About the Journal
Defence Governance in the Asia Pacific Century
Author: Stephen Bartos
Volume 5, Number 2 (Winter 2009), pp. 127-136.
The White Paper adopts two very different approaches to governance. In other countries, especially developing countries, governance is problematic, something that needs to be addressed to deal with instability and potential security threats. This is governance in the broad political sense of the word, nationally and internationally. The White Paper discussion of governance within the Defence organisation is about structures and processes (accountability, performance management, assurance); that is, an organisational or “corporate governance” approach. The divergence between the two approaches is huge, but not surprising given the lack of any established definition of governance in the scholarly literature and the variety of interpretations of the term among different disciplines. What is interesting is the implicit assumption embodied in the White Paper that governance is difficult abroad but tractable at home. Recent experiences in the Defence portfolio suggest otherwise—and that there is more to be done at the interface between national political governance and organisational governance. Some of the internal governance changes outlined in the White Paper are likely to have broader implications over time in any case—especially, the Defence Strategic Reform Advisory Board is likely to have an impact that goes well beyond simply advising on and assisting with defence reforms.
About the Author
Stephen Bartos is a Director of the Allen Consulting Group. Previously he was Professor of Governance and Director of the National Institute for Governance at the University of Canberra. His publications include the widely-used reference manual Public Sector Governance—Australia (CCH, 2004), Against the Grain—The AWB Scandal and Why it Happened (UNSW Press, 2006), and numerous chapters, articles and opinion pieces on governance. Prior to his appointment to the National Institute for Governance he was a Deputy Secretary in the Commonwealth Department of Finance and Administration. email@example.com.