Major reform to Defence Industry Security Program makes it easier for industry to do business with defence
Following extensive consultation, the Department of Defence recently announced major reforms to the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP)—the program that helps Australian businesses and innovators supply goods and services to Defence.
Industry is now able to self-nominate for DISP membership, without the need for a Defence contract.
The much-anticipated reforms will promote greater partnerships between Defence and industry, make it easier for industry to do business with Defence, and maximise the benefits available to Australian businesses as a result of the unprecedented investment in the defence industry by the Australian Government.
What is DISP?
According to Steven Scanlan (Acting Assistant Secretary Security Policy and Services), “DISP is the way that the Department of Defence provides assurance to the Australian Government that, when we are procuring goods or services from industry, information and assets are safeguarded. DISP allows industry to demonstrate their security practices when partnering with Defence.”
DISP membership provides industry with the tools needed to protect Australia’s sensitive and classified information, as well as industry’s own intellectual property.
“When we talk about security, this refers to having good security governance, including documented policies and procedures that are translated into practical outcomes, such as training for personnel. It extends to cyber security and safeguarding data networks and intellectual property, as well as the physical security of properties, such as access to buildings and facilities,” said Scanlan.
What reforms were introduced?
The recently introduced reforms will allow DISP members to easily access security information, guidance and services and enable them to become ‘Defence-ready’ by establishing the necessary security practices for tendering opportunities involving classified information and assets.
“The key change is the eradication of the requirement that industry must have a contract with Defence to become a DISP member. Industry can now proactively elect to put in place the appropriate security practices and become recognised by Defence before bidding on future Defence contracts.
“Historically, it was a ‘catch 22’. Companies were unable to obtain security clearance because they had no contract in place, but they could not win a contract because they did not have security clearance. DISP membership was perceived as a barrier to working with Defence.
“With these reforms, we are really trying to encourage industry to implement the security practices required so that they are ready to tender for opportunities as soon as they arise, thereby maximising Australian industry content in all Defence projects,” said Scanlan.
Why become a DISP member?
Being a DISP member opens up opportunities to partner with Defence, and to become competitive for future tendering opportunities in order to deliver defence capability. DISP enables you to secure your business and offers guidance and services to protect your information and assets.
This is an exciting opportunity for Australian businesses. DISP membership is an essential stepping-stone for Australian businesses to become competitive when bidding for work with Defence and our international partners.
“The Australian Government has several bilateral relationships with other countries. By becoming a member of DISP, there is the opportunity to join international supply chains, with reciprocal recognition available through the Government’s agreements with countries such as France and Germany,” said Scanlan.
There is no cost to become a DISP member. However, there may be costs associated with implementing security measures required to qualify for membership. Australian manufacturers are encouraged to register their interest in joining the program.
For further information on DISP, visit: http://www.defence.gov.au/dsvs/industry/
Australian manufacturers are encouraged to apply to become a DISP member via: http://www.defence.gov.au/dsvs/industry/DISP-applying.asp