A message from the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, AO, DSC, MVO

A message from the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, AO, DSC, MVO

Technology, geopolitics and a pandemic are rapidly changing Australia’s strategic context. Australia has stepped up and is responding to this challenge. Defence is supporting this national response through an updated Defence Strategy and new Force Structure Plan, announced in July by the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence.

Australia’s Defence Strategy employs military power to shape the strategic environment, deter actions against our interests and, when required, respond with credible military force.

Defence prepares and employs combinations of land, sea, air, space, cyber and information power to shape, deter and respond. Army contributes to each of these types of military power. Australia will employ military power in the immediate region, globally and domestically, often at the same time.

Operating across environments and domains is normal for Army. We have been doing this for all of our history, in some way. Most recently, we have made sustained and significant contributions to peacekeeping and multinational operations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Army’s people should be proud of their work, training and working with partners in the region, delivering high-quality individual and collective training and on operations. All these actions make a difference and contribute to Defence Strategy and the security of Australia and Australians.

We have more work to do. The rapidly changing strategic environment means less time for preparation, more tasks and less certainty about the type and sizes of tasks.

Land forces will fight on land, and from the land, into other domains, and at all ranges. Extreme weather events and natural disasters are more likely to affect Australian communities and this means land forces will contribute to ADF support to state agency responses at greater scale and for longer durations. Equally, violence, fatigue, fear and chance endure as fundamentals of war and conflict. Our culture, character and resilience prepare us for these.

The Defence Strategic Update acknowledges these changes and challenges. The Force Structure Plan strengthens Army’s ability to prepare land power with greater potency and persistence in all domains. This includes enhanced littoral, air, ground manoeuvre, robotic and autonomous system, long-range fires, information warfare, and air and missile defence capabilities. These ensure Army can prepare teams that enable the Joint Force for a wider range of tasks in cooperation, competition and conflict.

Army is well postured to meet the challenges of the environment and deliver new capabilities. We have a strong and well-tested framework. Our environmental assessment Accelerated Warfare is forward looking. Our central idea in response, Army in Motion, emphasises balance and transitions between the present and future in individuals, teams, concepts and equipment.

The foundation of Army in Motion is our people. Good Soldiering ensures that our people are ready now for Accelerated Warfare. People of strong character, good at forming teams and making ethical decisions. The Army Ethics Enhancement Plan, which I have been pleased to recently release, supports our teams to understand ethical decision-making in chaotic, uncertain and violent situations that typify conflict, but are applicable every day.

We value new ideas, fresh thinking and different perspectives because they make us better. Good Soldiering is the awareness, emotional intelligence and humility to bring these together and how we live the newly released Defence Values: Service, Courage, Respect, Integrity and Excellence.

Our people also ensure that we are ready for new capabilities. We need to upskill, expand our thinking, and be more agile and scalable. Army’s workforce and training system is the hub responding to this challenge. This is why a Future Ready Workforce and training transformation is my priority.

Our system must be simple, scalable, sustainable and enabled by Australia’s people, geography and Defence industry.

Through the Army Operating System, we are balancing our transformation with meeting our mission. Our mission, to prepare land power to enable the Joint Force, also aligns us with other group and service contributions and reinforces the imperative of thinking bigger than ourselves.

Our people are already enthusiastically driving an Army in Motion. Across our commands and units, you are innovating, finding better ways to deliver training and forming new teams to confront new challenges.

Army’s Contribution to Defence Strategy, Edition Two describes all these ideas. It guides Army leaders and helps them to explain how Army contributes to Defence Strategy.

Read Army’s Contribution to Defence Strategy, Edition Two and discuss it at your level and in the context of your role. Share your insights through Army professional military education forums such as The Cove and the Land Power Forum. Connect with joint, industry and academic partners at every level and encourage new ideas and openness. Explain in your terms, to those you connect with, how Army contributes to Defence Strategy now and in the future. By increasing the understanding of land power we strengthen the Joint Force and Defence’s response to a dynamic strategic context.

We are an Army in Motion. Good Soldiering.