Book Review: Stopping Military Suicides, by Kate Hendricks Thomas and Sarah Plummer Taylor
Veteran suicides number 500 in Australia over the last two decades, overshadowing 41 combat deaths. This is the context of the urgent need for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Statistics suggest the scale of the issue but it gets starkly personal when we know or have supported someone who has taken their own life or thought about it.
Book review: Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War, by Joan Beaumont
My fascination with the Great War, as for other amateur genealogists, begins with the involvement of my relatives. My wife’s paternal grandfather Edward Funston served on the Western Front and suffered trench feet, as well as his brother Hubert Funston who was shot beside him. Her maternal great grandfather Thomas William Austin also served, and survived the war but disappeared. On my father’s side, Fred Petty arrived on the Western Front in December 1917 and was killed by a German shell in March 1918.
Indonesia and China: Geostrategic Implications for the ADF
As security tensions heighten in the Indo-Pacific, Australia is well placed to strengthen its relationship with Indonesia by stepping up military cooperation to jointly address China's growing influence in our region.
Book Review: Dare to Lead, by Brené Brown
Brené Brown has been researching vulnerability, shame and resilience for two decades. Her TED talk on “The power of vulnerability” has 37 million views and is one of the five most watched. Her latest book Dare to Lead draws on her consulting and personal experience, teaching and evaluating the “Brave Leaders” course and interviewing 150 global C-level leaders to unpack the ingredients of brave leadership and courageous organizations.
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).
An Inclusive ADF Or The Dustbin of History?
Inclusivity and diversity are not about wokeness or being politically correct – they are the opposites of exclusivity and homogeneity.
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'
Bob Dylan, ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ ‘
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’.