CAPTION: Chief of Army Lieutenant General Simon Stuart tours the convention floor at Land Forces 2022 in Brisbane. Photo by Sergeant Tristan Kennedy.
We meet today on the land of the Jagera and Turrbal people, and I offer my respects to elders past, present and emerging.
Our Army has a long and proud history of Indigenous service, so I acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who are with us this morning who have served our Defence Force in times of peace and war.
Thank you to the Queensland government for hosting this event.
I extend a very warm welcome and thank you to the 22 national delegations joining us at this years’ land Forces, and especially to my counterparts and other representatives who have travelled a long way to be here.
Thank you to the AMDA Foundation for convening this years’ International Land Defence Exposition.
Army is very proud to be associated, and appreciates the efforts that have gone to host us to breakfast this morning.
And thank you to all of our conference partners and sponsors for your interest and investment.
Your presence demonstrates the convening power, shared interests and our common purpose – towards a secure, stable and prosperous global community.
Events such as Land Forces are such important opportunities to organise around, come together and focus our attention on how we can collectively meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
I would like to focus my remarks this morning on why we are here together – our purpose.
The future is uncertain and unknowable – we are working every day to build our capacity, our capability, our readiness and our relationships.
We are working every day to understand our operating environment and to understand the risks, the threats and the opportunities that it might present.
We are working every day to prepare for the worst case scenario.
The future is uncertain and Army’s contribution to the Defence Strategy will continue to adapt and evolve.
But our contribution will always be founded on people and the teams we form.
Teaming and teamwork are what Army does best.
Teaming behaviours enable high performance through shared purpose, connection, accountability, information sharing, continuous learning, experimentation, innovation and collaboration.
Army brings teams together – whether they are combined arms, Joint, multidisciplinary or multinational teams.
Or indeed, the teaming that is evident here at Land Forces over the next three days – the Army, industry, academia and Government.
Successful teams achieve unity of effort through unity of purpose and trust.
Our purpose is to transform our Army to prevail among the most complex, lethal and demanding challenges of the 21st Century, and to ensure that the ADF is relevant and credible in all domains – which includes the land domain.
And make no mistake, it is indeed a transformation and one that involves every one of our people, teams and capabilities.
It involves every aspect of our organisation; it will impact how we generate readiness, how we modernise, how we retain, recruit, educate, train and develop our people.
Moreover, it will impact how we support our Joint and Combined team mates, and the ways they go about supporting us.
Protected, Connected, Lethal and Enabled
Because to prevail in the 21st century, the Australian Army must be protected, connected, lethal and enabled.
Army will make a greater contribution at the operational and strategic levels through new and transformed capabilities such as networked long-range fires, littoral manoeuvre, cyber, space, information warfare, and functionally aligned special operations forces.
We are modernising our scalable, world-class combined arms fighting system – which is a system of systems in and of itself.
It is the only part of the ADF capable of fighting and persisting in the most lethal of land environments to give our soldiers the best probability of mission success, and the best chance of surviving and coming home.
We are enhancing and expanding our health, logistics, engineering and aviation capabilities, as well as our command and management laydown in order to be better positioned to modernise, scale, contribute to mobilisation, and improve our readiness.
We are equally active in modernising the ways in which people can serve to help us generate the flexibility and capacity we need.
We are transforming the way we train, build partnerships, and embrace contemporary learning approaches to thinking and education – to leverage the incredible potential of our people.
Underpinning all this is the application of new and emerging technologies.
We are focused on four areas: Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, Quantum and human performance optimisation through an applied, ‘learn by doing’ approach with industry and academia.
And we are leveraging the potential of data analytics to better see ourselves and unlock latent potential, measure our performance and effectiveness, and better understand risk.
We are also adjusting our posture by leveraging the potential of our Total Workforce System (full-time, part-time and everything in between), investing capability and seeking to leverage joint basing opportunities and the dispersal and resilience of our estate across the 157 Army locations that span the breadth and depth of our nation.
We cannot do it alone.
Army’s transformation requires a team effort – not just in the delivery of programs but in advocacy for a relevant and credible Army.
At a time when conventional wisdom rejects the enduring nature of warfare, preferring to focus exclusively on its changing character – and more narrowly on the promise of technology as the ‘silver bullet’ (as it were).
This, combined with a superficial analysis of the geography of the Indo Pacific.
Our collective challenge is to advocate the purpose and utility of land power using history, strategy, facts and data – and to do so in unison.
Ours is a narrative of “and not or”, of an ADF that is relevant and credible in all domains, and an Army that sends forth its women and men into the most complex and lethal land environments with the best probability of mission success, and the best probability of survival and returning home to families.
Thank you for all that you do for our Army, for your commitment and teamwork – in service of our national interests and our soldiers.
Lieutenant General Simon Stuart
Chief of the Australian Army
4 October 2022