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Media Room: Defence Transcripts

Department of Defence


15/11/2010 MECC 101201/10





Chief of Army Opening Address to the

2010 Chief of Army Exercise


15 November 2010, Brisbane


Ladies and gentlemen, a very good afternoon and welcome to Brisbane and my Exercise for 2010. Could I open by stating how delighted I am with the international response to this year’s event and before getting under way, could I take a few moments to formally recognise a number of our key guests.


Introductory Remarks


First, let me extend a warm welcome to our key note speakers. To General Peter Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army - Sir, it is a real pleasure to see you here at this year’s conference and I am aware of the not insignificant challenges you overcame to join us today. For that, I thank you and I very much look forward to hearing you speak to us this afternoon on the topic of Transforming an Army in an Era of Persistent Conflict.


From Canada, I’d like to welcome Major General Alan Howard, Assistant Chief of the Land Staff, Canadian Army. Al, as a similar sized force to the Australian Army, many of us here will be listening closely to your address tomorrow about the operational lessons and strategic impacts on the Canadian Army from your Afghanistan experience.


From Indonesia, Lieutenant General J. Suryo Prabowo, the Vice Chief of the Indonesian Army Staff. Bapak, we are delighted that you can join us. We’re looking forward to your presentation tomorrow on Whole-of-Government responses to national security challenges, including TNI’s critical role in Indonesia’s counter terrorism operations, will I’m sure, provide some excellent insights from you.  


Moving on from the key note speakers, could I also welcome to the conference my Service Chief and Army Commander counterparts: General Meas Sophea from Cambodia, General Datuk Zulkifeli from Malaysia, LTGEN Chen Yong from China and Colonel Haji Yussof from Brunei.  The Australian Army has much to learn from the experiences and perspectives of our friends and allies as we discuss the central issues around the theme of our conference.  Gentlemen, the outcomes of our discussions will be all the richer from your presence and contributions over the next few days, and I hope that many of the perspectives and viewpoints you will hear expressed will have equal importance for your respective Army’s as they do to ours.


The senior representation we have at this conference from our friends in the region and from around the globe is also particularly pleasing. 


  • From Thailand, GEN Teeravat Boonyapradub, the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army. 
  • From Vietnam, LTGEN Nguyen Quoc Khanh, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff.  
  • From India, LTGEN Pradeep Khanna, the Commander of the Southern Army. 
  • And from South Korea, LTGEN Cho, Jung Whan, The Vice Chief of Staff of the Republic of Korea Army. 

Gentlemen, a warm welcome to Brisbane and please accept my personal and very warm welcome to my Exercise.


I am also delighted to have in attendance senior representatives and delegations from other nations including: Singapore, East Timor, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom.  It is to our collective benefit that you are here to share your services’ insights and experiences in tackling this year’s Exercise topic.  Not only will we hear some wonderful central presentations in this audience, but I am very much looking forward to the extensive bilateral discussion program over the next few days which will allow us to discuss these issues in more detail. 


May I also extend a warm welcome to those non-Army representatives of the Australian Department of Defence, other government departments, and to the officers of the Australian Army and the wider Australian Defence Force. It is good to see you all assembled here.


I would also point out at this time that starting at the Convention Centre later this week is the 2010 Land Warfare Conference. This year’s conference theme is Full Spectrum Threats: Adaptive Responses. A number of keynote addresses will be given by industry and Defence leaders and capability experts. There are also plenary sessions and working groups programmed into what promises to be a highly valuable and stimulating event. Many of the conference topics, including soldier modernisation, sustainability and emerging technology, are of direct and immediate relevance to CA’s Exercise 2010 and I commend the conference program and the industry displays to you, starting Wednesday.


Standing here this afternoon, I am reminded of my first CA exercise as Chief, which was held at this very venue in October 2008. The theme then was Conflict in the 21st Century - Defining the next big thing for Army and one of our focus areas was an exploration of the ‘A War’ versus ‘The War’ proposition. It’s a proposition I am sure occupies the minds of many of you. To distil this issue down to a single output vision, I would contend that the vision would surely be the balanced and adaptive force. This term captures that most enduring tension Armies the world over must address if they are to successfully meet the expectations of their nations. That is to say, Armies need to remain responsive to the challenges of today, the warnings of tomorrow and the uncertainty of the future.


