The Army in 2015
“Australian soldiers have an almost 114-year proven track record of overcoming challenges,” Lt-Gen Morrison said.
“I think at the moment we are the most capable Army Australia has ever had.”
CA’s priorities for Army this year will allow it to continue to modernise and deploy on operations, while at the same time looking after its people.
“First and foremost I’m to ensure the provision of fully trained, well equipped, focused individuals and units for operations, which is my primary job as the Chief of Army. This will remain unchanged until the second I hand over to my successor,” Lt-Gen Morrison said.
“The second is to make sure our Army is as robust and relevant to the security needs of this country well into the third decade of this century, as we can possibly make it.
“The third is to care for the health and wellbeing of our people, but also the culture that sustains them.”
He said Army had to continue to improve during operations this year and beyond to be able to fight in a modern battlespace.
“We know we need to extend ourselves to do this,” he said.
“We need to be better enabled, need to have a more like structure within our brigades and need to be part of joint and coalition forces.
“We can do this now, but it’s a continual evolutionary path to being a more capable military force.”
Domestically, he said he was “continually heartened by how everyone tackles their tasks”.
“I think the Army is in great shape,” he said. “We do need to continue to work hard at the cultural issues, but I get great responses from people about what we are already doing. I don’t have to bring up the subject of Army culture, people mention it first to me.”
Lt-Gen Morrison said the work Army personnel were performing in Afghanistan and Iraq was not just valuable, but was also critical to the overall success of the two missions.
“The teams in Afghanistan are continuing to provide levels of individual training which are world-class and are at the core of how we want to help with the development of the ANA,” he said.
“Our embedded officers and other ranks are also doing a fantastic job, and I’ve received tremendous feedback from a number of sources inside Afghanistan about the quality of our people, which is terrific.
“In Iraq we’re doing some great work too, and the mission there is continuing to develop.
“The Special Forces group who are there are providing world-class assistance to the Iraqi military."
The plan to reorganise and revolutionise Army, Plan Beersheba, is progressing on schedule.
“We are in really good shape at the moment and the plan is going very well,” Lt-Gen Morrison said.
“We have just moved 2 Cav Regt to Townsville and are now looking at how we develop 3 Bde further, with an Armoured Cavalry Regiment (ACR) as an integral part of it.
“The journey we’re on now, with great support from the previous and the current government, is to make the three combat brigades more alike.
“We will then embed the enabling and reserve brigades into an effective and efficient force generation cycle.”
He said 1 and 7 Bdes were also being given attention as part of the plan.
“We’re restructuring 1 Bde, and while 7 Bde will have the ready brigade responsibilities in the middle of the year, there are already plans to build an ACR in 7 Bde in south-east Queensland in 2017-18,” he said.
“So there’s a lot of work being done and I’ve got government agreement to continue with the changes Plan Beersheba requires of us. I’m very confident we will carry out all we want to achieve with the plan within the next four years.”
After his speech at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London in June last year, Lt-Gen Morrison was labelled a feminist by the civilian media. He reasons his standpoint from a commonsense perspective, which Army will ultimately benefit from in the future.
“If being a feminist means that you recognise there are gender imbalances in our society or work force and we are not getting our best from 52 per cent of the population, then we should do something to ensure women who join our Army get every chance to reach their potential and make the Army a better place as a result, then I’ll happily sign up to the moniker,” he said.
“But people shouldn’t read into it anything other than the fact that I am about delivering a capable Army.
“It’s what all of this is about. It’s not about pandering to some politically correct direction coming from someone.
“It’s about making the best use of talent. This attitude has been the history of our Army.
“If that makes you a feminist then I guess I am one, but first and foremost I’m a general in the Australian Army and I’m the Chief of Army and I want it to be more capable.”
He sees Army as being different and more competent than most other Australian organisations because of the selfless way people become members of its workforce.
“Everyone who joins our Army is a volunteer and everyone who volunteers has made a conscious decision they will, as a result of their commitment, put service before self,” he said.
“This sets us apart from many other institutions in Australia.
“This year we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli, which will be an important milestone for our Army and an affirmation of who we are in the broader Australian community and I think we take intense pride in the role we play.”