Strengthening the intellectual foundation for our profession of arms.

The Postern Association (Part 1 of 4)

October 30th, 2016 by Clare O'Neill

Photo courtesy of 1st Brigade

Photo courtesy of 1st Brigade

This year a small and dedicated team of Australian Army personnel has been bringing together the DEF Australia activities. This team believes that professional development and innovation are best done as collective activities, and also that initiatives need to think beyond short term goals. So concurrently to the DEF[X] activities, the DEF team has been working on ‘where to next’?


We would like to introduce you to The Postern Association – the Australian Army’s new association for professional development. The Postern Association is run like Army’s Sporting Associations – self-organised with activities driven by its members. Membership is open to all members of the Australian Army regardless of rank, corps and location. The first activity for the Postern Association is DEF[X] Australia, to be held 08-09 December 2016 in Canberra.

Some general points

  • The Postern Association provides a self-organised network for professional development, regardless of where a member sits within the chain-of-command.
  • The Association’s focus is to build a network of leaders and thinkers who actively strive, seek and support each other’s pursuit of professional mastery.
  • The Association has not be built to replicate or compete with existing professional development initiatives or to supplant your most important outlet for professional development which remains your chain-of-command. Instead, the Postern Association is a complementary activity, in a similar vein to the complimentary efforts of Army’s sporting associations for physical mastery.

The Postern Association’s 2017 activities are currently a blank canvas so we want your help.  There will be a Postern Association planning group at the DEF[X] in Canberra on 08-09 Dec 16. This planning group will be your chance to shape the future of the Postern Association. So if you would like to be part of mapping out the Postern Association’s future or have great ideas for professional development that just need an outlet, then sign up for the DEF[X]. We also invite (and highly encourage) those junior commanders who may not have an idea to share but would like to absorb the conversations about our profession of arms.

Join the discussion

In the lead-up to this planning group, we want to hear and share your thoughts on:

  1. What ideas do you have for the future of Army’s professional development? We know they are out there!
  2. What can we learn from the past? For example – here is a great post from Brig Chris Field talking about Scharnhorst who led a military professional development group, recognising that disciplined intellect was essential to the profession of arms.
  3. What can we learn from others? We have many excellent examples of professional development initiatives within our corps, brigades and units. Share your positive insights on what has worked and what has not worked. Also check out organisations such as  West Point’s Modern War InstituteArmy Integration Leadership Professional Readings and the Military Writers Guild to see what others are doing for professional development.

Please share your thoughts by leaving comments at the bottom of this post or email We’ll then collate your answers and have them ready to share with the group at the DEF[X].

What next?

Here are three more posts on the Postern Association delve deeper into:


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3 Comments on "The Postern Association (Part 1 of 4)"

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Charles Weller

Great endeavour and I will provide some more detailed thoughts in due course. I think recommended books with a short review on ‘why’ could be useful. Anything that gets people, at all ranks, thinking and writing is worthwhile.
As well as history having our people think read and write about the future is worthwhile. This does not in should not be limited to military in fact a broader ambit is desirable. Yuval Harari has been highly recommended for both Sapiens and Homo Deus.
Leadership and ethics along with strategy would be useful focal points. And I agree Brig Field’s post was excellent.

Ben Gallacher
Hi there, I have followed with interest over the past 6-12 months the increased awareness and need to better develop our people. I strongly support this and have been active in introducing initiatives in my workplace. Initiatives such as blogging and essay writing allow the writer to research, reflect and then put on paper what they have discovered or how they have enhanced their own knowledge. I have personally taken an interest in the FORCOMD PME initiative that is to be released later next month and continue to provide support to the lead curator. However, there is something that still… Read more »
An idea that I love and will be implementing with my team text year is Googles 20 Time. In a nutshell this is simply allowing staff to spend 20% of their working week on a project that they believe will bring benefit to the organisation. This is very motivational, as we all have things as junior leaders that we’d love to work on passionately but put off due to the ‘necessary’ churn. To take these projects or ideas to the next level though, junior leaders must come to terms with and master the organisational language and communication processes inherent in… Read more »