A shift of focus to the north

13 October 2023

The role of the 2nd (Australian) Division will focus on the defence of Australia’s north and offshore territories, in line with the recommendations of the Defence Strategic Review.

Commander 2nd (Australian) Division Major General David Thomae said the Defence Strategic Review provided a clearly defined task.

“We must generate, deploy and then sustain security and response task units to protect key areas in Australia’s north,” Major General Thomae said.

“We must be able to do so quickly or at least with minimal warning time - the Division must be able to fight tonight.

“The criticality of this mission cannot be overstated. The 2nd (Australian) Division must be ready to defend Australia and all that this entails.”

The largely part-time brigades of the 2nd (Australian) Division will maintain their locations across the country, with a primary focus on security response and supporting integrated force manoeuvre across the north of Australia.

Major General Thomae said there would be changes to force structure and training.

“As part of a wider restructure of the Army, the 2nd (Australian) Division will transfer all university regiments under command of the 8th Brigade (Training) to Forces Command in July 2024,” he said.

“This will allow the 2nd (Australian) Division to be more operationally focused.”

Meanwhile, the 9th Brigade in Adelaide will return to the 2nd (Australian) Division and remain a composite brigade of part-time and full-time personnel.

From 2025, it will change its role from an armoured combat brigade to a security and response brigade, with additional responsibility to support the development and integration of advanced and emerging technologies.

Several changes to the training model for Army Reserve soldiers are also being introduced to get new soldiers into their units faster.

“From August 25, the Army began trialing a 3+2 individual training model, providing three weeks of recruit training and two weeks of land combat training,” Major General Thomae said.

“This will be followed by collective training tailored and focused on homeland defence tasks.

“We must ensure that everything we do - the way we structure, train and equip ourselves - is focused on the task of protecting Australia, and this task only.”

As Commander of Joint Task Force 629, Major General Thomae said Army Reservists would play a key role in conducting domestic support operations, including humanitarian and disaster relief, with assistance from the regular Army and other services.

“The ADF has a wealth of recent experience in conducting operations in support of partner agencies, commencing with the 2019 and 2020 bushfires through to the COVID-19 response and, more recently, significant flooding events,” he said.

“It allowed the ADF to develop deep and continuing relationships with other government agencies and emergency services across the country.

“The 2nd Division has been tasked with homeland defence before, we have a proud history and this is absolutely a combat multiplier.

“We will leverage our history, not be tethered by it, and adapt again to ensure the division is ready to serve the country in whatever way its government and people ask of us.”



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