responsive to their needs,” Mr Clare said.
“I have asked Defence to develop a business case for the design and implementation of an integrated online ordering, management and supply system.”
The online system would allow soldiers to:
- order clothing and potentially some personal equipment;
- track the timing and progress of their orders; and
- file a RODUM report.
Media contact: Korena Flanagan – 02 6277 7620