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Second Battle of El Alamein – The Lost Manoeuvrist Battle?

September 10th, 2017 by Daniel Hebditch

The Second Battle of El Alamein was the decisive battle of the North African campaign fought between the Allied 8th Army and the Axis Panzerarmee Afrika over 23 October to 4 November 1942. Its significance was feted, a touch inaccurately, ...

Partners In Innovation: Observations From ‘Across The Ditch’

September 3rd, 2017 by Gareth Rice

This year I was fortunate enough to attend the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) second annual Army Innovation Competition at Linton Military Camp. The competition formed the centerpiece of a recent drive in the NZDF to promote an innovative military ...

Conversation Starter – Goodbye To All That

August 29th, 2017 by Richard Barrett

Goodbye to all that [1] There comes a time in every career when we will ‘soldier no more’. When one or both parts of the relationship between Army and the individual is no longer suitable, tenable or desired. As long ...

DEF Aus Forum 2017 – Idea Pitchers Webinar, Mon 18 Sep 1900hrs AEST

August 27th, 2017 by DEF Aus Committee

Are you a creative or innovative ADF member? Have you been tracking the launch of the DEF Aus Forum 2017? Seen the #defaus17 hashtag starting to trend? Got an idea that you think you want to pitch, but you’re not ...

#DEFAUS17 Idea Pitch – Gamefying Individual Readiness

August 24th, 2017 by Solomon Birch

  Some kinds of inevitable change are hard to notice, in the same way that while walking through a forest the type of trees might slowly change until you’re actually walking in a completely different type of forest without realising ...

Australian Tactical Design: Development and Use of Decisive Events

August 13th, 2017 by Luke Dawson and Benjamin Gray

War is a science covered with shadows in whose obscurity one cannot move with an assured step. Routine and prejudice, the natural result of ignorance, are its foundation and support. Maurice de Saxe – My Reveries Upon the Art of ...

Aide Memoire – Advising and Mentoring Foreign Militaries

August 10th, 2017 by Nicholas Wilson

60 tips to become a more effective advisor Advising and mentoring foreign militaries has been carried out by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as far back as the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force’s occupation of German New Guinea in ...

Close Infantry Assault

August 6th, 2017 by Ted Taber

The key to Army’s success on our next battlefield will be ensuring we pay adequate attention now, and applying enough resources to institutionalise these lessons so we don’t have to learn the hard way. LTCOL N [1] The survivability of the ...

Death From Above – Armoured Mortar System

August 6th, 2017 by Frank Tamsitt

Death from above or a crude weapon for a crude war? The utility of the armoured mortar system in future warfare The future operating environment will be violent and chaotic with military forces deploying the latest lethal technologies alongside weaponry of the past ...

The Busy Platoon Commander’s Reading List

August 3rd, 2017 by Chris Hall

There are many reading lists available to the military professional and an increasing focus on Professional Military Education within Army. These reading lists are a treasure trove of suggestions from more senior leaders who have had time to gradually read ...

Book Review – The Human Face of War by Jim Storr

August 3rd, 2017 by Chris Hall

Any army would be better if its officers displayed a more questioning attitude to their profession. Jim Storr Jim Storr’s The Human Face of War is a highly readable companion to doctrine that explores not just what to do in warfare ...

Driving Innovation Forward: Why Tempo Is Everything

August 2nd, 2017 by Tim Jones

A commander must accustom his staff to a high tempo from the outset and continually keep them to it. If he once allows himself to be satisfied with norms, or anything less than an all-out effort he gives up the ...

Command and Leadership – Fit to Fight

July 30th, 2017 by David McCammon

“Australian Soldiers identify with their Battalion. It’s indeed their family: it leads, feeds, clothes, directs and exhausts them. Its veins are its Sections and Platoons, its limbs the companies. It has the capacity to inspire their actions, to drive them ...

