In ordinary usage, ‘capability’ means the capacity to be or do or affect something. The term can refer to a quality, capacity or ability. In the context of the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO), being a complex and diverse organisation, the term can similarly have a variety of meanings. In the context of the Capability Development Group (CDG), however, which focuses on developing proposals for Major Capital Equipment (MCE) to be used by the Australian Defence Force (ADF), ‘capability’ has a more specific meaning, namely, the capacity or ability of the ADF to achieve a particular operational effect. That operational effect may be defined or described in terms of the nature of the effect and of how, when, where, and for how long it is produced.
When developing capability proposals for Government approval, CDG ensures that all of the capability elements listed above are examined with a view to determining how individual FIC need to change in order to bring about a desired change in ADF capability. This comprehensive approach to capability not only focuses attention on the combination and integration of the FIC, rather than on the individual inputs separately, but also enables Defence to better understand the whole of life funding implications of the new capability. Capability is thus viewed as a ‘system’ of interlocking and interdependent FIC.
Replaced/Superseded by document(s)
In 2004 the Australian Government announced major changes to the way the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO) is organised and operates with regard to the development of major proposals for new Defence capabilities. These changes followed the publication of the Defence Procurement Review 2003, also known as the ‘Kinnaird Review’, and resulted in the Capability Development Group (CDG) releasing the inaugural Defence Capability Development Manual (DCDM) in February 2005. Replacing the Capability Systems Life Cycle Management Manual (2002), the DCDM provides authoritative guidance to CDG staff in carrying out the Group’s core tasks of developing investment proposals (including options) for new Defence capabilities for consideration by Government and managing the Major Capital Equipment program.
A further benefit of the DCDM is its value to the very wide range of organisational stakeholders in the capability development process in the ADO and with whom CDG needs to engage fully if it is to carry out its role effectively. It has also been welcomed by Defence industry seeking to understand how new Defence capabilities are developed since the Kinnaird Review.