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Thought Leadership


Collaboration is Key to Achieving Australia’s National Security Goals

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By: Fran Murphy, Senior Director Strategy and Business Development

Government Solutions – APAC

The decades ahead will be characterised by how Australian industry rises to support some of the most ambitious defence and security challenges of our times. 

In an environment that celebrates fierce (industrial) competition, Australia’s future will be determined by how well the nation’s defence industry collaborates – how we move from being competitors to collaborators, working together to achieve a shared vision for Australia’s national security. 

The dynamics in our region are becoming increasingly complex. The Indo Pacific has the fastest growing economy and population in the world. The shifting balance of power is driving global uncertainty.  

Meeting Australia’s ambitions and responsibilities requires us all to collaborate. Defence. Defence industry. Academia. All of us. Seamlessly and transparently. The shared goal will underpin the future safety of all Australians. 

Australia has a long list of successes. Projects so big and complex that they took thousands of people and many decades to complete. The very foundation of KBR’s own local heritage has been built upon enormous projects like the Adelaide-to-Darwin railway and the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. 

Today, we celebrate these as ambitious and iconic chapters in our nation’s history. When there is ambition, alignment and clarity of purpose, the biggest and most complex projects can be achieved. These projects also encapsulate the key attributes we need for future success – tenacity, ingenuity, commitment, and teamwork. 

There’s an industrial powerhouse of some 5,500 local Australian businesses that range from innovative family operations and startups to primes, each with unique products, technologies and skill sets that are already contributing to the defence industry. This is the core of our future industrial resilience.  

KBR has a deep and broad supply chain that helps us deliver innovative solutions to Defence. We can’t and don’t want to ‘do it all’.  

Suppliers with key skills or technologies are crucial to the delivery of innovative defence solutions to protect those who protect us, whether it’s providing secure communication systems for navy or supporting the nation’s space domain awareness. 

Competition doesn’t create the environment required to support collaboration and working together on a shared ambition. 

As a fundamental input to capability, industry’s role is to deliver the capability required for Defence. And more importantly, to ensure those capabilities are available when needed. 

 In 2019, in response to bushfires threatening communities, our team - a team made up of a range of companies - prepared ships quickly for deployment, despite being in the middle of a significant upgrade. This was a great demonstration of the benefits an enterprise can deliver when ready to support both capability and availability. 

The challenges ahead to achieve ‘sovereign readiness’ is no different. No single company or entity can achieve it all but together we can contribute to the national interest. From the smallest to the largest in the defence industry, we are stronger together.  

And, together we can build a future that is defined by what we can achieve together to forge a safer, more secure future for Australia. 

About Fran Murphy

Fran joined KBR in 2023 as Senior Director, Strategy and Business Development for APAC.

Fran’s career began in the Australian Army. She spent 15 years in military service before moving into the defence industry.

She has worked in a number of senior roles including leading the delivery of complex, leading edge, sovereign systems and platforms. In her role with KBR, she is committed to supporting an internationally competitive and more resilient Australian defence industry.

Fran’s role is pivotal as KBR looks to the future to build on a 65-year heritage in Australia. 

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