Address by Chief of Army at Land Forces 2022 Industry Dinner, Brisbane, 5 October 2022
Before I begin, I’d like to again acknowledge that we gather on the land of the Jagera and Turrbal people, and I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.
A very warm welcome again to the 22 national delegations joining us at this years’ Land Forces – especially to my counterparts and other representatives who have travelled a long way to be here.
Thank you to LTGEN Ken Gillespie, convenor of Land Forces 2022, and to our colleagues from defence industry, academia and government who help our Army by engaging in a contest of ideas, reveal the possibilities of the future, and ensure the land domain remains relevant and credible.
And a special and sincere thank you to all our sponsors for this evening’s dinner: Australian Missile Corporation (AMC), Blackwoods, Bunzl Safety and Lifting, CGI, Motorola Solutions, Safran, Swoop Aero and Toll Group.
At breakfast yesterday I focussed my remarks on our shared purpose and how we team in its pursuit ~ and I will conclude my remarks this evening with a reprise of our shared purpose.
But now I’d like to focus on the ‘how?’ What your Army has been doing to create more and more meaningful opportunities for collaboration.
Until three years ago, Land Forces was held concurrently with the Chief of Army Symposium which can trace its origins to 1925 when the-then Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel, called upon the General Staff of the nascent Australian Army to address significant modernisation issues in Australia’s military forces.
Today, Land Forces is the 21st century incarnation of Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel’s call to action.
Land Forces has evolved and expanded in scale to become one of the largest events of its kind – focused solely on the enduring requirement for joint land combat power in contemporary conflict.
Today, its success is at least partially reflected in the ticketing for this years’ Land Forces being sold out, and the fact we have 580 stands representing 780 companies from across more than 25 countries.
When I was reviewing the list of participants of Land Forces 22, I was personally very encouraged to see this includes more than 20 veteran-run companies.
There are also many more companies and academic partners here at Land Forces 22 who participate in the Government Veterans Employment Program and more still who actively support veteran employment.
You have all recognised the exceptional skills, experience, leadership, commitment and capacity for innovation that our soldiers offer and the significant contribution they continue to make when they transition from full-time service – as indeed have many other sectors in our economy.
Convergence and concentration
Land Forces is a key point of convergence and concentration – it brings teams together at scale and creates both opportunity and momentum.
But the tempo and challenges of warfare in the 21st century always demands more, which Army refers to as Accelerated Warfare.
To meet the challenge, in 2021 we increased the opportunity available for teaming by conducting Land Forces and the Chief of Army Symposium as stand-alone events.
CAS is an umbrella event that comprises the Army Futures Program – a place for sharing ideas and perspectives.
Army Innovation Day, which is a competitive and focused collaboration with industry through the Defence Innovation Hub.
And two new additions, which serve as opportunities to learn by doing with new and emerging technology, via the Army Robotics Expo and the Quantum Technology Challenge.
This year we incorporated feedback to facilitate better business to business opportunities through CAS events between SMEs, and SMEs and Primes.
In our quest to seek genuinely new ways to team, the C4 Edge Consortium was formed – a powerful way to demonstrate the capability and capacity of Australian Industry, to collaborate on requirements definition and better understand risk – well before an RFT.
The Army’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO) is proving a dextrous focus point for applied innovation.
The initial roll out of IXG’s seven Makerspaces across Army last year has also provided opportunity for collaboration between soldiers, academia and industry.
We are also working to best leverage the potential and capacity of the state and territory Defence industry advocacy organisations.
All of these initiatives – I trust – deliver on the intent of Army’s industry engagement statement in meaningful ways.
A key benefit of this approach allows for more focus and attention on the industry expo, conference and innovation programs that comprise Land Forces.
Relevance and Credibility
So, let me conclude where I began yesterday morning at the outset of Land Forces.
And I apologise to those who are hearing it for the second time – but it really matters.
We are brought together by the convening power of our shared interest and our common purpose: a secure, stable and prosperous global community.
Promoted and protected by, in Australia’s case, an ADF that is relevant and credible in all domains – including the Land Domain.
Relevance and credibility in the 21st Century demands the transformation of our Army.
It is a transformation that involves every one of our people, teams, capabilities and every aspect of our organisation.
It involves how we generate readiness, how we modernise, how we retain, recruit, educate, train and develop our people.
How we support our Joint and combined team mates, and how they support us.
We cannot do it alone.
Army’s transformation requires a team effort – not just in the delivery of programs but in advocacy for a relevant and credible Army.
Your advocacy - Our advocacy
So, our collective challenge is to advocate the purpose and utility of land power using history, strategy, facts and data – and to do so in unison.
Ours is a narrative of “and not or”, of an ADF that is relevant and credible in all domains, and an Army that sends forth its women and men into the most complex and lethal land environments with the best probability of mission success, and the best probability of survival and returning home to families.
The stakes are high and your Army needs your support and your advocacy.
Thank you for all that you do for our Army, for your commitment and teamwork in support of our national interests and in support of our soldiers.
LTGEN Simon Stuart, AO, DSC
Chief of Army.