Strengthening the intellectual foundation for our profession of arms.

The Postern Association – What’s In A Name? (Part 3 of 4)

November 1st, 2016 by Clare O'Neill

Australian troops disembarking from American Landing Ships, Tank (LST)

Australian troops disembarking from American Landing Ships, Tank (LST)

There are many practicalities in choosing a name for a new association. Thankfully many smart minds were on hand from the DEF team to firstly set the criteria for the name and then muse (and sometimes argue robustly discuss) the merits of the suggestions that followed.

The broad criteria set for the name were:

  • Make the name distinctly Australian – be proud of our history
  • Use an Australian military success – we champion losses but what about our wins?
  • Find a name that embodies ideals of intellectual pursuit and professional mastery
  • No buzzwords

This criterion immediately struck out names evoking Sparta (quite popular but not quite Australian) and Gallipoli (while historically relevant, it is also nice to reflect on some of our successes). After many suggestions and much deliberation, the name finally settled on was ‘Postern’. It’s a name that many of you will not immediately recognise so here’s why it was selected:

  • Operation Postern. Lieutenant–General Frank Berryman was the ‘Architect of Victory’ for Operation Postern during World War II, turning Field Marshal Thomas Blamey’s concept into a robust and winning plan. Operation Postern’s pincer movement incorporated an amphibious assault, airborne landing, and unification of air-land-sea power for the capture of Lae in Papua New Guinea. Berryman was willing to question when required, project intellect behind planning, and learn and adapt against a formidable enemy. How does this relate to the Association? The Postern Association seeks to emulate Berryman’s pursuit of professional mastery as the ‘people-behind-the scenes’ who seek to strengthen the Army’s intellectual foundations for winning capability.
  • Postern. A postern is traditionally a secondary door used in fortifications, acting also as a rallying strongpoint for a unit and an additional means for access. How does this relate to the Association? The Postern Association acts in much the same way – a rallying point for a network of military leaders as well as being a secondary mechanism reinforcing the chain-of-command functions as we strive for professional mastery.

Along this journey, many of us picked up a copy of Peter Dean’s Architect of Victory and were struck by the importance of Operation Postern for both knowledge of our past and projection of thinking for the future. It’s worth a read. Now you know ‘what’s in a name’ (love it or hate it), it would be great to see you at the DEF[X] in December 2016 where we will be mapping out the future of the Postern Association. You can register for the DEF[X] here and can leave your comments below.


 

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