Land Forces 2022 – AUKUS – a catalyst for wider collaboration, by Michael McLean

Today @AuManufacturing’s special editorial series Land Forces 2022 turns to the AUKUS agreement and the new focus on collaboration it has spawned. Here, Michael McLean explains how a grass roots industry board that he chairs, is bringing together leading industry advisors and management consultants from New Zealand, UK and USA to collaborate and support AUKUS.

The Australian Army in their Adaptive Campaigning for the Future Land Operating Concept (2009) had the Adaptation Cycle of “Adapt-Act-Sense-Act”.

It ’emphasises the importance of orientation for making sense of the observed situation’, which is a basis for decision and action.

Defence Minister Richard Marles has warned in a stark illustration of the dangerous strategic environment the nation faces and in 2022, he has communicated a consistent narrative and support for the previous government on AUKUS to Adapt-Act-Sense-Act.

And he ‘was open to nations such as Japan and New Zealand joining the AUKUS partnership with the United States and United Kingdom‘.

The McLean Defence Advisory Board (Australia)

In this context, the McLean Defence Advisory Board (Australia) was formed to bring together advisors and management consultants from New Zealand, UK and USA to collaborate and support AUKUS.

The team blend their experience in Above the Line in Managing Defence Complexity and Defence + Industry clients in building Below the Line Sovereign Industrial Capability since 1988.

As the Adaptation Cycle, the McLean Defence Advisory Board “has a greater understanding of complex situations as well enhanced capacity to deal with them, the ability to learn at all levels, and an understanding of when adaptation is needed”.

The Board members have assisted defence and industry supply chains for interoperable, functional configuration and risk mitigation in operational contexts, implemented and sustained adaptive client capacities.

The defence minister said in his interview of 18 September 2022 with David Speers, ABC Insiders said ‘this AUKUS deal will see Australia move beyond interoperability to interchangeability with the United States’. Where ‘Interchangeability is making it so we really are able to seamlessly when we are working together and operating together as one force, but it also means – and we really hope this in respect of AUKUS – that it can provide a platform for building a common defence industrial base across the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia’.

Building a common defence industrial base

That ‘building a common defence industrial base’ and with a sense of urgency, given the changing and complex operating environment, was in part of the amalgam for the McLean Defence Advisory Board.

As reinforced by Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy, who said at the Hunter Defence Conference in September that the Defence Strategy Review will have an ‘engagement with a wide range of stakeholders including Defence industry, national security think tanks, State and Territory Governments and key individuals as Australia’s strategic challenges will require an imaginative, better-designed, whole-of-nation approach to defence industry’. Further, ‘by supporting the delivery of the Review will be the Government’s Defence Industry Development Strategy’.

McLean Defence Advisory Board will be making a submission to the review with a construct drawn from the Standards Australia HB 186:2019 ‘The Stakeholder Approach to Organizational Sustainability’. This will finalise the outcomes from the Boards’ stakeholder engagements to make a submission to the review contextualised from Land Forces 2022.

A brief background of the board’s membership:
In New Zealand:

  • Mark Diedrichs – Protected Mobility Vehicles. Ex ADI / Thales Lithgow Small Arms where Mike McLean assisted Mark in a small initiative and then a larger engagement in Bendigo to build s strategy to secure the Bushmaster production post Thales merger and difficult political and economic pressures. As is known, The Bushmaster is proving its capabilities in Ukraine. Mark led General Dynamics Adelaide, and then AMDAC Malaysia and Roman Military Vehicles, Romania.
  • Jennie Vickers – Global IT Security Influencer. Ex CEO For the New Zealand Defence Industry Association that delivered their international Defence Forum and IDEAS Forum and built collaborations with A/NZ industry to support the NZ Ministry of Defence. Jennie built upon those collaborations and with her legal and risk expertise with Fortinet A/NZ, she was the inaugural winner of the IFSEC Global Security Influencer of the Year in 2022.

In the United Kingdom:

  • Marcelle Batson-Warner – Systems Engineer. Mike McLean consulted to Marcelle in a high-speed steel packaging firm in Australia with both having common automotive risk mitigation experience with Futuris Seating. She was appointed the Quality Contracting Engineer for Aston-Martin and Lear Seating UK. Marcelle is completing her research with Warwick University in the Circular Economy and is implementing ‘circularity’ operational improvements for UK Firms.

In the United States:

  • Mike Anleitner – New Product Development. His current USA engagement is with the electric truck manufacturer, Nikola and other clients such a Magna Corporation, VW Europe and Hyundai South Korea. His Livonia Technical Services conducted the Automotive “Core Tools” at the American Supplier Institute where Mike McLean was his ‘student’. This led to Mike being brought to Australia for the Federated Automotive Product Manufacturers National Conference and consulting engagements with Schefenacker and GM Holden. He and his colleague Dr Robert Pasick published the Tech Leadership 4.0 and Mike’s The Power of Deduction: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis for Design are the basis for his consultancy and lectures at the US Society of Automotive Engineers.

And in Australia:

  • Bede Boyle – Defence Industry Development. Bede worked with Mike McLean at GM Holden, ADI/Thales Bendigo and with Bywater and Axon plc in the UK. He is a member of the Hunter Defence Task Force and on the Hunter Defence Conference Coordinating Committee that was recently held in the Hunter Valley. With Business Drivers, he brings US financing and instruments to assist the Defence SMEs in building capital for greater capability to enter defence supply chains.
  • Chair – Michael McLean – Defence Supply Chains. Founder of McLean Management Consultants who has consulted and advised Defence Above the Line across the three Domains and CASG along with Below the Line for Industry since 1988. He represents the AiGroup on the Hunter Defence Task Force and Standards Australia National Committee for Quality, Management, Assurance and Systems. Mike leads the Defence ISO Basics and Defence ISO Advanced through Goal Group for the Hunternet, ODIS and Skilling Australian Defence Industry. He has co-authored academic publication on automotive supply chain research across Australia and ASEAN. He co-authored Manufacturing Money with Jason Furness, ex-Electrolux and GM Holden; and project-based problem-solving books. He has submissions to the 2016 Defence Whitepaper and NSW Defence and Freight reviews.

@AuManufacturing’s special editorial series Land Forces 2022 is brought to you with the support of Thales Australia and BAE Systems Australia.

Picture: Michael McLean

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