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Chief of Army History Conference

The Chief of Army (CA) History Conference is traditionally held in Canberra around the Family and Community Day long weekend in September/October each year. It is hosted by the Chief of Army and managed by the Australian Army History Unit.

2017 Chief of Army Conference - The Skill of Adaptability: the Learning Curve in Combat.

The 2017 Chief of Army History Conference will be held on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 October 2017 at the Ballroom, National Convention Centre, 31 Constitution Avenue, Canberra.  The theme is The Skill of Adaptability: the Learning Curve in Combat.  The conference will discuss, through historical examples, how armies learn while in contact with the enemy.

How did the British Army – so successful in imperial policing in the 19th Century – face a skilful enemy versed in guerrilla tactics on the South African veldt?  Were there inter-theatre lessons and learning transferable between Gallipoli and the Western Front?  How did the British and French Armies adapt to the exigencies of trench warfare and develop new technologies and tactics in response to industrial warfare?  In what ways and with what programs did the 2nd Australian Imperial Force train its soldiers from the deserts of North Africa to the jungle of the South-West Pacific?  How did the experience of war enable the Red Army to implement their military doctrines and theories of the 1920s and 1930s?  What real-time experiences and lessons did the British Army learn in fighting the Japanese in Burma, and the US Army learn fighting the same enemy in the Central Pacific?  How did the Australian Army adapt to both regular and irregular forces in South Vietnam?  How did the same Army adapt to a major expeditionary deployment in East Timor after two decades of continental defence? Did the British Army employ the lessons learned against the IRA in Northern Ireland against the insurgency in Iraq?  How long did it take the Canadians to re-learn the art of irregular warfare in Afghanistan?  What lessons in military adaptability can armies of the 21st Century take from the wars of the 20th? 

If you have pondered any of these issues (and more besides), then this conference is one you cannot afford to miss.  Papers will cover a wide chronological period and a number of different countries in order to bring to light different ways armies have responded to the changing nature of war.  The Conference Program can be viewed here.

For Army personnel, the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, DSC, AM sees this conference directly supporting his second line of effort in building professional mastery through the critical study of military history.  He particularly encourages those engaged in education, training and capability development to attend as they will benefit holistically from the papers presented.


The Chief of Army History Conference Dinner

This years dinner will be held on the evening of 18 October 2017 at the RMC Officers’ Mess at an additional cost of $80 per head.  Come and meet the Conference Speakers and relax with a three course meal in historic surroundings.  Places are limited to the first 70 acceptances.

Key documents:


Contacts for 2017 CA History Conference queries:

Call: (02) 6266 4248

Email: ahu.enquiries [at] (subject: Chief%20of%20Army%20Conference%20Enquiry%202017)



The CA History Conference has traditionally been held annually since 1994 and has grown into one of the pre-eminent military history conferences in Australia. As it evolved, the CA History Conference has attracted world class speakers from Australia and around the world to deliver the latest research on themes with relevance to either the history of, or operational issues affecting, the Australian Army. 

The CA History Conference provides the opportunity for current serving personnel and the public to hear world recognised experts in their fields speak on a range of historical issues and examples relevant to Army’s service. Where possible, papers offer direct parallels with events the Australian Army has experienced, or seek to provide an historical baseline for Army's future planning by its next generation of leaders. The conference also provides Army with a foundation for understanding the military art as practiced by different nations through a number of conflicts. 

The papers presented at each conference usually reinforce that some problems are perennial, and that it is better to arm oneself against repeating these mistakes by learning the lessons from the past. Army views this conference as an opportunity to use history to better educate and prepare its people for the challenges they may face in the future, as well as to provide guiding principles from which to approach planning for future operational, administrative or modernisation requirements. 

The Australian Army History Unit invites the public to attend the annual CA History Conference alongside serving personnel to both learn about aspects of the Australian Army’s history, and hear about issues faced by armies the world over (albeit in an historical context). It is also extremely instructive in educating the public about how Government, the Army and the community negotiate ambiguous and complex military outcomes, both internally and externally. Public engagement with the conference aids in understanding and appreciating the issues facing Army, as well as being an opportunity for all attendees to listen to the best scholars in the world present the findings of their latest research.


Chief of Army Conference Archive

2015 Chief of Army Conference
2013 Chief of Army Conference
2011 Chief of Army Conference 
2010 Chief of Army Conference 
2009 Chief of Army Conference - Part 1 & Part 2
2008 Chief of Army Conference
2007 Chief of Army Conference
2006 Chief of Army Conference
2005 Chief of Army Conference
2004 Chief of Army Conference
2003 Chief of Army Conference
2002 Chief of Army Conference
2001 Chief of Army Conference
2000 Chief of Army Conference
1999 Chief of Army Conference
1998 Chief of Army Conference
1997 Chief of Army Conference
1996 Chief of Army Conference
1995 Chief of Army Conference
1994 Chief of Army Conference

Last updated
15 October 2017
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
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