Establishing and maintaining the necessary levels of trust in Australian civil-military relations has been tested over the past decade by incidents such as the ‘Skype’ and ‘children overboard’ incidents. This paper looks at civil-military relations; relationships between the civilian government, society and military leadership. It explores issues of trust, interests and accountability at this critical interface of national interest. It concludes with a list of suggestions that may help build more resilient relationships between those in the profession of arms, the elected government, and the people they both serve.
Brian Agnew has worked in the Department of Defence, including in the office of the defence minister, for over 10 years. Prior to this, he had an extensive career in the Australian Army, seeing service in Rhodesia and involvement in Defence’s contribution to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Mr Agnew is currently on staff at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies at Weston Creek, Canberra. He has a Masters of Public Administration and a BA in Military Studies.