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The Defence Coach

This article follows WGCDR Jacqueline Carswell’s excellent contribution to the Forge ‘One Step to Maximising our People’s Potential’ of 15 Jul 19.

Richard Barrett
6min
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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.

Matthew Gill
5mins
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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.

Andrew Garnett
6mins
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Six Golden Rules for Media Interviews

Media content is being consumed and produced in greater quantities than we’ve ever seen. That means your chances of being asked to step in front of the microphones and cameras are growing. This article provides six golden rules to assist those in Defence if they find themselves fronting the media.

Mark Beretta
5mins

An Introduction to Moral Injury in Defence

The difference between an individual who returns from a deployment morally injured, and an individual who returns unharmed, may be defined by whether they can answer the following questions: ‘what do I really believe? Who am I? Where do I belong? What is my purpose?’. Can you answer those questions?

Unsurprisingly, ‘knowing thyself’ is not a standardised training package delivered by Defence. Should it be so the ADF can craft efficient personnel encapsulating the totality of fitness: physical, intellectual, moral/ethical, and spiritual?

Samuel J. Cox
6mins
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Kill them with kindness - Emotional intelligence as a leadership enabler

One of the most important success factors for any military organisation is the ability to identify and select effective leaders. The purpose of this article is to discuss the role that emotional intelligence can play as a leadership enabler for officers and recommend how it can be incorporated into the officer training continuum. The article provides an overview of the current training curriculum and highlights the advantages of developing emotional intelligence from the ab-initio training level to application in real time situations.

Liz Daly
8min
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The Thinking Combat Brigade: A Dominant and Prestigious Force

Our command teams are charged with constant decision making, on which hinges the success and failure – the life or death – of battles, operations and campaigns. What if the frames of reference we all possess, imposed on us from our similar training, experiences, and culture, could be hindering our ability to make the best decisions? What if we are not as smart as we think we are?

Callum Muntz
10min
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A Year in the Life of a Staff Officer and a General

Many field grade officers will serve as a Staff Officer / Military Assistant during their career within a single service, joint headquarters, or in an interdepartmental position. This article offers our perspective on the working relationship between Staff Officer and General. We hope it will be useful to those who are stepping into these roles in the future.

Kate Tollenaar and Ian Langford
10min
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Synchronising Counterinsurgency Ops with Effective Intelligence

All combat operations need real-time, concrete intelligence, but the counterinsurgency operations’ (COINOPS) margin of error runs thinnest. In their fast, multidimensional context, COINOPS demand more comprehensive intelligence at platoon/company levels than conventional warfare does. This article explores the need for tactical unit leaders fighting insurgencies to have more intelligence assets available in the field in order to offer swift analyses to aid decision making in highly fluid environments.

Anant Mishra
6mins
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Scharnhorst and Professional Mastery


To me, being 'professional' has meant striving for excellence at my everyday job. Until I attended Command and Staff Course at the Australian War College last year, I did not appreciate that being good at my job was not the same as being a military professional. The course broadened my understanding; being a professional requires one to embrace continual learning in all aspects of the profession. I became conscious that through professional mastery, individuals, even those in junior roles, can influence organisational outcomes beyond their job.

SQNLDR Agam Sheldon
3mins

Teaching and Learning in the Australian Command and Staff course

The ACSC contributes to the development of the critical intellectual edge for the Australian Defence Force. It does so in a January-December full-time course at the Weston Campus of the Australian Defence College, in Canberra. 

The philosophy of the course is set out in the Australian Joint Professional Military Education Continuum (2019). In particular, the curriculum sets out the expectation for mid 04- mid 05 APS6-EL1 officers who are at this stages of their career moving from tactical to operational and strategic domains, within the broader Defence organisation. 

CMDR Paul Davidson, RAN
2mins

Learning Vulnerability

Learning to love learning requires passion and persistence. It can be a hard road, but intellectual endeavour is not just a personal challenge, it’s a challenge for the entire military community.

Dr Jack Bowers
3 min