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Sadly it also pays tribute to twelve of our mates who died while serving overseas in Afghanistan and Timor Leste. Their sacrifice is recorded on a separate Roll of Honour in this edition. However, I wish once again as the Chief of the Army to pay tribute these men and express my sincere condolences to their families and loved ones.
Likewise, I wish to place on the record my best wishes to our soldiers who were wounded on operations either physically or mentally. Ensuring that the Army stands behind you and your families as you recover from your wounds is one of my most important priorities as Chief of Army.
In 2011 Army demonstrated its versatility and flexibility in responding to a diverse range of challenges. We sustained our performance across the spectrum of operations. A full schedule of the operations to which Army supplied force elements is included in this edition. Every soldier who served on one of these operations in 2011 enhanced our reputation and deserves credit for this.
Apart from our most demanding operations in Afghanistan, Timor Leste, Solomon Islands and we were called upon to render significant assistance to our fellow citizens on Australian soil. The New Year had barely dawned when we were asked to respond to the floods in Queensland. Our people performed magnificently, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow Australians in the midst of this time of crisis.
The spontaneous expressions of respect and affection from their fellow citizens to our soldiers demonstrated that the Army holds a special place in the esteem of Australians. We must all be conscious of this. The Army is one of this nation’s oldest and most revered institutions. It has existed almost continuously since Federation. Indeed, the Army holds some of Australia’s most prized traditions on trust.
At all times we need to remember that service within the Army, while demanding and sometimes dangerous, carries rich rewards and privileges. For our part we must uphold and reflect community values as well as provide opportunities for all suitably qualified men and women to serve in our ranks. The portrait of our Army that emerges in this publication is of large, inclusive organisation. But we need to do even better in that regard.
It is appropriate that we continue to dedicate our primary focus to current operations. .However, the entire Army workforce, both civilian and uniformed, produced excellent results in 2011. The major reforms that my predecessor Ken Gillespie initiated under the banner of the Adaptive Army were implemented with vigour and are already producing handsome results. Similarly Army continues to find new and more efficient ways to achieve effects while saving resources through the Strategic Reform Programme. This has placed demands on all of us but I believe that we have improved the way we do business and those responsible for the main effort in this programme deserve congratulations.
Army is in the midst of its most comprehensive re-equipment programme since the end of the Second World War and its most significant restructuring since the end of the Vietnam War. Our move to introduce like combat brigades under Plan BEERSHEEBA will impose more efficient use of scarce resources while significantly improving our capability.
It will yield a force generation and sustainment model that will provide the Government and people of Australia with the Army that they have said they need in official policy announcements going back to the turn of this Century.
I am determined to drive these improvements towards
fruition during my terms as the Chief of the Army.
These changes will also enable us to take the Army to sea under the new maritime concept of strategy authorised by successive governments since 2000. Our future lies in the littoral approaches to Australia as an integral part of the Australian Defence Force, capable of conducting decisive joint operations. This provides enormous challenges as well as enticing opportunities for the Army. But it places land forces at the heart of Australian Grand Strategy.
This is the first time that I have had the privilege to launch an edition of the Army in Profile. I am deeply honoured to have been appointed to the Chief of Army. I would like to thank my predecessor Ken Gillespie for handing over an Army in such robust good health. But I also wish to thank all of soldiers and our civilian workforce for your service to the nation in 2011. This book constitutes a fitting tribute to all your efforts.