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Defence’s $14 billion-a-year deputy secretary appointed from industry

Tony Fraser, currently the managing director of Airbus in the Asia Pacific, has been announced as the Department of Defence’s next head of the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.

CASG controls almost all of Defence’s capital and infrastructure pipeline except for IT and estate management — but the sheer size of its budget, with an annual spend of more than $14 billion, rivals any other portfolio in government. It has more than $200 billion in projects and maintenance investment on the books.

The two Defence senior portfolio ministers, Christopher Pyne and Steven Ciobo, announced the appointment in a statement — which is rarely done for a deputy secretary — highlighting Fraser’s commercial experience and 34 year career in the Australian Regular Army.

Fraser reached the rank of Major General (two star, equivalent to a Band 2), and served as a division head in the former Defence Materiel Organisation, the CASG predecessor organisation, under Kim Gillis who he now replaces as the head of CASG.

Since then Fraser has reaped the rewards of a strong relationship with Defence, winning significant contracts for his employers aerospace contractor Leonardo S.p.A. and later Airbus Group Asia Pacific.

Now he returns to the public service at a significant time, Ciobo notes, with so much new activity, but also having been responsible for some major reforms of the acquisition function in Defence, including the adoption of Smart Buyer and the new Capability Life Cycle in Defence.

Fraser will commence duties in November 2018.

Defence shuffle settles with new leadership team

There has been a massive turnover of senior executives in Defence since departmental secretary Greg Moriarty was appointed 12 months ago from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Associate Secretary Brendan Sargeant remains on leave and is presumably not returning — albeit retaining at least one board role in Foreign Affairs and Trade — and his replacement is yet to be appointed. Rebecca Skinner continues to act as associate secretary.

The entire ADF leadership team, except for Air Force Chief Gavin ‘Leo’ Davies was rotated this year.

There are new people in the other key senior leadership roles of Chief Joint Operations, Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy and Intelligence, Chief Finance Officer, Chief Information Officer, and Deputy Secretary Defence People.

Additionally Dr Alex Zelinsky, Chief Defence Scientist, is also leaving in November to take up an offer for vice-chancellor of University of Newcastle.

Just one senior public service executive is not new to their role or in the process of leaving: Steve Grzeskowiak, Deputy Secretary Estate and Infrastructure.

Top photo: Tony Fraser, left, signing-P8-A contract. Supplied by Defence.

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The Mandarin

The Mandarin staff journalists.