BlogInnovation - DEF Australia

Idea Pitch – A Joint Professional Military Education Association

Photo courtesy of Australian Defence Force
Photo courtesy of Australian Defence Force

As a passionate advocate of Professional Military Education (PME), I commend the efforts of the Australian Army personnel who have established The Postern Association. Founded in a desire to build intellectual mastery within the Australian Army, there is little doubt that the Association is a much-needed step forward to provide Army personnel with a professional development platform.

The Association is progress against Brown’s assertion that ‘One of the ADF’s defining traits is a lack of a critical professional debate.’ I envisage it will become a valuable mechanism for engagement with the Australian community, enabling personnel to share experiences, thoughts and ideas.

Unfortunately, it was equally, if not more, frustrating to read of the Association’s establishment. It is a single Service platform, despite the selection of a name based on an operation that unified air, land and sea power. Why wasn’t the opportunity for an ADF, as opposed to an Australian Army, professional development association realised?

So here is my Pitch – re-role The Postern Association to be the ADF’s PME association. Retain the name, goals and code of conduct, but consider changing the general structure, governance and vision to be joint. With joint capabilities in service, such as the Landing Helicopter Docks, now is an opportune time to focus our efforts on integrating the Services rather than creating divides. The ADF needs to collectively strive for professional development.

James Haw pitched the idea of a cultural and regional training continuum for the Australian Army via Grounded Curiosity. A pitch that I fully concur with, the proposed training would be very valuable during the conduct of Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief operations. As such, would the Air Force not benefit from the same training continuum? During an Australian response in the aftermath of a disaster, Air Force personnel are often the first on the ground, with some adopting critical liaison positions to ensure the smooth running of air services. With a wider perspective, Haw’s pitch is elevated from a single Service issue to a joint training opportunity. In-turn, bringing the Services together and building stronger relationships.

Photo courtesy of Australian Defence Force
Photo courtesy of Australian Defence Force

Equally, Brad Spiel’s post on the Enabled Combat Brigade Headquarters is applicable for the Air Force because of its deployment of a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) with Brigade Headquarters. Staff training, integration of capability, and technology are all applicable considerations for the Air Liaison Organisation, which provides much of the manning for TACPs.

These two examples demonstrate the benefit of intellectually talking joint. I would propose that the current generation of junior commanders is the Joint Generation; we have the drive, knowledge, experience and curiosity to be the foundation of a truly joint ADF. So let’s solidify this through The Postern Association: the ADF’s Professional Military Education Association.

Please leave your comments on this idea through the comments section below or email your feedback to

About the author
Emily Chapman is a serving officer within the Royal Australian Air Force Active Reserves, posted to the Air Liaison Organisation. She is concurrently a Phd Candidate at UNSW@Canberra researching civil-military interaction in Disaster Relief operations.

Grounded Curiosity is a platform to spark debate, focused on junior commanders. The views expressed do not reflect any official position or that of any of the author’s employers – see more here.