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.
Defining ‘Right’: What are the ADF’s Ethics?
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.
The Peril of Extremes: on moral relativism and ethnocentrism
‘If only one person in the world held down a terrified, struggling, screaming little girl, cut off her genitals with a septic blade, and sewed her back up, leaving only a tiny hole for urine and menstrual flow, the only question would be how severely that person should be punished, and whether the death penalty would be a sufficiently severe sanction. But when millions of people do this, instead of the enormity being magnified millions-fold, suddenly it becomes ‘culture’, and thereby magically becomes less, rather than more, horrible…’
Civil-Military Relations in Australia: Past, Present and Future
This Profession of Arms Seminar on the subject of Australian civil–military relations is intended to revive interest in a neglected but important field of study. For four decades, the field of Australian civil–military relations has been an outlier in defence scholarship, a situation which has hampered a better understanding of how policy, strategy and operations are formulated by Australian politicians, military professionals and public servants.
The New ADF – the way to the inclusive future
What follows is a short opinion piece that covers off on the most effective way for the ADF to become relevant to the young people of this nation. It speaks to our existing culture and makes suggestions for improvement.
Nights on the vehicle checkpoint outside the regional hospital were turning into a real drag. The city had been liberated two months ago and the insurgency driven out. The majority of attacks were now skirmishes on the outskirts of town. The key roads leading into the city had been destroyed by the orbital kinetic bombardment system, leaving massive craters where key roads had once existed. Now there were only three heavily guarded choke points accessible to vehicle traffic which the enemy would need to capture if they had any hope of taking the city.
Soldiers Breaking Windows
In the rush to provide an organisational response to allegations of violent war crimes committed by its soldiers, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) risks applying an educational solution to a behavioural problem. This essay proposes instead to examine the triggers and contributing factors behind the behaviour, and to transform the practical training landscape to better prepare soldiers for the intangible pressures they face on the battlefield.
“In many ways the Digger is a study in contradictions.”
The Future is Limited: The Ethics of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems
The successful first flight of Boeing Australia’s ‘Loyal Wingman’ unmanned aircraft in early 2021 marks the introduction of a new and ground-breaking capability for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and the broader Australian Defence Force (ADF). Unlike existing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) employed by the RAAF such as MQ-4C Triton, Loyal Wingman’s unique leveraging of artificial intelligence (AI) in conjunction with its ability to carry a variety of payloads gives it the potential to become the ADF’s first fully autonomous lethal weapon system.
The Aviator – A Story of Death Intertwined with Observations of Cultural Change
By all accounts, my father was what they call a top bloke. A Flight Engineer on C-130 Hercules, he was tall, funny and loved motorbikes, rugby and surfing. He was as active and manly as the Marlboro Man. He was married with two young children, worked in a job he loved, and had more friends than he could count.
Attention ladies! Did you hear?
You can be a musketeer!
Wear a beret, fight like men,
just be sure to hide your femme.
Fire a rifle, hump a pack,
steady girls prepare for flak.
Doesn’t matter what you do,
‘cause Twitter-sphere’s got a view.
Prove your worth and earn your place,
makes no diff’rence for the case.
Token female, yes that’s you,
cheap shots thrown, there are a few.
Integrating Our Military and Personal Stories: A Chaplain’s First Year in the Australian Defence Force
At the heart of the chaplain’s ‘spiritual’ role is assisting members to find congruence in their sense of self and the intersecting storylines of their lives, including their military story. I often invite those who are fatigued by change and challenge to reconnect with the adventure, and mishaps, of initial training. Looking back, yesterday’s challenge is often today’s amusing story. It is also the story of a challenge which has been overcome. These memories of past resilience can provide a source of new energy, the fuel of resilience, to face the challenges of tomorrow.