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The Roundtable Discussion Series is a forum-based discussion on diverse topics encompassing current and future land warfare issues that involve Whole of Australian Government (WoAG) participation. Through the involvement of key experts and specialists, a keynote presentation is followed by brief discussions that are designed to enhance awareness and assist research within the topic areas.

Please check this page regularly for updates on our upcoming Roundtable discussions. If you would like to attend one of our Roundtables, please email us at future.landwarfare [at] with your details. Ensure you include your name, agency and total number of seats requested. All of our Roundtables take place in Canberra, however we have video teleconferencing options if you would like to participate from a remote location.

Please note that Chatham House rules apply for all of our Roundtable discussions. Our 2013 Roundtable series included the following presentations:

13 December 2013: Major Clare O'Neill, 2013 Chief of Army Scholar and Fulbright Scholarship Awardee
Junior commanders are often confronted with unexpected challenges in unfriendly, isolated, and demanding environments. Expectations of our junior commanders have increased and tasks diversified. They are required to make quick decisions based on limited information, often in the absence of direct supervision. Within the chain-of-command construct, junior commanders are the point where tactical action is decisively initiated through their leadership of soldiers. They are the interface between the higher-level plan and the executed action on the ground. There is much discussion on the future and what it means for warfare. Academic focus is usually at the strategic level for ends, ways and means while inside Army focus shifts to operational discussion. What happens when you look at future war from the ground-up through the lens of the junior commander? Three trends that are likely to appear at the ground level are complexity, convergence and people whether deployed for high intensity warfighting or disaster relief operations. This roundtable will discuss these three trends and what they mean when arming our junior commanders with the thinking skills required for the future operating environment.

12 November 2013: Brigadier Gary Hogan (Ret'd), Director, Defence and National Security KPMG Australia 

Compared to the militaries in Asia, we have never enjoyed a quantitative edge, even over Singapore. The astonishing pace of economic growth to our north means that our qualitative edge is also being steadily eroded. And at a time when our own Defence budget is diminishing. The ace up our sleeve is an effective and skilled military diplomatic workforce, residing primarily in our Attache Corps. But we have never been good (except on rare occasions) at exploiting its full potential; for various reasons. We see the roles of Asia's military establishments primarily through the lens of a Western liberal democracy, founded on Westminster values. And this inhibits the art of the possible for us. 

15 October 2013: Ian Szarka 

This talk will give a brief introduction to the 3D printing technologies and sounding topics. It will identify different types of additive manufacturing and how they work, with an emphasis on those which can be used at home. There will be a discussion of why additive manufacturing is different to other manufacturing techniques, including pros and cons. And finally, Ian will look at some of the ways 3D printers are being used currently and into the future. 

3 October 2013: Christopher Paul, RAND

How can we increase the effectiveness of efforts to help partners build the capacity of their military and other security? To form a base of evidence to inform policy discussions and investment decisions, a RAND study collected and compared 20 years of data on 29 historical case studies of U.S. involvement in building partner capacity. The research tested a series of validating factors and hypotheses (many of which are rooted in "common knowledge") to determine how they stand up to real-world case examples of partner capacity building. 

24 September 2013: Professor Jenny Stewart & Rita Parker, UNSW Canberra 

In this presentation, Prof Jenny Stewart and Ms Rita Parker argue that the robustness that has defined the Australian state may be at risk. Australia's stability is based on a faith in free trade and responsive markets. Yet such unquestioning faith is challenged by changes in the strategic setting from non-traditional sources. Three forms of security - food, water and energy - may be at risk, which lead to greater fragility and less resilience. In exploring these, Jenny and Rita suggest the past cannot be relied on and Australia will need to reframe its policies and adapt to new conditions, if it is to remain robust rather than become a fragile state. 

27 August 2013: Tobias Feakin, Australian Strategic Policy Institute 

Over the past 10 years we have seen the AQ threat morph from one of centrally controlled group to a set of loosely affiliated organisations which adopt the AQ banner. In certain parts of the African continent, the growth of these affiliates has been hard to ignore as they look to assert their status and create safe-havens. This most notably culminated in the deployment of French troops to counter the potential take over of Mali by such groups. The talk will examine where the key threats exist, and how they shape and change over time. 

17 July 2013: Brigadier Will Taylor, British Defence and Naval Advisor 

The 2013 Defence White Paper states that "Australia’s geography requires a maritime strategy for deterring and defeating attacks against Australia and contributing to the security of our immediate neighbourhood and wider region" (Defence White Paper 2013, Chapter Three, p 28 para 3.32). On Friday the 15th of February Mrs Vickie Coates named LHD02 HMAS Canberra. PM Julia Gillard said of HMAS Canberra and her sister LHD that "They will give our Defence Force an unprecedented ability to exercise and operate on land and sea – supporting amphibious operations and operating independently in our region and beyond like never before" So delivery of the amphibious and expeditionary capability is fast becoming the ‘wolf on the sledge’ for the Australian Army. How big is the cultural, traditional, doctrinal and physical gap between being an Army, and being a Marine Corps; and what does that mean for Army? 

19 June 2013: Brigadier Thompson, Director General Special Operations Capability

Brigadier Thompson asks how can we achieve a more effective transfer of SO Lessons Learnt / Capability back into the wider Army? 

19 April 2013: Alan March, AUSAID 

Mr Alan March, AusAID’s Assistant Director General for Humanitarian Preparedness and Response, will provide an insight into AusAID and the Australian Civilian Corps and their role on recent ADF operational deployment. He will also examine the challenges/opportunities of working with Australian Army now and into the future. 

7 March 2013: Dr Samantha Crompvoets, ANU 

Sam will look at two issues facing women in barracks and returning from war. She will examine the unique challenges facing DVA in servicing female veterans and also the way in which more flexible employment options for women in uniform (and understanding what flexibility actually means in different contexts and job scenarios) will enable Army to enhance capability. 

Last updated
14 December 2016
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
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