The Humble Gardener — A Leadership Reflection on McChrystal’s Team of Teams

July 30th, 2017 by Steve Cotterill

Trust, Common Purpose, Shared Consciousness, and Empowered Execution  “Few of us are criticised if we faithfully do what has worked many times before.” General McChrystal [i] As I have now made the decision to leave the military and seek a new ...

Return to the Jungle: a Renaissance of Close Country Warfare

July 27th, 2017 by James Lewis

The Indo‐Pacific region is in a period of unprecedented transformation, accelerated by the shifting distribution of economic and political power[i]. The importance of the Indo-Pacific to Australian security cannot be overstated and the Army must prepare to conduct operations in ...

Transformation of War – Mortal Violence for Rational Ends

July 26th, 2017 by Mark Mankowski

War is simply a continuation of political intercourse, with the addition of other means Carl von Clausewitz And the nature of the case [the war against the Persians] first compelled us to advance our empire to its present height; fear being ...

Chief of Army’s Futures Day – 28 September 2017

July 24th, 2017 by Clare O'Neill

What does the future hold for Army? How will Army fight in the Future Operating Environment? How can Army best respond to both the opportunities and challenges posed by emergent and disruptive technologies? How do we hone the cognitive edge ...

DEF Australia Letters from Talisman Sabre: The Four Currencies of War

July 13th, 2017 by Tom McDermott

Introduction: Ex TALISMAN SABRE and the Beast The Australian military is about to conduct its largest multi-national amphibious operation since the landing of the 7th Australian Division in Balikpapan, Borneo in 1945. Over the next two weeks 33,000 Australian, American, ...

Book Review: Team of Teams – New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

July 9th, 2017 by Brendan Robinson

Do you work in an organisation where the pursuit of getting more from less is the ultimate goal? Have you always thought that one action determines the next? If your answer is yes, maybe it’s time to face up to ...

Developing Blended Learning: A Digital Learning Platform for Army

July 6th, 2017 by David Caligari and Katherine Mansted

A career officer [or soldier] is going to school as long as he [or she] lives. General Matthew Ridgway & Harold H. Martin, Soldier: The Memoirs of Matthew B Ridgway, 1956, p. 27 Army should harness the potential of the ...

Learning from the Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List

July 5th, 2017 by Matthew Dirago

Introduction The Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List (CPRL) is published annually, providing books ‘most pertinent for professional development and critical thinking at each level’. It is a comprehensive list organised into: Commandant’s choice which all Marines must read, and ...

Pragmatic Innovation for Military Strength – DEF Aus 17

July 2nd, 2017 by Clare O'Neill

BLUF: Access DEF Aus 17 Booklet here. Introduction – Who we are There is a culture of innovation and professional curiosity running through the veins of our defence force. We see it when junior leaders conspire together in messes to ...

Book Review – Blood Year: Islamic State and the Failures of the War on Terror

June 10th, 2017 by Nicholas Waugh

Blood Year, written by David Kilcullen, captures the events leading up to and following the 2014 crisis in the Middle East. The book analyses key occurrences surrounding the emergence of ISIS and how the West made several strategic errors enabling ...

Imagining the Future – Global Security in the Age of Autonomous Machines

June 4th, 2017 by Alistair Dickie

FOREWORD Clare O’Neill 2017 It can be a difficult and daunting activity to visualise the future operating environment when there are a myriad of different possibilities and problems at play. It can also be difficult to openly debate your ideas knowing the future may well ...

Trusting Imperfection: Getting Mission Command to Succeed

June 1st, 2017 by David Caligari

The commander also strikes and accepts compromises in his [or her] command: not all his men and officers will be perfect, and he must accept this fact and plan accordingly.  General Sir Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force [i] Mission ...

The Perils of Centralising Defence Innovation (and how to overcome them)

May 25th, 2017 by Tim Jones

As innovation gains momentum throughout defense forces, a common theme seems to be emerging. Militaries, in particular Western ones, are increasingly seeking to centralise their dispersed innovation cells into single innovation ‘hubs’ in order to better coordinate and deliver innovation ...