Adaptive Responses to Complex Environments


This year’s conference theme then, Current Operations: Adaptive Responses to Complex Environments is, in a manner of speaking, complimentary to the 2008 exercise. I suspect that both themes and the numerous attendant issues they broadly encompass are central to what many of us here deal with as part of our day-to-day business.


Since 2008, the Australian Army has been instituting a series of wide-ranging and deep structural reforms designed to deliver greater responsiveness and agility to our command and control, force generation and force preparation processes. These reforms have been fundamental to my focus on ensuring that our balance between supporting current operations and our preparedness to win the joint land battles of the future is indeed the right balance. Under these reforms, Army’s posture will be a permanent state of adaptation, centred upon our people, who will remain our enduring number one priority. There is no question that Army’s people are our most valuable asset and I’ll make some specific remarks about this towards the end of my address. The majority of you will be aware that collectively, the reforms we have embarked upon are known as the Adaptive Army initiative.


In the period between the two conferences, we have released a capstone document titled “Adaptive Campaigning Future Land Operating Concept” or AC-FLOC which offers both a vision of the future and our response to future conflict. AC-FLOC establishes the trend lines for the future global security environment, and Army’s future operating environment, as well as its concept for dealing with both. It also lays out the conceptual and philosophical framework and force modernisation guidance to Army that will ensure it is ready to meet the demands of the future. Its comprehensive description of how the future Land Force is to be modernised to undertake directed and future tasks, both anticipated and unexpected, is an essential context for our commanders, planners and our modernisation staffs.


I also note the release in December last year of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Capstone Concept (which is titled: Operational Uncertainty: Operating Under Conditions of Uncertainty and Complexity in an Era of Persistent Conflict), and the subsequent release of its Army Operating Concept in August this year. Both documents make important contributions to the broader balancing debate. I know that other Armies are also developing and refining their concepts and doctrine in ways that will guide how their organisations implement operational adaptability. I suspect that to varying degrees, all of us here are dedicating ourselves to a non-stop process of learning and up-skilling as we respond to the changing environment.    


Last but certainly not least, in the intervening year between the two CA’s exercises, the Australian Government released its latest strategic guidance in the form of the 2009 Defence White Paper, titled Force 2030. In the most comprehensive and wide-raging review undertaken by an Australian government in the modern era, the white paper delivers the framework for our capability developments out to the year 2030, as well as including their funding arrangements.


The 2009 white paper also charts the broad contours of the future operating environment in which the ADF may be required to work over the coming two decades. But like the efforts of any other government, think tank, or academic institution, the document faces the philosophical problem of attempting to successfully predict future requirements. Despite the future being inherently unpredictable, this Defence White Paper and Army’s capstone concept for the Land Force both, I believe, posit a sufficiently robust future context with enough accuracy for the Army to adapt and modernise appropriately. I think that British historian Sir Michael Howard’s assertion more than three decades ago that (and I quote) ‘that aspect of military science demanding most focus is the capacity to adapt oneself to the utterly unpredictable, the entirely unknown’ (end quote), remains very relevant for us today.[1]  


So with that as the backdrop, let me make some remarks about what I see as Army’s approach to adaptation in complex environments.


For any Army to assume a truly adaptive stance that allows it to succeed when confronted with complexity, everyone within the organisation must embrace the ‘adaptation mindset.’ In Australia’s case, that is from myself and the rest of my senior leadership team, all the way down to the rifleman undertaking his duties at Multi-National Base Tarin Kowt or the signaller supporting a training exercise in Cultana. If we are going to be effective now and into the future everyone, at every level, must be prepared to embrace an adaptive approach to the very nature of their business, committing to the process of regular renewal. This includes cultural renewal. While of course the Australian Army operates on a different scale from a number of the armies represented here today, I do think that in this regard, the character of the problems most of us face daily is not dissimilar.


When you are seeking to change an entrenched mindset, you must first change the institutional culture. For Army, this needs to begin as early as our members’ first exposure to military life at our training centres and schools. The requirement to think adaptively should be a constant fixture of the experiences we give our officers and soldiers as they move through our training continuums. I’d contend that those men and women in uniform who genuinely embrace an adaptive culture represent the most powerful force an Army has at its disposal. And agility in an army is a very good thing indeed.


