Joint Professional Military Education (JPME)

The Australian Joint Professional Military Education Continuum is Australia’s system to develop mastery in the Profession of Arms and aims to cultivate an intellectual edge in warfighting. The Joint Professional Military Education Continuum comprises:

  • Learning levels one to five (aligned to career phases)
  • Performance-based joint officer attributes and behaviours
  • Four Professional Areas of Study
  • Strategic Learning Outcomes (outlined in Part II of The Australian Joint Professional Military Education Continuum); and
  • Curricula (available online in 2019)

For more detailed information on Australia’s JPME Continuum, download the official guidebook here:

Intellectual Edge
  • Agile
  • Flexible
  • Innovative
  • Trusted
  • Engaged

Optimises Acquisition & Exploitation of Information
Innovative Thinking to Exploit Assets
Cognitive Determination
Displays Adaptation to Evolving Conditions
Superior Decision Making
Superior Communication & Engagement Skills
Handling Complexity & Uncertainty

JPME Levels

Australia’s Joint Professional Military Education system aims to develop mastery in the Profession of Arms with the intent of producing an intellectual advantage in warfighting for Defence. Development of an intellectual edge requires a commitment to professional, self-directed learning that spans a career. The Australian Defence College provides education opportunities for all Defence personnel to develop mastery in the key topic areas of national security policy and strategy; command, leadership and ethics, joint warfighting and technology. Also, by expanding education offerings through open-source, flexible delivery platforms and developing cognitive capacity and academic skills, the Australian Defence College is building the professional for future warfare.

  • Learning Level One: Professional Foundation

    Level One establishes the foundation for junior leadership within the profession of arms. At this level Joint Officers appreciate the context and roles as an emerging member of the Profession of Arms through a thorough introduction to the Joint Force. It is a critical phase for inculcating the values and attitudes and behaviours demanded of the Profession of Arms and developing skills in critical thinking and technical literacy within service systems. This level is primarily the responsibility of the Australian Defence Force Academy and Service ab-initio officer training institutions, supported by Australian Defence College.

  • Learning Level Two: Tactical Mastery

    Level 2 continues to build the foundation for junior leadership within the profession of arms, through tactical mastery within their own Service and specialisation. This Level is characterised by application of skills in leadership and Joint warfighting at the tactical level. Officers at this level will increase their comprehension of and exposure to Joint perspectives and environments, including in-Service systems and emerging technology systems that affect the joint battlespace, while contributing their individual specialisation and skills. This is the primary responsibility of the Services, supported by Australian Defence College.

  • Learning Level Three: Operational Art

    Level Three builds on the significant experiential learning provided by the Services and group. This period marks a transition from the tactical to the operational and strategic domains as well as the need to understand and operate within the broader Defence Organisation. At this level officers and Defence Australian Public Service junior executives expand their interactions with Joint matters at the operational levels of peace and war and are able to carry out national military strategy and develop operational plans. They are introduced to the Capability Life Cycle, emerging technological trends and disruptive technology effects. This is the point in the Continuum where Defence personnel begin to develop and apply strategic leadership capabilities, which builds on their tactical, Service leadership and management experience. Officers will be prepared for unit level command appointments. This learning is the responsibility of Australian Defence College, with support from the Services.

  • Learning Level Four: Nascent Strategist

    Level Four prepares officers and Defence Australian Public Service Executives for key command and staff appointments that are able to lead staff at the operational and strategic levels of the organisation. This level prepares officers for command at formation level. Level Four Officers and Executives apply military power in support of national objectives in joint inter-agency, inter-governmental and multinational environments and are able to use instruments of national power to develop national military strategy, policy, operational plans and Australian Defence Force concepts that incorporate emerging future technological trends.

  • Learning Level Five: National Security Leadership

    Level Five prepares officers and Defence Australian Public Service Senior Executives for key command appointments at Service, Group and Departmental levels. Officers and Senior Executives operating at this level possess the habits of mind, personal mastery and critical faculties to operate in a competitive, technologically complex and volatile environment at the highest level of strategic responsibility. They influence and implement national strategy holistically by orchestrating all instruments of national power, in a coherent plan to achieve national objectives in peace, crisis and war.

Professional
Areas of Study

  • National Security Policy and Strategy

    Study the Australian Defence Force and Australia’s place in the regional and global context. Resources cover policy and strategy within the Australian Department of Defence and the broader national security community.

  • Command Leadership and Ethics

    Study the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour that are essential for effective performance in a strategic, multi-national environment. Resources are relevant to leadership within small groups, diverse workforces and complex organisations.

