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Department of Defence


15/11/2010 MECC 101201/10




Land Warfare Conference Presentation


Delivered by MAJGEN John Caligari,

Head of Modernisation and Strategic Planning - Army



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Army is in the process of regaining stewardship of its modernisation. Not that we’ve been out of control completely since the Defence Efficiency Review (DER) reduced AHQ to 100 people 10 years ago, but we had only enough people to concentrate on the ‘wolf at the door’, being the effort involved in keeping today’s Army running and increasingly over that period sustaining an Army at war.  AHQ could devote only that staff effort which was remaining to the attention of our future. With the changes made as part of the Adaptive Army Campaign, Modernisation and Strategic Planning Division formed in January 2009. And since the last Land Warfare Conference (LWC), we have come a long way.


In this presentation I intend to:


  • briefly explain the developments in Army since the last LWC, esp wrt our serious reengagement with the Modernisation Processes in Defence
  • make some observations on what I personally see as the challenges in modernising the Army; and
  • detail what I expect will be my direction from CA to address these challenges, by identifying sustains, improves and fixes.




For those who might not be across the changes, let me quickly recap.


The first steps in the Adaptive Army Campaign Plan saw a realignment of the higher level Army command and control. Training Command was merged with Land Command to form Forces Command with a focus on aligning individual and collective training into the Army Training Continuum. Forces Command specifically now focuses on the Army’s foundation warfighting skills. Those foundation warfighting skills had degraded as a consequence of our necessity to concentrate on the preparation of forces for deployment, especially to Afghanistan. This was simply because our structure was not aligned to optimise management of the two most important tasks Army has – preparing forces for operations and foundation warfighting. We sacrificed the latter for the former because our structure and force generation model were inefficient. We fixed that with the realignment and we are well on the road to recovering our foundation warfighting skills, evidenced by the success of Exercise Hamel, conducted recently in North Queensland.


We have continued to pursue the highest standards for the preparation of forces for operations throughout this period of change and we have enhanced that preparation by focussing HQ 1st Division on operations. HQ 1st Division concentrates on preparing forces for operations with the conduct of mission specific training and mission rehearsal exercises; supporting HQJOC with planning and advice on the employment of land forces; directly supporting CA by exercising technical control over all deployed Army forces; and maintaining the skills and capacity to deploy as a joint task force HQ. Over the course of the next few years, the Deployable Joint Force HQ will also assume an increasingly important role in the standing up of Australia’s amphibious capability, and COMD DJFHQ has recently been appointed as the principle advisor to CN for the requirements for the conduct of the amphibious land force effect.


The last big muscle movements of this transformation occurred at the end of 2009, less than 12 months ago. All of this major change has gone particularly smoothly and there is overwhelming evidence that the concentration by functional command on operations and foundation warfighting has been very effective and is moving us in the right direction to do even better in the future as we learn from our experience.


The opportunity presented as a consequence of the changes described above was that we could do more to address the emerging pre-eminence of the role of CA as Capability Manager and to reconnect all of those elements of Army that lost some unity of direction and cohesion as a consequence of the Defence Efficiency Review. The role of CA in the capability development process was reinforced in 2008 by the findings of the Defence Procurement and Sustainment Review (commonly referred to as the Mortimer Review). Army has put itself in a good position with the formation of Modernisation and Strategic Planning Division in AHQ, which became a two star organisation in only Aug last year.


These fundamental and significant changes were the result of the effort of working groups established by the then recently announced and now Chief of Army LTGEN Ken Gillespie. The secret of the widespread and rapid acceptance was the consultation and debate that was encouraged. The solution was arrived at and agreed by CA at the same time. We have now institutionalised that model.


But what does MSP-A do for CA? AHQ has been divided into two divisions. DCA looks after the here and now and the sustainment of Army to achieve its mission today. I look after the development of Army to meet the requirements of tomorrow. The dividing timeframe is loosely from today out to 12 months and then beyond to the ADF’s “Force 2030”.


Modernisation and Strategic Planning Division identifies the aiming mark for Army’s modernisation through analysis and concept development, has that confirmed by CA each year and then plans out to 30 years for the delivery of the fundamental inputs to capability to progress toward the achievement of that objective force. The single most important document in Army’s modernisation efforts is the “Army Objective Force Handbook”. In simple terms, my team defines two things:

1.       First, the form and function required of Army as derived from the Defence References (for example, the Defence White Paper, Defence Planning Guidance, CDF Preparedness Directive, Capability Development Scenarios, Future Joint Operating Concept etc..); and

2.       Second, through an analysis of lessons, technology and other Defence and future assessments, while bearing in mind the legacy capabilities that will be in-service in the 10 to 30 year period from now, we define Army’s “Needs”.