This past decade has been an extremely busy time for the Australian Army. Some commentators might observe that, as a relatively small army, our recent high operational tempo should discourage us from undertaking fundamental structural and cultural change. Indeed, it might well be argued that is not in our immediate interest, and worse, distracting from current operations. But in actual fact, (and our Defence White Paper notes this) the current tempo of operations is unlikely to reduce over the next decade.


Therefore we cannot afford to wait for a more benign security environment to emerge before considering and then implementing change. Indeed, much of the conventional wisdom points to a sustained period of uncertainty, consistent with the missions that currently see our personnel deployed to locations from Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Solomon Islands and East Timor, to Lebanon and the Sudan.


For our armed forces, the notion of the complex operating environment is now a permanent fixture of our training and operations. In contemporary conflicts, we are witnessing the ever-increasing compression of time; the battlefield is more cluttered with state and non-state actors vying for influence; and the battlespace itself is becoming evermore disaggregated. General Krulak’s 1997 ‘three-block war’ concept – prescient at the time – has, probably, in just a relatively short period lost a couple of blocks, as our soldiers support the delivery of humanitarian assistance, convene shuras, undertake the training of local security forces, and clear compounds and wadis, almost simultaneously in close proximity.


Indeed, the Defence White Paper suggests that while we may need to extend our current capabilities, we should anticipate that the tasks currently expected of us by government will very much be a part of our future operational landscape.


While I am not responsible for the day to day command and control of our deployed operations – that function is overseen by our Commander of Joint Operations – my responsibility to raise, train and sustain the Land Force is, I think, every bit as challenging. It’s a challenge that I see in two fronts: that is firstly, the sustained provision of support to current operations; and secondly, in ensuring the Army that our nation requires in five years time is well under construction and also on track to be postured to respond to the yet-to-be-identified security challenges of 2030.


So we have to equip, train, learn, test and adjust forces today, to be prepared for what the government currently requires of us, and what it is yet to ask of us. This is my principle task as Chief and it goes to the very core of the ‘balancing’ challenge’. The total Army, as a 48,000 strong, modern and networked fighting force, has got to be an organisation that is constantly on the move, ready to transform itself, ready to take on new ideas. It is about ‘modernisation in contact’. And it is most certainly about avoiding what Professor Colin Grey calls “presentism.”


Nonetheless, it is absolutely right that we focus an enormous amount of our efforts into supporting our soldiers in the current fight. Our reviews under Adaptive Army revealed much about our strengths and weaknesses in the generation and preparation of personnel and organisations for current operations. I concluded that we needed a more systematic approach to adaptation with our current force preparation and force generation processes.


Consequently, the Army today is training under cycles based on immediate, short, medium and long term learning loops, and it is guided by a new, unified Army training continuum. This training continuum represents a significant opportunity for developing Army’s overall strengths. It has been developed in a way that seeks to implement those concepts inherent in an adaptive Army along a continuum of training and education.


Importantly, the concept of learning loops recognises that Army’s IQ does not reside solely with me or Army’s senior leadership.  The answers to many of the problems we face today lie in the collective knowledge of all of Army’s soldiers and officers.  And we’re looking for more and more ways to harness this collective knowledge.  Our battleboards held in Army Headquarters to discuss force sustainment and capability issues now regularly dial into theatre through VTC to ensure we get the latest views and perspectives from those experts ‘on the ground’. I’ve taken steps to ensure our people who have recently returned from operations come back to key positions in capability development and equipment procurement where their recent operational experience and ideas can be capitalised upon.  And our Facebook page has over 70,000 fans, many of them soldiers, but a great deal of them the spouses, families and friends of soldiers who use social media as a way of keeping up to date with what’s going on in Army.  We have a long way to go, but I am pleased that we have started the journey of unlocking the potential of our entire organisation.


Our ability to capture and learn these lessons is being driven by the Land Combat Readiness Centre which was recently established as part of the re-rolling of our 1st Division Headquarters. Under the leadership of Major General Mick Slater, the Commander of the 1st Division, this new training centre is set to become the Land Force centre of excellence in mission specific training, mission rehearsal exercises, and operational certification. It is, in part, adding to wider efforts to make greater use of computer simulation and more realistic replication of the physical operating environment.


