Defence IT jobs go after Lockheed Martin deal

The Australian Department of Defence has confirmed that 42 staff members have left voluntarily as a result of a AU$500 million centralised processing services contract signed with Lockheed Martin.

The Australian Department of Defence has revealed that 42 IT staff members have left the department following the signing of a contract with Lockheed Martin for centralised processing services, worth close to AU$1 billion.

In May last year, Defence signed the contract as part of its AU$1.9 billion IT reform to consolidate infrastructure and applications from 280 smaller datacentres into 11 domestic and three international facilities.

Speaking about the tender in June 2013, Department of Defence CIO Dr Peter Lawrence said the move will mean better data security, with scalability and infrastructure management to also become much simpler.

"Having all the processes in one place will centralise things. So it should make it easier in time to be able to actually manage both the applications and the infrastructure in a more centralised way, which will, over a period of time, make it easier to access common data," he said.

"Right now, when we want to upgrade an operating system on our servers, we have got to go to everywhere. We might have servers in every one of those 280 locations. It is a time-consuming and onerous task."

The closure of some of the facilities had been expected to result in redundancies, and it was reported late last year that jobs would go from February or March. In response to a question on notice from Shadow Defence Minister Stephen Conroy, the department confirmed that 42 staff members had taken redundancy as a result of the deal.

"All redundancies were voluntary," the department said in answer to a question on notice.

A business case identified that up to 128 employees could be made redundant as a result of the centralised processing services contract, but the Department of Defence has not yet responded to a request for comment on whether many more redundancies would be made -- voluntary or otherwise.

The First Principles Review of the Department of Defence released earlier this month recommended further consolidation of applications and systems within the department, with greater oversight over IT given to CIO Peter Lawrence.