  • Joint Warfare

    Study the nature and changing character of war through the lens of applied military history. Resources cover operational design, logistics, campaigning and the application of military concepts across the domains and spectrum of conflict.

  • Technology and Capability

    Study Australian Defence Force capabilities. Resources cover the capability life cycle and project management including their relationship to future operational concepts. Topics include emerging technologies and their relevance to future joint warfare.

Joint Behaviours

  • Learning Level One: Professional Foundation (ab-initio through First Appointment Course O2)

    At this level, Joint officers are expected to:

    • Contribute to organisational purpose and direction
    • Achieve results by making the best use of own abilities
    • Actively contribute to team goals through cooperation and building good team relationships
    • Display high ethical and professional standards and practices in all aspects of work
    • Convey ideas and concepts within own team and other workgroups
    • Develop foundation level knowledge of joint warfare, strategy and national security and technology and capability
    • Apply a systems thinking approach to understand the complexity of problems in the process of contributing to ideas generation and assessing potential solutions.
    • Display intellectual curiosity
  • Learning Level Two: Tactical Mastery (O2 - Junior O4)

    At this level, Joint officers are expected to:

    • Comprehend, support and promote organisational purpose and direction
    • Achieve results by making the best use of team and own professional, technical and social mastery
    • Build rapport and cooperation within and across teams to produce effective outcomes
    • Display and foster high ethical and professional standards and practices in all aspects of work
    • Facilitate and promote ideas, concepts and arguments within own team and other workgroups
    • Develop tactical level knowledge of joint warfare, strategy and national security and technology and capability
    • Employ creative thinking to produce novel ideas and apply critical thinking techniques to evaluate their usefulness to resolve moderately complex problems.
    • Commit to self-directed learning
  • Learning Level Three: Operational Art (mid O4 - mid O5, APS 6 – EL1)

    At this level, joint officers and junior executives are expected to:

    • Provide direction to others by illustrating how teams align with organisational purpose and direction
    • Achieve results by building teams with complementary skills and expertise and allocating resources appropriately
    • Build and sustain relationships with a network of key people internally and externally
    • Model high ethical and professional standards as an effective representative of the organisation in public and internal forums
    • Translate ideas, concepts and information to bring mutual understanding and agreed courses of action within own organisation and across whole-of-government
    • Develop and apply operational level knowledge of joint warfare, strategy and national security and technology and capability
    • Generate creative approaches and apply critical thinking to produce a range of options to uncertain problems that balance risks and assumptions to assist decision makers
    • Explore potential areas of study within the Profession of Arms to make a future contribution to the JPME body of knowledge
  • Learning Level Four: Strategic Engagement (senior O5-O6, EL 1 – EL 2)

    At this level, Joint officers and APS Executives are expected to:

    • Develop strategic direction and long terms plans for the organisation to create a shared sense of purpose in an environment of on-going change and uncertainty
    • Achieve results deploying resources astutely, identifying optimum resourcing combinations and managing risk in cross-agency approaches to national security objectives
    • Build and sustain inter-agency, inter-governmental and multinational relationships that provide a rich intelligence network
    • Model high ethical and professional standards as an effective representative of the organisation in international forums
    • Provides advice to government that reflects analysis of a broad range of issues
    • Formulate and execute strategic level knowledge of joint warfare, strategy and national security and technology and capability
    • Apply experience, rigorous critical thinking and intuition to assess decision options for highly ambiguous and ill-defined problems.
    • Conduct research in a specialist area of the Profession of Arms which contributes to the JPME body of knowledge
  • Learning Level Five: National Security Leadership (O7+, SES 1+)

    At this level, joint officers are expected to:

    • Set the strategic direction for the Defence enterprise and creates a shared sense of purpose across governmental, inter-agency and multinational organisations
    • Achieve results by engaging in agile resource management, looking beyond the organisation’s boundaries to achieve the optimum resourcing combination
    • Sustain deep professional relationships that facilitate cooperation and partnerships through which the joint force derives strength and unity of effort
    • Model high ethical and professional standards as an effective representative of the organisation in international forums
    • Provide advice to government that reflects analysis of a broad range of issues, influences decisions in government, other departments, other military organisations and industry
    • Display resilience and adaptability in continuously reforming and streamlining organisational structures and processes
    • Determine and evaluate strategic level knowledge of joint warfare, strategy and national security and technology and capability
    • Capitalise on experience and intuition and exemplify critical thinking behaviours to assess the strategic impact of potential scenarios to the organisation, government and Australian public.
    • Champion the Profession of Arms and research which contributes to the JPME body of knowledge.