This is an annual refinement process leading up to Defence Force Structure Reviews (FSR) conducted in the lead up to production of the Defence White Paper (now on a five year schedule) for prioritisation of Army’s Needs and the development of Requirements for the DCP.


So there is a front end of the modernisation process that revolves around concept development, analysis and experimentation to identify Army’s needs for the future, through to the monitoring and supervision of projects in the DCP through to successful introduction into service.


MSP Division’s contribution to the Capability Development Process is the shepherding of capability sponsored by Capability Development Group (CDG) and acquired by the Defence Material Organisation (DMO). Army does this through an examination of the often disparate projects through the lens of Army’s core land integrating primary systems (CLIPS). CA as the Capability Manager of a large number of projects in the DCP is responsible for identifying and alerting CDF and SEC of the possibility of ‘capability risk’. Capability Risk is the likelihood and consequence of capability being introduced into service that is less than what is needed to ensure integrity and effectiveness of any of Army’s systems to achieve directed tasks.


CA has identified Army’s modernisation priorities as:


      • The Combined Arms Fighting System
      • The Littoral Mobility System or better known as the Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment System
      • The Simulation System
      • The C4 System (or most importantly, The Digital Network)


The bottom Line is that Army has adapted in the last 18 months to take greater control of its own future through achieving its long held aspiration of being a concept led, capability based Army. 


DCD Process Observations


Prior to my appointment as Head of Modernisation, I had never been involved in the capability development process. It took me some time to appreciate the complexity of the business.


The most important lesson for me is that everything is a balance and requires the Chief of Army to exercise considerable judgement.


  • It’s a balance between COTS and MOTS versus development solutions. This balance equates to us soldiers as getting something sooner and therefore less likely to be old-hat when we get it, but having greater integration issues, versus waiting for what often seems to be an eternity to get something that ends up not necessarily being what we want because it’s taken so long.
  • It’s a balance between acquiring something that is expensive up front in capital and potentially less in sustainment costs versus something that is cheaper but has significantly greater implications for the other fundamental inputs to capability over time.
  • It’s a balance between acquiring a capability all at once that is a best fit across the entire Army with the expectation that we will not look to replace it for 10 years versus keeping the acquisition small and focussed on the differing needs within Army so that we buy less more often keeping the best capability with those who most need it, risking a greater number of disparate fleets. 


And there are many more balancing acts but these are the ones from which I will derive most of my observations.


In order to stay on time and focus on the big issues, I have stopped at 3 observations and have identified 3 x sustains, 3 x improves and 3 x fixes.


Observation 1: Army does not have the experience and knowledge to identify its own Gaps and Needs.

Army seldom knows what it Needs short of replacing what its got, or identifying better ways to crack the same problem. The old adage that Armies prepare to fight the last war is derived in part from this fact. In reality, Needs are determined by two things:

o        Firstly by the Threats – like being shot at from a distance that is beyond the capability of in-service weapons to effectively return fire. This is a Gap that needs to be filled! It’s even more evident when we work in coalitions where we see how other coalition forces are solving the same problem.

o        and Secondly by Opportunities – which reflects the innovation and potentially game changing technologies or capabilities which largely come from ideas from industry that do not necessarily have an obvious military application, esp. identified by ex-Servicemen and women in industry now. Many capabilities are developed for many different purposes, but the utility is quickly recognised by military professionals. The recent demonstration of multi-autonomous ground robots in Adelaide for the International Challenge conducted by DSTO and US RDECOM, is a classic example. It also highlights the importance to Army of events such as this Land Warfare Conference. But most significantly in my opinion it is the former servicemen and women in industry who are often the best placed to say “Army could use that!” because they know and see the opportunities that those of us still serving do not get the opportunity to see.


Observation 2: Requirements writing is not as easy as it sounds.

In the present process from Gap Analysis, to identifying Needs, to Requirement description, to options development, to selection and acquisition; there is real risk we will get the capability we asked for rather than the capability we Need, and it will cost more than it should have. It is in Defence’s interests that we keep the Requirement as broad and general as possible to ensure greater flexibility trading-off cost and capability in order to maximise value for money by maximising competition. Army must get better at getting involved with the cost capability trade-offs at the acquisition end of the process. DMO has an imperative to stick to the cost and schedule and Army has an imperative to ensure that our Need is filled with the equipment that we can turn into the best capability. This creates for us a “Requirement Specificity Conundrum”.  Capability Managers are often criticised for an ill-defined Requirement. CDG in fact writes the Requirement documents for CMs under the direction of Head Capability Systems to ensure consistency of capability across Defence’s Requirements, but CMs take ownership of that work.  If we write too specific a requirement, we get expensive equipment that is more difficult to achieve on cost and on schedule; which for Army means less than the required numbers of that equipment, because what we asked for is difficult to achieve. That’s my fault! If I write a loose requirement, concentrating only on that which is essential, in order to be able to help decide the trade-offs closer to acquisition time, Army runs the risk of getting something that meets the broad requirement but was not the equipment that Army could turn into the best capability. Again, my fault!


