Land Warfare Doctrine 1 - The Fundamentals of Land Power
The Army continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Australians through sacrifice and long service to this nation. Although times and technologies have changed, the fundamental mission of the Australian Army endures: The Australian Army prepares land forces for war in order to defend Australia and its national interests.
To carry out this mission effectively, the Army must be multi-skilled, flexible, adaptable, well educated and trained, and doctrinally prepared. Our individual and collective skills – from traditional competencies such as combined arms close combat, and new ones such as cyber operations – must be second to none. As a small force we must be smarter than our potential enemies. Because of the diversity of threats we face, and their ability to evolve rapidly, we need to prepare ourselves to learn quickly ‘on-the-job’. Our ability to adapt to changing circumstances more quickly than our enemies is a key factor in continuing operational success. Together these comprise a ‘cognitive edge’ that we must continue to hone and evolve. To do this we must also rely on every soldier being committed to continuous self-development.
As well as the efforts of individuals, the adaptability of the Army within a joint or coalition force must be supported by relevant doctrine. We should view doctrine as a journey rather than a destination. Since the first edition in 1977, published as The Fundamentals of Land Force Operations (Provisional), the Australian Army has sought to evolve its capstone warfighting doctrine to take into account changes in international affairs, technology, government policy and changes in the character of Australian society more generally. In this context, The Fundamentals of Land Power represents continuity in thought. It is another step in Army’s doctrinal journey, and one that builds on the knowledge of our historical experience and analysis of contemporary challenges to ensure the Army remains effective, adaptable and relevant.
The 2017 edition of Land Warfare Doctrine 1, The Fundamentals of Land Power provides the Australian Army with the philosophical guidance for succeeding in our mission and thriving in the chaos of the 21st century. It draws on the feats of our predecessors, but it is also unambiguously forward-looking. This publication represents the Australian Army’s strategic thinking about land power. It provides relevant doctrine for the conduct of land operations in partnership with the Navy and Air Force, other government agencies, friends and allies. The Army’s land forces must have a strategic and expeditionary mindset. They need to be strategically relevant, tactically agile, protected, networked, trained and educated to manoeuvre in the contemporary (and future) environment. Above all else, the Army must possess the superior leadership and adaptation skills that are best guarantors of success in war.
Our doctrine is founded on the hard won battle experience of our Army across more than a century. This capstone doctrine must be studied and understood by all ranks. Equally, it should be examined and debated beyond the Department of Defence. Through such debate, Army can increase its intellectual capital and better position itself to promote and protect Australia’s interests, deter threats to its sovereignty and, if necessary, defeat them. I commend this publication to you with the intent that it will generate a broad discussion on the utility of land power.
Chief of Army