Aust Defence thin-client desktop rollout gets govt nod

The Australian Department of Defence has received second pass funding approval for its thin-client desktop roll-out, scheduled to begin next year.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has received second pass approval for federal funding for the deployment of its Next Generation Desktop (NGD) project, following the successful completion of a pilot project in August.

The AU$6.2 million pilot commenced in April, and covered over 700 users across DoD, with Thales, Microsoft, and Citrix partnering to deliver the thin-client desktop service.

The second pass approval for the project came in early October, project partner Thales Australia told ZDNet.

The new rollout will see DoD personnel with a single desktop to access the Defence Restricted Network and Defence Secret Network from one screen, where previously some staff members were required to have two desktops on their desk.

In August, outgoing DoD CIO Greg Farr indicated that the pilot had been a huge success, and is expected to save the government AU$277 million over six years. A full rollout is expected to begin in 2013.

In a time where the federal government is looking to cut costs in order to achieve an underlying cash surplus this financial year, second pass approval for a large desktop rollout is a significant achievement for the department.

Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said that his company is now working with the DoD on the next stage of planning for the NGD project.

"We have been working very closely with Defence's chief information officer group, as well as end users and our partners, to ensure the pilot was a success and their feedback was gathered and integrated into our rollout strategy," he said.

"We have also recently completed a series of joint workshops with the customer, and are currently discussing how to proceed with full-scale implementation of the NGD solution."

The thin-client desktop project will be the first major project to be overseen by incoming CIO Peter Lawrence, in addition to the billion-dollar project to build a high-capacity terrestrial communications network, which was secured by Telstra last week.

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