Thoughts from The Edge
Mick Ryan is the Commander of the Australian Defence College. This column from Ryan and his contributors focusses on intellectually preparing members of the profession of arms for strategic competition and future conflict.
How to Think (and How Not To)
In this piece, Ben McLennan discusses the pressing need to educate the Army’s workforce on how to think (and how not to). In his discussion, McLennan cogently addresses systems thinking, inherent biases and the need for open-mindedness as part of understanding the recipe to transform Army’s thinking. While specific to McLennan’s Army experience, his observations are equally applicable to other Services and anyone who aspires to think in a way that harnesses a competitive advantage.
Center of Gravity: What Clausewitz Really Meant (Part 1 of 2)
Part one of a two-part article written by Professor Joseph L. Strange, Marine Corps War College and COL Richard Iron, British Army.
This paper explores what Clausewitz really meant by the term “center of gravity”. The authors propose that he intended it to be a strength, either moral or physical, and a dynamic and powerful agent in its own right. The authors also suggest that the current Joint and NATO definition of center of gravity is incorrect, implying it to be a source of strength, and that this mis-definition has been responsible for much of the confusion about the concept that exists today.
Managing Assumptions in Planning and Execution
Officers’ Call: The Profession of Arms
In 1962, General Sir John Winthrop Hackett, GCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC delivered a series of lectures on the Profession of Arms at Trinity College, Cambridge. A renowned soldier, author and historian, General Hackett served with distinction in the Second World War and his career culminated in his appointment as the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine. Following the success of these lectures, he released a well-received book on the same subject, also called ‘The Profession of Arms’. The lectures provide a good historical basis for officers who wish to conduct further study of the profession of arms.
The Royal Australian Air Force Leadership Companion
The Air Force Leadership Companion is designed to assist Air Force personnel in understanding and contextualising the foundations of leadership as espoused in ADDP 00.6 Leadership. This companion explores the context of Social Mastery: Character, Professional Ethics, Followership and Leadership in the Air Force.
CDLE Command Paper 1 - 2016
The CDLE Command Paper 1-2016 is Commodore Peter Scott’s CSC, RAN account of Submarine Command and the issues he faced during his Command. In his paper CDRE Scott covers: qualification to command an Australian submarine, leadership with ultimate accountability and authority, the essential elements of command, purpose, vision and realism as guiding concepts, methods of submarine command, lessons from submarine command, obligations inherent in submarine command, behaviours, and traits to value and nurture.
CDLE Ethics Paper 1 - 2016
Ethics and morality are often seen as esoteric concepts, and are often misunderstood. Just like good manners, everyone thinks that they have been correctly taught what is right or wrong, good or bad, but the reality is that most people do not have a framework for understanding the conceptual underpinning of why they hold these particular beliefs. In order to behave ethically and know the difference between ethical extremes one must be aware of the different perspectives of ethics.
Redefining the Center of Gravity
COL Dale C. Eikmeier, USA (Ret.), is an Assistant Professor at the U.S. Army Command and General staff College. COL Eikmeier shares his thoughts on identifying Center of Gravity. This method will provide campaign planners with an analytical tool that will fulfil doctrinal intent.
Understanding Centers of Gravity and Critical Vulnerabilities (Part 2 of 2)
Part two of a two-part article written by Professor Joseph L. Strange, Marine Corps War College and COL Richard Iron, British Army.
This paper examines the role of centers of gravity in operational design, looking at the relationship between centers of gravity and critical vulnerabilities. It suggests an analytical model that joint warfighters and planners on both sides of the Atlantic can use to assist strategic and operational-level planning. The model helps to analyze existing and potential vulnerabilities of a center of gravity, and determine which of those could be especially critical.
Modern War Institute Podcast – Ep 60: The Brain and the Battlefield
In this episode of the MWI Podcast, Maj. Jake Miraldi talks to Dr. Charles Morgan, a forensic psychologist whose work has helped us better understand the nature of stress and psychological responses to it on the battlefield. Dr. Morgan engages with a range of important questions about neurobiology and the unique stress of combat.
Dr. Phillip Karber on the Russian Way of War
Speaking to staff and cadets at the United States’ West Point Academy, Dr. Phillip Karber describes what he has learned about the Russian way of war from thirty trips he has made to Ukraine, including six months on the front lines of the war in the country's east. This lecture highlights how a re-imagined Russian military is conducting technologically advanced joint-land combat against a ‘near peer’ military – the Ukrainian Armed Forces.