The Bottom Line is we can’t afford to define a requirement then sit back and wait for the outcome.


From my observation, major innovation is not with Defence as it was in previous wars. We should not be over specifying requirements as better and more innovative solutions are generally available in the commercial world. Technology innovation is coming from commercial realities of industry and competition. Who would have thought to write a Requirement for an iPad 5 years ago? We soldiers are now thinking iPad for all C4I feeds instead of the plethora of ruggedized laptops we currently carry around on the battlefield. However, this race to innovate among those who might provide capability solutions, means integration for us becomes more challenging - hence the rise of integration as a concern for all armies. I’ll cover integration as my third observation in a moment.


So why do we tend to write too specific a Requirement. There are two simple reasons:

  • Firstly, because we are routinely reminded that the quality and detail in our Requirement is the primary driver in minimising cost and schedule risk, and
  • Secondly, because Desk officers’ names and professional reputations are all over the work they produce and they are giving it the best shot at future proofing the capability to mitigate the risk of the technology and capability being out of date by the time it is introduced into service. There are examples of SO2s having worked on a project, turning up as CO to be in unit command when the capability is introduced. And guess what, it was not quite what he asked for 7 years ago!


I’ve got my team working hard to ensure the specificity of the Requirement is enough at the right time to keep the process moving towards acquisition, but not so much that the functional performance specifications derived from our requirement are so prescriptive that we limit the contenders and therefore the opportunity to trade-off characteristics of proposed solutions at the acquisition stage.


A simple example would be the trade-off between protection, weight and speed of a vehicle. When Army applies the best soldiers in the world to employ the equipment to make it a serious military capability these soldiers will develop the best tactics, techniques and procedures to operate it. It’s the equipment coupled with the trained soldiers and the developed TTPs that make the capability. Not all of the opportunities were recognised when a Requirement was written so far ahead of the introduction into service.


Observation 3: Integration is the biggest challenge.

Capability being acquired is requiring greater degrees of integration than at any time in our past. Every officer from the other Armies I have consulted in the last 12 months, who is the same game as me, recognises the same significant problem. This is Army’s biggest role and it begins when we write the Needs Statement. It’s become a bigger issue due to the increasingly complex systems being acquired, especially electronic and communications systems. The System of CLIPS I described above helps us keep the capability in perspective.


This is an area in which the key question of buying Australian or not arises. Often our perceived preference for buying US equipment arises from the concern that we need equipment that integrates best and given the size of the US Army, while they have by no means solved the integration problem, they have much that is designed to integrate better than anything else. We are often prepared to give up performance to have better integration. Couple that with our operational imperative to often work closely in coalition with the US. We would love nothing better for local industry to help us meet a Requirement, especially if the challenge of integration was well understood and risk is mitigated by taking the issues into consideration early in the development of the capability solution proposed. Unfortunately, my Requirement can only say words to the effect of “needs to integrate with….” But can’t say how that might be achieved. But that’s what we are looking for.


Unfortunately, while the technology innovation race throws up tremendous opportunities for doing our job better, it also brings with it the problems of being offered proprietary systems that require the dreaded ‘box’ to connect it to the other systems. This little bit of development required to make capabilities integrate, especially on the one Network, is our ‘Achilles heal’, and is a significant contributing factor to capability risk, not to mention schedule risk and cost overrun. Delays in receiving capability that integrates on arrival often causes capability risk, in that Army’s capability systems are not complete. An increase in cost invariably means Army needs to get innovative about how we employ the capability as we are no longer likely to get the numbers envisaged in our original concept for employment.


Army is working very closely with Land Systems Division and Electronic Systems Division of DMO to ensure the Digital Network is integrated across the dozens of projects that form or connect to it. Defence has had an NCW Roadmap since 2003 attempting to do the same thing from a Defence wide standpoint. This is the biggest and by far the most important integration issue.


Sustain, Improve Fix


With those 3 broad observations in mind, let me offer what I believe are the ‘sustains’, the ‘improves’ and the ‘fixes’ that Army needs to focus on in the next 12 months. I offer three of each.


What to Sustain


  1. Army needs to sustain our commitment to the Division split in AHQ in support of CA as CM. No brainer!
  2. Army needs to sustain the continual improvement of the Army Objective Force Handbook as the basis for Army’s intellectual argument and position for analysis in Force Structure Reviews. It needs to be the golden thread of logic that ties tasks, threat and environment to our form and function. The AOF.
  3. Army must sustain the effort to continue the Land Warfare Conference as this is where we have the opportunity to find out what we don’t know and see the potential to do our job better. In the coming weeks my Division will be inundated with good ideas from soldiers and commanders from what they see this week.


