Advising Ministers – The Special Problem of Defence

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Title Advising Ministers – The Special Problem of Defence
Author Arklay, Tracey; Tiernan, Anne-Maree; White, Hugh
Journal Name Australian Journal of Public Administration
Editor John Wanna
Year Published 2011
Place of publication Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Abstract Successive Australian Defence Ministers have been frustrated and occasionally embarrassed by the quality of advice and information provided to them by the Defence organisation. Decades of reviews and reorganisations have failed to find solutions to the special difficulties that Defence faces in providing accurate, timely information and advice to ministers across the broad spectrum of their responsibilities. This article argues that there are multiple explanations for the concerns that are frequently expressed about its policy advisory capacity – most of which are inherent to Defence organisations around the world. While the Defence culture of secrecy is partly responsible, other factors such as the scale of Defence's operations, the multiple cultures that exist within it (military, civilian, and intelligence) that make coherence harder than in more homogenous departments, the long-time horizons of defence planning as well as the high costs of procurement, must also be considered. The erosion of trust between the organisation and minister has been exacerbated by the intense scrutiny of the media that overburdens ministers and adds another layer of complexity to their role. As history shows, there are push and pull factors that continue to embroil ministers in the minutiae of defence difficulties, while the complexity and scale of operations will undoubtedly continue to impact on the timeliness of advice.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8500.2011.00738.x
Volume 70
Issue Number 4
Page from 365
Page to 376
ISSN 0313-6647
Date Accessioned 2012-02-29; 2012-03-20T22:35:53Z
Date Available 2012-03-20T22:35:53Z
Research Centre Centre for Governance and Public Policy
Faculty Griffith Business School
Subject Public Policy
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/43672
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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