OPFOR TEWTS – Understanding the Enemy’s Mind

May 14th, 2017 by Chris Sharp

Defeating the enemy’s will. That is the essence of manoeuvre warfare, that you defeat the enemy’s will to fight rather than his ability to fight. But how do you defeat a man’s mind? David A. Grossman Introduction Tactical Exercises without Troops ...

Silos of Intellectual Excellence

May 12th, 2017 by Emily Chapman

Republished with permission from The Central Blue  In this post, Emily Chapman makes the case for increased ‘jointness’ in professional education, outlining a number of proposals to increase collaboration across the services and prevent silos of intellectual excellence.  A single RAAF Officer pitched to a ...

Rethinking Force Structures: Delivering Tailored Forces

May 4th, 2017 by David Caligari

If our forces in action are to have utility, we need to organise our standing forces to reflect the change in paradigm and accommodate the need to form an appropriate force for each operation. General Sir Rupert Smith, The Utility ...

Strategy is Dead, Long Live Strategy

May 2nd, 2017 by Leon Young

In case your head was firmly stuck in the sand looking for the lost city of Ubar in the Empty Quarter, the bell has tolled for strategy (again). Strategy is dead and Tactics is the new monarch. Tactics has sent ...

A Shared Responsibility – Growing our Understanding of Air Defence

April 29th, 2017 by James Easton

Air Defence continues to grow as a capability and concept against the increasingly complex array of airborne threats. In Australia, this can be seen through the recent announcement of a new Short Range Ground Based Air Defence system, as well ...

Learning How to Learn – The switch from training to education and the life-long learner?

April 27th, 2017 by Ken Bullman

The Army builds its intellectual capital in peace and spends it in war Colonel William L. Hauser [1] Introduction I don’t know of a soldier who does not want to be fitter, smarter and more capable of facing the challenges ...

Leadership in Focus – Vehicle Craft – Blending Technology and Tactical Acumen

April 23rd, 2017 by Jason Moriarty

There is much discussion and idea exchange about the ASLAV replacement (CRV) and future Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV). These capabilities are a massive step forward, representing cutting-edge technology and superior battlefield features. However, there have been many comments about the ...

Contemporary Strategic Effects of Army Attack Aviation

April 20th, 2017 by James Kingham

Army attack aviation is a niche capability possessed by a minority of global militaries. As a capability which had its genesis in the Vietnam War, and received its validation in the deserts of Kuwait and Southern Iraq in 1991, Army ...

Enhancing Junior Leader Education Through Distributed Short Courses

April 7th, 2017 by Nicholas Waugh and John Shipp

BLUF. The Australian Army’s education of junior leaders is heavily focused on general outcomes, rarely fostering an environment that compels us to use our cognitive, analytical and intellectual abilities. The Australian Army should establish a series of short courses for ...

What is Modern Military Leadership? A Primer

April 6th, 2017 by MAJGEN F.A. McLachlan

The Australian Army senior leadership team has been articulating the need for our Army leadership style to evolve to take on a more modern form. On the other hand our Army prides itself on its high level of performance in ...

Captain and Coach

March 19th, 2017 by Michael Scott

Has military thinking or practice seen a separation of two intrinsic command functions: the Commander and the Chief Instructor? This blog expands on an email the author recently received from the newly appointed Commander Land Warfare Centre, pertaining to the ...

Data Driven Decision Making – Embracing Technology to Clear the Fog 

March 18th, 2017 by Tim Byrne

Imagine being able to predict enemy patrol and aerial surveillance routes with a high degree of certainty, or an increasing vehicle availability and reliability by conducting less maintenance, or predicting battlefield weather effects instantaneously using distributed sensors already inherent in ...

Leadership in Focus – Listen, Learn and Lead

March 9th, 2017 by Jason Moriarty

Last week the Chief of Army came and spoke to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps’ Senior Leadership Group. His opening remarks immediately resonated with me personally and, moreover, with the group. The Chief of Army used three words to explain his ...

