Defence's public servants and military personnel are signing up to spend six weeks in industry workplaces under a new secondment program, with a Canberra engineering firm among the first businesses in the country taking part.
Colonel Dan Hartigan is joining Canberra-based engineering and systems integration company SYPAQ as part of the first wave of the program, which aims to give Defence staff hands-on experience in Australia's defence industry.
Military personnel will temporarily swap their uniforms for business attire under the Defence Industry Secondment Program, which launched on Wednesday.
But they won't be incognito as they dive into the work the defence industry is doing to support the ADF. They'll be building relationships and breaking down the gap of assumed knowledge that each side holds.
Public servants will also take part in the program, with alumni from the Defence Industry Studies Course specifically invited to participate.
After recently transitioning from full-time in the Australian Army to the Active Reserves, undertaking capability development work for the Defence Science and Technology Group, Colonel Hartigan is not unfamiliar with working with industry.
"It should be an interesting and rewarding experience for myself and SYPAQ," Colonel Hartigan said.
"This will be a wonderful experience to see first-hand how that engagement is used by industry and steps that we may be able to take to improve the flow of information from Defence, as well as maybe influence how industry can engage better with Defence."
He said he was looking forward to helping bridge the information gap and helping industry's ability to support the ADF more productively.
SYPAQ's general manager for consulting, Richard James, said getting involved in the program was a great way to support the veteran-owned company's "customer first" strategy.
"We really do have a passion for helping vets, but above and beyond that we want to provide value for money and capability for the ADF," Mr James said.
"The secondee can dive into anything they want to learn. We won't prescribe the way they do things - we're open to whatever direction they want to go, and we'll support them."
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the program was a great way for Defence staff to strengthen valuable relationships with Australian businesses.
"This truly national program is about backing Australian businesses and developing the commercial acumen of Defence staff," Ms Price said.
"We are matching secondees in each state and territory to hosts based on their skills and location to understand the daily pressures Aussie businesses face."