Date: 28 Jul 2015
Cat: Decision making

The Department of Defence is not only facing new threats abroad, but also challenges to maintaining military capability at home. The viability of bases and training areas are at risk from new Defence technologies and external social, environmental and development issues. A proactive risk mitigation program successfully addressed these threats head on.

The challenge. “We’re facing challenges to sustaining operations at many of our bases and training areas. Often they’re the same issues. But we don’t see them coming, nor do we have a coordinated responses” said Greg, the Director of Sustainability in the Department of Defence.

Our approach. Defence regularly assesses and manages the impacts of their operations on communities and the environment. This time the situation was reversed. The impact on the (changing) business of defence – maintaining military capability – by external forces such as urban encroachment and a changing climate had to be assessed and mitigated.

The solution. We developed a new risk assessment tool that could be applied at a site level, with data aggregated to examine and priorities issues across the entire Defence Estate. Called the Defence Estate Sustainability Assessment Tool (DESAT) it supported a forward 20-year view of current and emerging risks from the inter-relation of evolving Defence operations and situational threats.

The innovation. This view of the sustainability of the Defence Estate was novel in its approach and also within western Defence departments. Careful, thoughtful design of the tool kept it simple to use, helpful for base managers, while yielding rich information at the national Estate management level.

Client outcome. Greg was delighted with the result, appreciating the inherent complexity of the task and the elegance of the tool that emerged. He took it directly into trial and then full-scale application without modification. He was now equipped to pursue site and Estate-wide policy and operational changes to preserve the business of Defence.

Note: This work was led by Nick Fleming of Innergise while employed and working with colleagues at Sinclair Knight Merz.