A key component of the Land Combat Readiness Centre is the Adaptive Warfare Cell which integrates the immediate and short learning loop into the Division’s deployment cycle.  Seven Operational Adaptive Directives and 14 Operational Adaptive Notes have been issued based on operational deficiencies and suggested remedies. These are short term, quick turn around initiatives which allow us to incorporate the latest trends, lessons and observations from our current operations into our force preparation training here in Australia – our ‘immediate and short learning loops’. Operational lessons and insights are also being passed down to our officer and soldier training establishments for discussion and debate. I take heart that these conversations are now underway in our military classrooms among the very officers and soldiers who, in a very short period, will be responsible for prosecuting the operations they debate in training.  


Now this in itself is not a novel approach to force preparation. But through these new organisations and the unified training continuum, we’ve sought the rapid migration and integration of lessons between operational theatres in response to emerging threats. We’re also capturing the latest operational experiences through the use of Adaptive Warfare Teams which travel into theatre around the mid-way mark of a deployed force’s tour to capture the immediate feedback from the actual troops in contact. The data is collected from the deployed forces in all phases from pre-deployment through to their return and re-integration. I see this as vital to the maintenance and retention of an agile and adaptive combat-ready force.


Army is well on the path to inculcating, in a systematic fashion, adaptive responses to complex environments. But there is much more to be done.  For example, we need to take steps to get more of our soldiers access to the DRN, our most widely used restricted network, either at their work locations or remotely.  I also believe that there is great potential in harnessing the benefits of web-based, 3 and 4G technologies.  Much of the information we use on a day to day basis requires limited encryption and the wider use of these technologies holds considerable benefits for our communications overheads.  We simply must get our people more ‘joined up’ if we are to harness their potential and inculcate a culture that we’re seeking.


Our new training continuum secures an investment in core war-fighting skills in parallel with our ongoing commitment to supporting operations. And, as it is designed to enhance the transparency of the entire training regime within Army, I can now reduce the training and resource duplication which had become commonplace in our pre-Adaptive Army structures and processes.  The recently concluded Exercise HAMEL was illustrative of this fact.


The Forces Commander, Major General David Morrison, has just completed Exercise HAMEL in North Queensland. The exercise was designed to test the 3rd Brigade, augmented by significant ISTAREW, aviation and logistic elements, in the full spectrum of operations. Emphasis was given to joint land combat in a complex environment with many diverse population groups. Its aim was to enhance Army's ability to fight and defeat a near peer and technologically adept adversary. It has 'raised the bar' for our units soon to deploy on operations.  Equally importantly, this major training activity was funded entirely from within the Forces Command Budget – not a single additional cent was provided from wider Army resources. Major General Morrison is continuing to focus on these matters and I expect that there will be further improvement in how we manage our individual and collective training continuum.   


Our force structures need to be adaptive, iterative and constantly challenged. For Army, the issue of harnessing the force structure challenge is essential if we want to ensure that our capabilities are properly considered and acquired inside of the tight fiscal guidance given to us by government. In this way, we have a stronger chance of ensuring that the early engagements of our future conflicts can be decisive in our favour. It also means that Army is better prepared to rapidly adapt to deal with such engagements as they transition into the next ‘The War’. 


For this reason, Army is currently undertaking a body of work, known as Plan BEERSHEBA, which will inform us what structures will best enable us to meet our ongoing operational commitments while accepting into service new capabilities such as our combined arms fighting system, amphibious platforms and B vehicle fleet.  It is based on a comprehensive scan of factors including future threat and operating environments, government white paper guidance, lessons from operations and training, optimal deployment / rest ratios and the requirement to sustain our foundation warfighting skills.  I see Plan BEERSHEBA as very much the next phase of our Adaptive Army initiative and it will be further developed through 2011.


As I have mentioned, our approach to training and education has, naturally, been shaped by present operations in Afghanistan. This is both important and right. After all, this is Australia’s most significant current militarily strategic challenge. If we are underprepared theoretically, doctrinally, and materially for a complex insurgency problem, we cannot realistically expect to meet or indeed exceed our government’s expectations. But this is not to be confused with achieving the strategic objective. Indeed the strategy should never be hostage to the trends and fads of the expanding military lexicon we use to explain the changes we observe in modern warfare. Yes, the characteristics of conflict change, but its nature does not. Adaptive armies need to recognise this paradigm and successfully plan and operate within it.


So clearly, there are some real challenges ahead, including the ever-present funding constraints. With the opportunity we now have under SRP, Army must unlock savings to reinvest in future capability requirements, and off-set projected costs associated with vital high priority and high-end capabilities earmarked by the government’s latest white paper. This process of funds reinvestment will play a significant part in safe-guarding Army’s capabilities now and in the years to come. And it must be done with ruthless efficiency if we are to remain relevant on current and future battlefields.  


