Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 1 2016 Contents CDF Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin says operational and capability
commitments will make for a busy year
WITH THE CDF
14 Defence Issue 1 2016
What are your main thoughts about what
2016 has in store?
I can’t see the tempo decreasing in 2016,
not with the current threat environment, not
with the new capabilities coming on, and not
with the change we’re going through in the
The ADF will continue to make significant
contributions in our support to the community
and on operations.
Around 270 Australian personnel are
deployed to Afghanistan as part of our
contribution to the NATO-led Resolute Support
Mission. During the first half of the year,
Australia and other contributing nations will
consider our post-2016 commitments in the
lead up to the NATO Summit in Warsaw in
July. Events over the past year have shown that
Afghan security forces need more time and
assistance to develop as an independent force,
but I believe they demonstrated they are a force
worth investing in.
Equally, our training missions in Iraq have
proven their value in building the Iraqi Army’s
capacity to fight Daesh. The Australian-trained
76th Brigade and Iraqi Special operations Force
Brigade were integral in recapturing Ramadi.
We will continue our work to build the Iraqi
Army’s capability throughout 2016 so that they
can maintain their momentum to take back
more territory from Daesh with critical air
support from Australian and coalition aircraft.
When I look ahead, we’ve also got two
significant bodies of work coming together: the
White Paper then the big-ticket issues within
the First Principles Review will begin to take
effect. Additionally, I expect the Headquarters
Review to be completed this year. These will
come together to not only shape the way
Defence is in the future, but how we will do
business in the future.
History also tells us that we should expect
the unexpected. There are always challenges
there, but the fact is we always continue
to deliver for the Australian people and
Government. Our people are some of the best in
the world and are focused on getting results –
for me, that’s what makes this job so good.
You have mentioned about the major
reform occurring across Defence. What is
your message to ADF and APS personnel
about the changes the First Principles Re-
view will bring?
We will see more significant change this year.
In particular the structure of the centre at
Russell will change markedly as Capability
Development Group disbands and those
functions go to the Service Headquarters and
VCDF Group, and as we see the Strategy area
step up as well with the contestability part.
There will be large structural changes in the
first six months of this year that will drive a lot
of the new processes and how we are going to
We need to stick with this and remember
that the aims of the First Principles Review are
exactly that: to try and simplify what we do and
go back to first principles.
We said we’d do this over two years – that
was the commitment to Government – and even
that two-year process is accelerated for some
of the things we want to achieve. Most of the
structural change will be in the Groups and
Services in Canberra. Out in the field, people
should see a better outcome, but most won’t be
touched by the structural changes as markedly
as people in Canberra.
How effective do you think our contribu-
tion has been to the coalition to disrupt
and degrade Daesh?
Australia is a significant contributor to the
coalition. If you go back to the situation in Iraq
and Syria in August-September 2014, ISIL –
or Daesh – was perceived as invincible. Since
then their progression has been stopped, we’ve
proven they are not invincible, the counterattack
is occurring by Iraqi forces supported by
coalition air assets and coalition training, more
than 40 per cent of territory that ISIL had taken
has been recaptured and ISIL leadership is in
You’re seeing successes, but we’ve often said
it will be three to five years to be able to support
the Iraqis and train their forces to a point that
they can secure their borders.
If you look at what we contributed to that
over the last year, our Special Operations Task
Group’s advise and assist mission trained
over 800 Iraqi personnel, our Building Partner
Capacity mission trained over 2500 Iraqi
“OUR PEOPLE ARE SOME
OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD
AND ARE FOCUSED ON
GETTING RESULTS – FOR
ME, THAT’S WHAT MAKES
THIS JOB SO GOOD.”
AIR CHIEF MARSHAL MARK BINSKIN,
Army personnel, the F/A-18s in the Air Task
Group flew over 600 missions or 1200 sorties,
the Wedgetail over 190 command and control
missions in Iraq and Syria, the KC-30 Tanker
about 550 air-to-air refuelling missions, and at
sea in the past two years RAN ships have seized
almost $5 billion worth of illegal narcotics,
a significant contribution in the fight against
What stands out in your mind about the
year just gone?
The first thing that comes to mind is the
success on operations. We had about 7500 ADF
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