Peter Lawrence, the relatively new CIO of the Australian Department of Defence talked at the ACS Canberra Branch Conference just now. He talked about the challenge of maintaining millions of lines of code in the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and what form of IT support to provide in the new warships now being built for the Australian Defence Force.
Peter said how IT needs to be something organization leaders need to worry about more. In my time at Defence there were few senior officers who were comfortable with IT. Hopefully this can be changed, with senior military personnel now being trained at ANU.
An interesting question from the audience to Peter was about the difficulty of international IT students getting a security clearance to work on defence projects. Peter explained that security requirements had to be conformed with. However I have found there are ways to address this. I have had international students working on IT defence projects. In some cases they were just doing prototype software and research which was not intended for a real system, in others their work was compartmentalized from the sensitive parts of the system.