Book Review: Military Virtues
oday’s soldiers navigate complex ethical dilemmas. They face new threats and often carry unprecedented potential for destructive power. An unfortunate series of ethical failures in recent conflicts, by members of Western military forces has raised the need for improved military ethics training. As military commanders scramble to correct such failings, so too is the need to identify what moral resources are required for soldiers to choose; right over wrong, justice over injustice, virtue over non-virtuous.
Commandant for a Day: Preparing War Colleges for the Future
War colleges around the world have endured significant challenges over the past two years. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on faculties as they wrestled with lockdowns and restrictions that tested the achievement of learning objectives.
To the credit of many, the show has gone on with minimal disruption. Yes, there have been a healthy dose of remote learning periods, but the lectures continued and the assignment deadlines remained largely untouched (much to the dismay of the students).
Let the War Games Begin!
Let the War (Games) Begin!'
Two gaming enthusiasts roll the dice at the Australian Command and Staff College to demonstrate how wargames can be a creative engagement and learning tool that enhances the learning experience.
Australia’s Military Strategic Challenges – Close to Home
The 16 September 2021 announcement of an enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) confirmed beyond any remaining doubt that the Australian Government considers its strategic environment to have permanently changed. The 2020 Defence Strategic Update presaged the announcement by highlighting a number of developments which had swiftly altered the strategic landscape of the Indo-Pacific region since the publication of Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper.
The Art of Pacifism in the Conduct of War
For some, pacifism is a dirty word, shorthand for an unwillingness to fight on behalf of your country. However, pacifism is not just about being anti-war or anti-fighting. It is also about how not to get into a war. It is this latter meaning of pacifism that I draw on in this essay to discuss ethical issues in security strategy, not to undermine the willingness to fight but to consider the pragmatic tools that pacifism provides to prevent the need to fight. I am an amateur boxer, so I understand the inclination to fight and the desire to confront an adversary with force.
Three words that conjure dangerous oversimplification
The Defence Strategic Update of 2020 provided three words that neatly encapsulate Government’s strategic objectives. The words also capture the raison d'etre of the Australian Defence Force and the tasks it is likely to execute in a period of ‘the most consequential strategic realignment since the Second World War’.
Streamlining Air Land Operations for Better Outcomes
How Australia’s ethical failures with Timor-Leste should inform a future shaping strategy for the Indo-Pacific
Australian military planners are grappling with a grey-zone Chinese shaping strategy that threatens to disrupt ‘stability, security and sovereignty’ in the Indo-Pacific. China’s strategy utilises a whole-of-government approach to influence competitors and potential partners through all means short of war.
Defining ‘Right’: What are the ADF’s Ethics?
Rethinking Strategies in Modern Urban Conflicts
The increasingly blurred line between state and non-state actors in tight urban warfare zones requires allied forces to have clearly defined and fully informed communication and command chains to minimise unintended consequences.
Intellectual Edges: Relating to the Radical
This article explores the unfolding conversation on ‘intellectual edges’ to advance a radical proposition to unpick and gently challenge the thinking established on the topic. The ‘intellectual edge’ is explored in an alternative way, with the aim to open-up new possibilities that have otherwise been missed in the rush to give a type of functionality to the idea.
Do we have permission for an Intellectual Edge?
This article explores how hierarchical interpersonal permissions generally inhibit tangible innovation within the ADF. This argument is explored through the forced changes due to the COVID-19 situation, and contends that risk-averse leaders usually withhold permission for reform due to a fear of failure. The article concludes that a JPME continuum that seeks to provide an individual Intellectual Edge must also deliver an institutional learning culture that develops risk tolerance and the acceptance of error so that an organisational intellectual edge is pursued in parallel.