I have briefly highlighted the urgency of getting us onto a permanent adaptive footing. No less challenging is preparing the Adaptive Army to operate with and among new and emerging technologies. Improving the sensor/shooter interface, enhancing distributed information-sharing systems, and using new, web-based applications to rapidly communicate, retain and share knowledge, are but a few of the innumerable commercial and military technology innovations that we must understand and where feasible utilise.


Our defence force must also continue to invest time, resources and human capital in growing our cyber and space-related capabilities. This will impact upon Army’s capability in ways we’re yet to fully conceive. Yet an adaptive Army should know implicitly where and how technological advancements will afford it advantage on the battlefield, and where it will not.


A further challenge is the pace and scale of our internal transformation. Not only is Army changing structurally through the implementation of Adaptive Army, we’re about to undergo a period of major re-equipping. In a few short years, we will accept into service new amphibious ships giving Australia a true amphibious capability; we are replacing our entire light vehicle and armoured vehicle fleets; introducing new artillery systems; bringing into service new helicopters and watercraft; and rolling out capabilities to enhance battlefield digitisation. These remain key areas for consideration in Plan BEERSHEBA.


Adaptive Responses to Support Our People


But for me and for Army’s commanders at every level, the single most important challenge to developing a world-class adaptive Army that is properly enabled to win the joint land battle is not the unrelenting focus upon new platforms, communications, weapons and sensors - the tactile elements of war.  It is the challenge of realising the full potential of our people. This potential must accommodate a more fundamental and comprehensive approach to developing the entire moral, physical and intellectual realms of the human dimension. In short, our people hold the key to the success of an adaptive Army and it’s important that I spend some time to address this subject now.


We ask a great deal of our people and their families through our deployments, training and exercises and in the rigours of Army life.  This year has been particularly tough with the tragic deaths of 10 of our soldiers in Afghanistan and the significant wounding of many more.  In attending the funerals of these soldiers, I was also taken by the amazing compassion, grace, pride and bravery of each and every family associated with them.  They have been a source of great inspiration and example to me and those who have been around them.  Despite their grief, all have shown wonderful support for our deployed troops and our Institution.  For these reasons, it is essential that we develop pragmatic and comprehensive programs that support the ‘emotional contract’ we make with our soldiers and their families as they deal with these many and varied challenges.


To that end, we have developed a range of strategies that deal with the delivery of mental health training to leaders of all ranks, and provide more supportive processes for members with mental health conditions as well as their families. This strategy also addresses the impact on our soldiers, their families and the wider Army family of substance abuse. I want to mention a few things that relate particularly to how we are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress and substance abuse, including the misuse of alcohol.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is not a new problem. Indeed, its causal linkages to military operations have been well chronicled throughout history. But until relatively recently, we had not paid sufficient attention to this invisible mental injury, an injury that affects not only our soldiers but their spouses and families. And until only very recently, our culture did not make much allowance for a soldier’s combat injuries unless they were the kind that bled.


In 2009, Defence commissioned Professor David Dunt from the University of Melbourne to conduct a major review of our mental health services. His findings indicated an urgent need for the organisation to address the mental health issues of ADF personnel. Consequently, almost $90 Million has been allocated over three years to reform and enhance the ADF Mental Health Strategy. For Army’s part, as well as fully supporting the introduction of the recommended mental health networks, we are introducing and refining a number of mental health packages, including ‘Keep Your Mates Safe’ (covering alcohol misuse and suicide awareness), ‘BattleSMART’ (Self Management and Resilience Training), Critical Incident Mental Health Support and other mental health and peer support packages.


Part of Army’s PTSD initiative includes improving mental health literacy and resilience, as well as developing health promotion materials and increasing and up-skilling our mental health workforce. We are also seeking to emphasise that retention and treatment of our soldiers is of paramount concern. We’ve formalised the conduct of welfare boards to ensure the personal wishes and views of our soldiers and their families are considered in the development of treatment and rehabilitation plans.  We’ve brought together a range of our wounded soldiers in a ‘Wounded Digger Forum’ to gain a better understanding of the issues these soldiers and their families face as they undergo treatment.  And we’re to starting to ensure we have the processes and support structures in place to support our soldiers if and when they decide it is time to separate from the service.