Mentoring, Mission Command, and the Value of the Officers’ Mess – Increasing the ‘Speed of Trust’

March 4th, 2017 by Michael Scott

This blog reflects on the important role of the Army Officers’ Mess in the author’s early regimental service. Traditions of the Army Mess A quick online search will inform the inquisitive officer that the military tradition of the Mess started ...

Enough Talk – How Do We Professionally Develop Our People?

February 12th, 2017 by Ben Gallacher

Quick thoughts on practically applying professional development How do we practically implement professional development instead of just talking about it? Having observed and contributed to various websites, blogs and professional forums, my key observation is that we tend to talk about professional ...

Opportunity – Perspectives and Lessons from Australia’s War in Afghanistan and Iraq 2001-2014

February 9th, 2017 by Grounded Curiosity

Interested in the following questions?  What happened? How well did we understand the nature of the fight? Why did Australia contribute the way it did? Were there other viable approaches? Did Australia’s contribution add value to the coalitions? What lessons ...

Debating Doctrine – Reciprocity as an Enduring Feature of War

January 24th, 2017 by Mark Mankowski

Debating doctrine Two years ago, Army began an intellectual pivot designed to review the lessons of the past 15 years, better understand the future operating environment, and ensure Australian soldiers could prevail in ‘the first fight of the next war’. Elements ...

47 Pieces of a Puzzle: Reflections on DEF Aus 2016 and the Written Word

January 22nd, 2017 by Tom McDermott

The written word was the key weapon of the DEF Aus Forum 2016.  Over the course of seven months the DEF Australia Idea Pitchers and committee members wrote, proofed and published an impressive 47 original articles. These short pieces (none ...

DEFx 2016 Next Steps: ADF Mentoring Groups

January 18th, 2017 by Kathryn Christie and Kate Tollenaar

DEFx Australia 2016 was a forum on 8-9 Dec 16 where ranks up to Major presented their ideas for an enhanced ADF. The forum demonstrated a ground swell of interest in building Human Capability but also highlighted the gap between our Senior Leaders’ strategic ...

Why Army Officers Should Read About Lord Horatio Nelson

January 17th, 2017 by James Davis

Reposted from The Armchair Colonel with permission of the author. Why should an Army Officer read 853 pages devoted to maritime operations at the turn of the 18th Century? This review of John Sugden’s Nelson: The Sword of Albion answers ...

Why Junior Leaders Would Do Well To Study The Iliad

December 30th, 2016 by Benny Gray

A junior commander seeking to expand their knowledge, insight and emotional intelligence would do well to supplement contemporary examples with timeworn, but nonetheless enduring, lessons from antiquity. Interrogation of Homer’s The Iliad can serve to exercise and nourish the moral ...

Reflections on the inaugural DEF Down under

December 22nd, 2016 by Brigadier Mick Ryan

From 08-09 December 2016, the inaugural Defence Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF) for the Southern Hemisphere was held in Canberra, Australia.  It was an exciting two days and ensured we all finished the year with an intellectual boost.  The first DEF [Aus] ...

Future Thinking – Crowdsourcing for Defence

December 8th, 2016 by Tim Jones

Innovation has always been a factor of military thinking to one degree or another, however in recent years it has been gathering momentum again. With increasingly complex operational environments, commanders are becoming more aware of the importance of innovative thinking. ...

Idea Pitch – Deployable Health and the Internet-of-Things: Ground Up Recommendations for the ADF’s Deployable e-Health Management Systems

December 6th, 2016 by Nick Alexander

Introduction ‘…compassion and technology aren’t necessarily incompatible, they can be mutually beneficial… machine oddly enough may be medicine’s best friend’ Dr. Atul Gawande – Complications1 I am first and foremost a clinician (a physiotherapist to be exact) and as such, ...