The Dibb Report will not get over Defence's management problems, which have gone on for far too many years already; it will merely result in another kind ol mismanagement. The chances are. too, that the shift to the computation' mode will not be very long-lived. The reasons are fairly plain. Establishing objectives to satisfy certain narrow domestic political requirements, both within the electorate generally and within the Defence community at Russell Hill as well, will inevitably produce pockets of serious disagreement within the organisation. Nor will external critics be deterred from pointing out the falsity of major premises underlying the logic of the official analysis. For example, the highly respected Dr. T.B. Millar has observed that the notion that we can base our military preparedness and planning on no foreseeable threat for ten years' is so absurd as not to
warrant comment." So. while the premature programming which should follow from the Dibb Report may impose an air of certainty about Defence Force development for a while, it can be expected that the effect will be temporary.
Mr. Beazley's initiative in appointing Mr. Dibb to call a halt to the aimless drift of Defence deserves credit, but the Australian taxpayer will have to wait for a better informed approach before he sees any effective improvement in the management of one of the country's largest enterprises. The pity is that there is enough highly competent and objective management advice available in Australia; management professionals who could have advised the Minister how to make significant and lasting improvements had he been prepared to listen with an open mind. But. it is also clear that the Minister had already determined the conclusions he wanted, and Mr. Dibb was only required to give them a sort of academic and intellectual gloss. That may be clever politics, it is not good management.
NOTES I have been unable to locale this relerence which I first heard about in 1978 But it is a widely known concept since a variant of it is also the basis of the next relerence
PASITAM Design Notes No 6 May 1976 How Uncertainty Affects Decision Making'.