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ESTIMATES COMMITTEE B - 11/09/1991 - DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE - Program 2-NAVY

SENATOR MACGIBBON -I have a general question in relation to the way the estimated outlays summary is presented. The way it is presented for Navy, Army and Air Force differs. Why did the three Services follow a different format?

MR JONES -The determination of the break-out of each of Army, Navy and Air Force programs is largely considered a matter for the program manager, the Chief of Staff in that case, although consultation is required with the Defence Program Management Committee. You will see that it is considered the best layout for the particular service at the time. That is not to say that they will not change over time and have not changed over time, but it is really a decision for each service to make as to how it wishes its program structured at the subprogram level, and indeed the levels below that component .

SENATOR MACGIBBON -It does make it difficult to get an idea of how they see their priorities across the three Services. For example, Army has both a support and a base logistics function; the other two services only have a logistic support segment. There are some big differences noted there: the executive 8.5 per cent in the Navy; 2.9 for Army; and for Air Force it is 15.7 . That is a range from 2.9 per cent to 15.7 per cent to run the show.

MR JONES -The categorisations of subprograms are not intended to be necessarily directly comparable. The term `executive' may mean something slightly different from the Navy program or to the Army program.

SENATOR MACGIBBON -I know, but surely a function of program budgeting is that we have a basis for comparison across the Services.

MR JONES -What each program endeavours to do under those subprogram headings is to explain the nature of or the definition of the activities performed. I think in general terms, however, they are roughly comparable and the logistics areas can be compared by adding the different sections, for example, in the Army program, as a first rough cut. But I suggest that you ask the representatives of the individual program areas if you want further definition of what they include in each of those subprograms.

SENATOR DURACK -There are charts on pages 104 and 105 dealing with the availability and activity of the maritime forces, and I have some difficulty in lining them up. Could I get some help here. What does `availability' mean in the first chart on page 104? What is the definition?

REAR ADM. WALLS -It means available for operational programming. In other words, the ship can be used for whatever tasks the maritime commander has in terms of the fleet program as approved by the Chief of Defence Force. For example, if you were to look at the top line, DDGs 1990-91, there is a 3 in the inventory column, and a 1.9 in the predicted availability column. Actually we had 2. You see that rises to 2.7 in the year 1991-92. That reflects the return to the fleet of Hobart on completion of her modernisation.

SENATOR DURACK -Is this availability over a year? Is that how you work it out?

REAR ADM. WALLS -Yes.

SENATOR DURACK -There still seems to be some difficulty lining this up with the chart on page 105, which is activity levels.

REAR ADM. WALLS -The availability reflects things such as operations at sea, exercises, training at sea. It also reflects activities in harbour, maintenance activities and provision for leave for the ship's company. You will see that the sea days there for the DDGs, for example, in 1991 were planned and one particular figure reflected a change in the employment, but both those figures-228 in the top line and 306-are within the availability of the DDGs to the maritime commander. It reflects a difference in the form of the activity of the ship.

SENATOR DURACK -What is the value of showing us the activity just in sea days then? For instance, the submarines you are looking at show, under 1990-91, availability of 3.4. If you look at the submarines' 1990-91 activity, sea days , there seem to be less than the planned days-they achieved less than was planned-whereas the availability in fact turned out to be more. Under your availability charts, there was greater availability than you planned, but when you are looking at sea days there were less sea days than was planned.

REAR ADM. WALLS -That is a reflection of the difference--

SENATOR DURACK -Is the answer that we should not be comparing these two charts with each other?

REAR ADM. WALLS -I think that is probably the best way to approach it.

SENATOR DURACK -What is the point of them then?

REAR ADM. WALLS -The one on the left hand side can be looked at in terms of a macro approach to force element group availability in the maritime command. The table on the other page, the activity level, is a measure of the function of the employment of the ships within the macro availability. If you were to pick up the point of the submarine that you had there, in one case you are looking at a macro availability in terms of operations, training and maintenance, and the differences are reflected in what you get in terms of the sea days. I suppose the important thing in the overall sense, as far as the maritime command is concerned, is sea days, but in fact you can see that the changes that occur during the course of the year in maintenance requirements, for example, are shown in the second table.

SENATOR DURACK -I notice on page 105 in the explanation of activity levels it is stated:

Submarine Force days were less than planned due to extended intermediate docking and unscheduled maintenance.

I suppose we know something about the extended intermediate docking, but what would be the unscheduled maintenance? What was the problem?

REAR ADM. WALLS -That relates to breakdowns, for example, damage suffered at sea, repairs that are necessary as a result of voyage activities.

SENATOR DURACK -When there is unscheduled maintenance, does that have any bearing on the availability level outlined on the previous page?

REAR ADM. WALLS -No.

SENATOR DURACK -Not at all?

REAR ADM. WALLS -No.

SENATOR DURACK -It does not seem to be all that useful.

SENATOR ROBERT RAY -I take note that if some of the senators do not believe the information is useful it will not be there next year.

CHAIRMAN -You are entitled to do that.

SENATOR MACGIBBON -Regarding the maritime forces availability, it would be easier if it reflected whole ships, because 0.3 of a ship is not much use to me and I do not think it is much use to you, either. So you have either got a ship on the line or you have not and I would have thought that in these tables of predicted availability and so on that it would have been reasonable to have rounded them down to the last complete hull.

REAR ADM. WALLS -We will remove the information in future.

SENATOR MACGIBBON -I am not interested in the information being removed. I find it useful, but I do not see that I have got much use in having a DE that is 2.7.

SENATOR ROBERT RAY -It is taken over the whole year, that is the point. It is not much use expressed just simply by itself but it is over full use in a year . Anyway, your senior member of the Committee wants it taken off and it will be taken out next year.

SENATOR NEWMAN -No, you were offering, we were not accepting. I do not think anybody was accepting your offer.

SENATOR MACGIBBON -An extension of the same theme applies on page--

SENATOR ROBERT RAY -Take an informal vote if you want it in next year then, make up your mind.

SENATOR NEWMAN -I did not know that we were up for votes.

SENATOR ROBERT RAY -It can stay in, then.

SENATOR MACGIBBON -Referring to page 106, it would help if we had the number of aircraft in the fleet when we are dealing with the flying hours of the aircraft. I think we would need a fleet number, a total in each category, and the number that were serviceable.

SENATOR ROBERT RAY -Certainly the total fleet numbers will be put in and we will look at that other question.

SENATOR NEWMAN -I want to ask a question but I do not know where it belongs, so I will ask it now. I cannot find any mention either under Navy or the acquisition of major capital equipment program of the four new coastal minehunters. Have I missed it?

MR JONES -Those projects are not yet approved and so they would not be in the acquisition and logistics program. You might like to ask the question when we reach subprogram 5.2 under S&I, which is a new unapproved major capital program.