What to Improve


  1. Army needs to improve the application of a systems approach to Capability Development. We have begun the work to develop a systems approach to Army’s capability but its application can be more widely adopted. It is more than the old Battlefield Operating Systems as the list includes Army’s force generation systems. These systems are open systems and each capability will form components of a number of the systems. But it is already helping us to identify the issues that have in the past fallen between the DCP project cracks. We have developed 31 Core Land Integrating Primary Systems (referred to as CLIPS) and we are bringing all of our functions in Modernisation Division into line with these systems and CLIPPING each of our activities, in support of the development of the Army Objective Force Handbook, to these Systems. The application to date has already proven powerful and allowed us to seize opportunity we might not have seen without it. We will improve our use of this approach as we learn.
  2. Army needs to improve the methodology employed to identify our Needs. We need to establish a better way of interacting with those who have the potential to better understand Army’s Needs. Two examples of ways we do this now that can be improved are:

·         Firstly, by the formal establishment of an arrangement for ex-Servicemen and women to help Army identify its needs. In my view we could do with an organisation like the Association of the US Army (AUSA). The bottom line is that we need to ensure a closer relationship with former soldiers. I have always been taken by the US Marine Corps concept of “once a Marine, always a Marine”. We need an arrangement such as this to capitalise on the experience we have positioned in Industry to help us identify what we might Need. I have been struck in the past 12 months by the number of former soldiers in industry who have demonstrated a genuine interest in helping Army. They clearly understand what is in Army’s interests and they are enthusiastic to help.

·         And Army needs to improve the opportunity, indeed in my view institutionalise, the “Good Ideas Expo” which has seen a re-emergence in the last few years. This concept has been picked up and is being effectively employed in Army’s approach to the Strategic Reform Program. It’s a way of identifying the good ideas that come from the innovative solutions to problems encountered at the grass roots level of Army. Army can improve our capacity to discover the ideas and when appropriate and possible, act quickly to harvest them.

  1. My 3rd improve concerns the way we describe what we need. In particular, we need to better appreciate the implications of acquiring capability that is feasible now. We need to seek capability that will best integrate. Capability is more than the best equipment; it is what we do with it and how we man it. I am a strong believer in ‘learning by doing’. Let’s get the capability quicker and get it into the hands of soldiers to tell us how its best used, identify the problems and then set ourselves up for success in subsequent acquisitions. This Improve supports the concept described earlier of buying less more often. If we concentrated on buying less (ie not attempting to kit out the entire Army in one acquisition) and kept the Requirement at low technology risk (read easily integrated even if not the Rolls Royce capability that might be available on the market) in order to ensure a smooth ride through the acquisition process, we could learn from the introduction of the capability into service and utilise that information in acquiring the next tranche.


Finally, What to Fix


  1. Firstly, Army needs to institutionalise a Needs Document. We need to develop an Army Capability Needs Document (ACND) that represents CA’s intent and vision from which everyone subsequently involved in the process draws relevance. It needs to be version controlled and referred back to often to ensure for example options being developed address the actual need as articulated by the CA. This ACND must account for project interdependencies to ensure systems integration is accorded appropriate priority. It must drive the capability development process to a predilection for capability that integrates or CLIPS into Army. We’ve always had this responsibility for producing the ACND, and we will pick this up as a key task in 2011.
  2. Secondly, Army needs to address our involvement in the cost-capability trade-off decisions. We need to work closely with all levels of staff in CDG and DMO to ensure money and staff effort are optimised and risk is minimised, that’s all of Defence’s risk! This is particularly critical in Requirement writing. Army needs to ensure it provides sufficient detail to progress the capability development process and make sure we are involved when solutions are being tendered to such an extent that we can inform the selection criteria given the influences of the other fundamental inputs to capability that create the capability – especially trained soldiers and doctrine, organisation and TTPs.
  3. Thirdly, Army needs to explore the utility and implications for seeking a more adaptive acquisition strategy. There is an appetite for this across Defence now and we are all looking for a way to do it better. We need to ensure we incorporate flexibility in the scope to allow for technology upgrades. Where appropriate buy fewer (just in time) and employ an adaptive acquisition strategy, especially for technology that we know refreshes faster than our process currently allows us to acquire it. Along side this fix, is the work army will need to do internally to ensure soldiers and commanders understand the necessity not to acquire a capability for the entire Army and then wait for the next complete replacement. I think they are on the cusp of understanding that already.




I’ve attempted to cover the journey of Army Modernisation in the past 18months and give you an insight into what I see as my challenges in the next 18months. I am pleased to report we have made significant progress and in my view managed to assist the capability development process and those involved in it to do what we all want to do, make Army more capable to deal with the uncertainty of the future.


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pass on my views. I trust you found my perspective useful. I am looking forward to the challenges my Division faces. If we can achieve as much in the next 12 months as we have in the last 12, I think we’ll be doing very well.




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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