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Building on BEERSHEBA: The Future Army

Building on BEERSHEBA: The Future Army Army’s Plan Beersheba, currently being implemented, has changed Army’s force structure to provide a wider range of ready, sustainable land force capabilities. It has enhanced the efficiency of the Army Force Generation Cycle, and better integrated the regular-reserve-civilian total force in the generation and deployment of land force capabilities. But while this has set the conditions for the transition from an analogue to an information age Army, further development is necessary to continue modernising the Army. There is a requirement to look and plan to build on Beersheba.
22 December 2016

In doing so, the Army is undertaking an ‘intellectual pivot,’ founded upon our operational experiences of the past 15 years, an appreciation of history and analysis of future trends. In executing this intellectual pivot, we are reaching beyond traditional sources of analytical expertise. No matter how intelligent or well informed we are, a variety of views and input is healthy for us as we modernise the Army. We must look to a wider variety of external academic institutions, think tanks and other analytical service providers to identify options and solutions to the challenges of remaining relevant into the future. In looking out to 2025 and beyond, it is likely that ongoing modernisation will be shaped by four emerging challenges.

A revolution in the training and education of the Army (pdf). Recent breakthroughs in understanding how the brain operates, learns and repairs itself, and the related field of how humans learn and adapt, will provide those who invest wisely in human sciences with a significant cognitive edge in the future. This will have implications in the fields of recruiting; leadership training; mid and late career streaming; individual and institutional learning and adaptation, and, potentially in the field of cognitive/neural augmentation. Building and sustaining advantage based on the capabilities of Army’s people – a cognitive edge – is where the Army is most likely to gain a competitive advantage.

A more strategic approach to Army's collective training (pdf). The Army needs to embed the training of the landing force for amphibious capability into its force generation system. This will require better inter-serve collaboration in training and assessing land forces. It will also demand enhancements to inter-service networking, training, education, and simulation. There is also an ongoing requirement to gain efficiencies in the force generation process.

Developing a digital Army (pdf). The digital environment is changing how the world interacts and learns. As the ultimate expression of human interaction and competition, warfare will continue to be influenced profoundly by global digital connectivity. Army must view digitisation beyond the realms of networking and communications. It will impact on the integration of land and joint forces; the training and education of all ranks; the ideas and structures used to train, deploy and fight; and, the interaction between national forces, other agencies and private military and logistic organisations. It will also demand assurance of access to the digital commons, data assurance and integrity and the capacity to fight for a threshold level of access where required.

Becoming a truly joint Army (pdf). Army will need to develop updated command and control, operating and logistics concepts to enable the full exploitation of the range of Army and joint enabler capabilities. The capability of the deployable land force must be enhanced through digital networking to coordinate the employment of fire support, intelligence and surveillance capabilities. The changes are not a function of changes to Army’s digital hardware; they will derive from how Army thinks about its operations and structures within a joint force. This will be a key to increasing the strategic utility and tactical effectiveness of land forces.

The discussion papers in this section provide Army’s initial hypothesis on what we believe the key challenges will be in designing the Army for 2025 and beyond. Comment is sought on two specific aspects: 1. Are there other challenges Army needs to address in designing the future force? and, 2. If these four areas are the key challenges, have we appropriately bounded the problem?

In addition to these initial four discussion papers Army has also drafted a second series of papers that consider a range of future capability issues. These papers outline how the Army seeks to deliver future capability through its modernisation program and future options to the Australian government and its people. The papers include overviews on the Soldier Combat and Land Combat Systems, the Land Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Framework, the Joint Land Digital NetworkJoint Land Engagement, the Land Force within the Joint Amphibious Capability and Special Operations. The final three papers outline how Army will supportgeneratetrain and sustain the joint land force.

Those wishing to comment are encouraged to read also the Army Aide Memoire and the Modernisation Update. These companion pieces provide a baseline of information on the Australian Army and its future aspirations. In openly discussing the types of challenges described here, the Army seeks to execute its intellectual pivot so that it can constantly adapt to meet future challenges. We welcome informed comment and input.

To provide comment on these papers, please email dflw.publications [at] defence.gov.au. These papers will also be the subject of Land Power Forum blog posts which you can subscribe to at http://www.army.gov.au/Our-future/Blog/Subscribe

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