One of the first projects in the mental health literacy program is the development of a PTSD DVD to reduce ignorance about the condition and to educate members and their families about how, when and where to seek assistance.


Can I remark just briefly on what the United States Army is doing in this area. General Chiarelli himself is leading that Service’s efforts in addressing its struggle with suicide, brain injury, post traumatic stress, depression and substance abuse. His release several months ago of the 2010 Army Health Promotion Risk Reduction Suicide Prevention Report starkly lays out the challenges the US Army faces in this area, as well as strategies for addressing them. It is unquestionably to the US military’s great advantage that both the Army’s report, and the intervention and out-reach programs, are of such pressing importance to its most senior leaders. I also note the British Armed Forces’ ‘Fighting Fit: a Mental Health Plan’ has been very strongly endorsed by the recently published Strategic Defence and Security Review.  


Undiagnosed PTSD can break our soldiers. The less severe cases can leave soldiers irritable, dislocated and disconnected. They are also more likely to withdraw and suffer from sleeplessness and fatigue. Their psychological resilience to everyday challenges and pressures is lower. More severe episodes can lead to domestic violence, marital breakdowns and substance abuse, and it is to the latter (and alcohol misuse in particular), that I will now turn.


The problematic use of alcohol within the Australian Army remains extremely concerning. The short and long-term effects of alcohol abuse have been well documented for many years. Yet within our Organisation, a minority continues to struggle in their responsible management of alcohol. As pointed out in the National Alcohol Strategy, the paradoxical affinity that Australians have for a drug that is harmful to so many, so often, has become the hallmark of many of the nation’s drinking cultures. Indeed, looking to our past, the Army has been one of Australia’s most ardent national institutions to condone if not actively promote a drinking culture. But let me say: this is a culture we’re determined to change.


Within Australia, the statistics on alcohol abuse and alcohol-related injury are indeed troubling. Alcohol is the nation’s third leading cause of disability, accounting for 5% of the total disease burden. The total financial cost, as quoted by the Australian Drug Foundation is estimated to be in excess of $15.3 billion annually, which on a per-person basis is nearly $8,000 each year for every man, woman and child. The Australian Army is far from immune to the problems of binge drinking.


Our obligations to our people means we must do as much as we can to reduce the number of alcohol related incidents. It involves actively seeking to change the thinking and culture that supports the idea that our people can drink excessively without consequence. It involves promoting a stronger awareness and understanding about what constitutes the responsible consumption of alcohol. It involves commanders at all levels actively and regularly educating our people on the far reaching consequences of irresponsible drinking. No longer can we accept alcohol related injuries as tragic accidents. They are not and they can not be tolerated if we are to continue to invest in our people as Army’s most important asset.




Ladies and gentlemen, I know that I have covered a lot of ground this afternoon. But I hope I have been able to give you a clearer sense for the approach we’re taking toward adapting our force in the face of the modern operations. For most of us, the capacity and the extent to which we can institutionalise enduring adaptive approaches to these environments will be guided by a multitude of factors and influences. Chief among them will be the willing mindset and commitment of our members, the agility and responsiveness of the Organisation to change and the information systems which allow us to capture the true potential of our entire organisation. Our members need to have sufficient confidence in their training, organisational structures, equipments and capabilities, and their leaders, if they are to embrace our desired end-state for an Adaptive Army.


Our people must also know the Army will support them in a manner that ensures they are mentally prepared for the operational challenges ahead. They must also know it will be there to support them after their missions end. Supporting our mental health strategies includes an improvement in resilience training in our training institutions. This will ensure our soldiers are mentally tough and best prepared for the arduous physical and psychological challenges of contemporary operations.


Whatever the mission, the extent to which we successfully adapt will be based around a foundation of core skills, achieved and sustained individually and collectively across Army. These skills must be broad enough to allow commanders to prepare for operations anywhere across the spectrum of conflict and, at the same time, are kept relevant to the needs of the current Army through a rigorous validation against current and likely operations. I believe that only a balanced force with an adaptive culture can meet these objectives.  As many of you have heard me say before – An Army which contemplates the concept of change fatigue is on its way to military defeat.

[1] Howard, “Military Science in the Age of Peace”, Chesney Memorial Gold Medal Lecture, October 03, 1973, printed in RUSI Journal (March 1974)


Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946
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