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).
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.
The shifting sands of war
Familiar concepts of energy, strategy and territory are undergoing a transformation in the new geopolitical frontline of virtual space where intellectual sovereignty is becoming critical. The fight is no longer chiefly over what lies under the sand, but what strategic power can be derived from the sand itself. Australia must reconsider what it means to supply the world with raw material.
Joint Warfighting - The Impact of Assumption and Bias
Are aspects of the JMAP fundamentally flawed? In the absence of a complete intelligence picture, planners often make a series of assumptions. These are based on an unproven assessment of the adversary plan. Within these assumptions lie a series of unanswered questions relating to ‘intent’. This article explores how bias and assumption can impact on the planning process and complicate the successful attainment of the end-state.
Michael Pezzullo’s seven gathering storms: national security in the 2020s
Mr Michael Pezzullo, Secretary, Department of Home Affairs, addressed the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on 13 March 2019 and provided a framework for considering emerging security risks - the 'future stormy possibilities' - into the next decade. This article is reprinted from 'The Mandarin' (image: Wordpress.com)
Scenario Planning and Strategy in the Pentagon
Dr. Michael Fitzsimmons at the U.S. Army War College examines scenario planning in the Pentagon. He demonstrates how uncertainty and complexity converge with the DOD’s bureaucratic decision-making to subvert what should be a straightforward process. His recommendations for reorienting this invite debate among strategists, planners, and the broader joint community.