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Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO.
Address: Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, launches Land Warfare Doctrine One – The Fundamentals of Land Power and the Future Land Warfare Report at the Chief of Army Exercise 2014; Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Monday, 22 September 2014.
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This morning’s session has examined the lessons that land forces in the Indo Pacific can draw from the period of contemporary operations in which many of our nations have engaged. In response to these lessons, many land forces are attempting to articulate the strategic utility of land power in the Indo Asian Pacific century. There is a lively debate surrounding this topic in Australia.
The two publications I launch today are: Land Warfare Doctrine 1 – The Fundamentals of Land Power (LWD-1), which remains Army’s capstone doctrinal publication; and the Future Land Warfare Report (FLWR), Army’s assessment of the future land operational environment and a key document in a concept led, capability based approach.
I will talk about LWD-1 first. It is vitally important for an institution like the Army to possess a clear sense of self and purpose. This in turn provides a strong foundation to develop and adapt ideas that form the Army’s philosophy. For the Australian Army, LWD-1 serves as our capstone doctrine and as a statement of our approach to land warfare.
The edition that I am launching today differs from its predecessors in three significant ways. Firstly, it now includes sections on the culture of the Army and the provenance of Army’s approach to warfare. Secondly and perhaps most importantly it is now written in plain language, free of military acronyms and dense technical language. This is a simple change but ensures that Army’s thinking is clear and accessible for non- military audiences. Too much of what Army has written in the past has failed this test. And finally, a title change. The Fundamentals of Land Power speaks to Army’s role as the principal provider of rapidly deployable and scalable land force options to Government.
In short, the 2014 edition of LWD-1 provides the Australian Army with the guidance for achieving the mission of providing land power to Government and to thrive in the chaos of the 21st century. It draws on the feats of our predecessors, but it is also unambiguously forward-looking.
This is where the nexus between LWD-1 and the Australian Army’s Future Land Warfare Report (FLWR) sits. The FLWR by its very definition is forward looking; describing likely key trends in our future operating environment and suggesting their possible influence on the Army’s future land force.
Given the almost infinite variability of human interaction, any attempt to predict the future is unlikely to be helpful in designing forces for future conflict. However, there are certain trends which may be discerned even in such a dynamic environment. Understanding these will provide the Army the insight to shape the evolution of the land force capability and ensure it can provide the greatest utility for government.
The changing character of war clearly suggests that land forces will continue to play the decisive role in the security of modern states against both regular and irregular adversaries. A sound understanding of the likely future land warfare environment will produce a number of valuable opportunities. A clever and adaptable Australian Army can exploit these to enhance its strategic utility and tactical effectiveness.
These meta-trends described in the FLWR will increasingly define the operating environment from now and into the future beyond 2035. The report provides a sound basis for the Army’s contribution to the development of joint capability and to inter-agency cooperation. It also equips the Army to provide well-informed contributions to policy and strategy development within Australia’s national security planning architecture.
And so it is incumbent on Army to understand and explain its fundamental philosophy for the employment of land power based on the broad lessons of military history and human experience.
It is also the Army’s responsibility to explain why maintaining its current strength and modernisation plan is vital to the security of the nation. It is imperative that the Army provides a coherent rationale for sustaining the existing force structure and supplies the evidence to senior decision-makers that allows them to appreciate the impact of capability choices.
Both LWD-1 and FLWR support those objectives, and I commend them to you with the intent that it will generate a broad discussion on the utility of land power.