The Australian Defence Force will seek to create its own Apple-like app store as a means to more quickly deliver applications and capabilities to service and support personnel.\nAccording to Defence chief information officer, Greg Farr, the highly influential and pervasive consumerisation of IT trend has affected all sectors of all sectors of government and the economy \u2013 including Defence.\nAs such, armed forces personnel were now using not only using smartphones in the field, but sourcing applications from commercially available sources \u2014 such as the Apple App Store \u2014 to help them carry out their roles.\nThe response to this trend, Farr said, was for Defence to enable its personnel to create the applications they needed to get their jobs done.\n\u201cI believe Defence needs an app store,\u201d Farr said, speaking at an Australian Computer Society (ACS) conference on government IT. \u201cI think we need to have that environment in-house where people can develop those apps and use them.\n\u201cNow there is a number of issues around it, but I can see that in the next one to two years that Defence will have an app store where \u2014 not people in the IT shop necessarily \u2014 but real business users who have a real business need will spend a couple of days developing an app.\u201d\nFarr said that as Defence CIO, he had the option of attempting to push back against the consumerisation trend and to regain control over ICT use. However, to do so risked sidelining the IT function within defence or worse.\n\u201cWe can try to stop [the consumerisation of IT] or accept that this is the new world,\u201d he said. \u201cWe can try and stop that world, but if we do we risk becoming irrelevant. I think that is the challenge for us all is to actually show we can contribute value as a business enabler and not be a blocker.\u201d\nProviding an example of consumerisation within the defence sector, Farr pointed to the US military and the use by some of its personnel of a ballistics calculator application to allow to more accurately determine the trajectory of rifle shots.\n\u201cYou can buy it from the App Store and it will cost you $14.95. You can pull it down and use it immediately,\u201d he said.\nCommenting further \u2014 and with potentially major implications for Defence\u2019s massive ICT strategic reform program \u2014 Farr hinted that the days of major software deployments across Defence could be limited.\n\u201cI spoke to a group of systems integrators recently and told them, \u2018you think you\u2019re competing against each other? You are competing against [the App Store]\u2019,\u201d he said.\n\u201cWhy would someone spend 12 months working through with you, at enormous expense then take another year or two years to deliver an application at millions and millions of dollars when I can go to the App Store and pull down an application for $10.\n\u201cThat is the environment people expect and you cannot stop them using it. They are doing it at home so they will do it at work.\u201d\nFarr said he did anticipate some push back from within Defence to the idea, largely around the issue of IT security. However, he said that while security was valid concern, risk had to be balanced against business reward.\n\u201cI think security is sometimes overblown a bit. We take a purist view without actually doing a business-benefit-security trade-off. People, rightly, get nervous around ICT security, but people used to steal letters out of letter boxes on the past that didn\u2019t stop us using the post.\n\u201cWe need to accept that the threats are very real, but we also need people who can make informed trade-offs decisions: yes, that is a risk but look at the benefits, so yes I will take that risk.\u201d\nThe issue of security threats to Australia\u2019s defence has been a focus for the Federal Government of late with the Gillard Government unveiling a cyber security competition earlier this month aimed at enticing ICT university students into the information security industry.\nThe Cyber Defence University Challenge is designed to test the problem-solving skills of teams of Australian undergraduates in a virtual computer network scenario. It will run for 24 hours from the 3 to 4 April 2012.\nIn January Australia was ranked third behind the UK and US and ahead of 17 other G-20 nations for its ability to withstand cyber attacks and to deploy the digital infrastructure needed for a productive and secure economy.