Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 7 2009 Contents 30
AUSTRALIAN COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE
he ninth Australian
command and staff course
(Acsc) is being conducted this
year at the Australian Defence
college, Weston creek,
canberra. The course brings
together officers from the Australian
Regular and Reserve military, the
Australian Public service, other
government departments such as the
Australian federal Police, along with
officers from more than 20 allied and
The diverse range of backgrounds of the course
members and the currency of their operational
experience provides a unique environment where
new concepts can be explored and contemporary
operational issues can be debated.
Commandant of the Australian Command and
Staff College Brigadier Wayne Goodman said: “the
opportunity to establish firm professional and personal
relationships with the future leaders of Australian,
allied and partner forces is an invaluable one”.
The ACSC is designed to prepare officers and
officials for command and staff appointments in
integrated, joint and single Service environments
at the O5 level by promoting excellence in
military operations and leadership. The one-year
course demonstrates the strong commitment of
the Australian Defence Organisation towards
developing its people.
The White Paper process
TThe ACSC curriculum covers topics such as
critical thinking and planning skills, strategic studies,
regional and global security, counter-terrorism,
leadership and planning in joint operations.
One of the recent additions to the program
has been the introduction of a dedicated module
on ethics. Director of the Centre for Defence
Leadership and Ethics Mr Jamie Cullens, said
the introduction of ethics studies is due to the
recognition that ethics lies at the absolute core of
what defines the military as the warrior profession.
The opportunity for course members to
analyse ethical dilemmas they have faced in
the past and are likely to encounter in future
command appointments is at times confronting
but essential for all military professionals.
The calibre of guest presenters at the ACSC
is impressive, ranging from past governor-generals
and military leaders, through to the current senior
Defence leadership team. This year’s line-up has
included the Chief of the Botswana Defence Force,
the internationally known strategist, Dr Norman
Friedman, and a team of Defence personnel who
served in Rwanda during the Kibeho Massacre.
Through open forum and syndicate discussions
course members are encouraged to challenge
the views presented and develop a broader
understanding of strategic issues.
Lifestyle, study and balance
For course members, one of the most welcome
aspects is the ability to regain some balance
between work and lifestyle. The program and self-
directed study time provides workplace flexibility
and is a refreshing change from the demanding
appointments and operational deployments that
course members may have come from.
The daily routine at ACSC is designed to be
fairly consistent and manageable. The working day
usually begins at 8.30am and the final programmed
event will normally conclude before 5pm. The
weekends are free except for a few weekends
spent travelling in Australia and overseas for the
Joint Capability Tour and Overseas Study Tour. This
provides ample opportunity for course members to
spend time with their families and pursue hobbies
and sporting interests.
The ethos behind the scheduling for the
ACSC is to balance the educational needs of
the college while allowing course members the
opportunity to socialise.
As Wing Commander Howie Edwards of
the Royal Air Force said: “I just like waking up in
Australia everyday, but the highlight of the course
for me has been the opportunity to network.
“Everyday at mornos, I meet someone new and
hear a different perspective on current Defence issues.”
The Officers’ Mess at Weston Creek is
reputed to be one of the best in Canberra and
with a vibrant and multi-national membership it
provides an excellent venue for everything from
happy hours to formal dinners.
As well as the formal social activities such
as the International Day and the Winter Ball, the
curriculum allows for more casual opportunities
to interact and socialise. Wednesday afternoons
are reserved, where possible, for course members
to take part in team sporting activities. Canberra
provides a wealth of opportunities for sport that
includes sailing and rowing on Lake Burley Griffin
and mountain biking at Mount Stromlo.
In addition to the primary goal of earning
the accreditation of Passed Staff College (Joint),
ACSC offers an excellent opportunity to earn credit
towards a Masters degree. The University of New
South Wales (UNSW) is responsible for the delivery
of a number of the core and elective courses
throughout the year at ACSC and awards graduate
credits for their courses.
With a little extra work it is possible to gain
a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in
Defence Studies from the UNSW during the year
at ACSC. This may be converted to a Master of
Arts in Strategy and Policy or a Masters of Arts in
Strategy and Management with the completion of
two additional courses through UNSW which can be
studied by distance education.
Naval officers and civilians who undertake the
Navy Single Service module also complete a course
of instruction through the University of Wollongong
which can be converted to a Graduate Certificate
in Maritime Studies with the completion of an
additional essay. A Masters in Maritime Studies is
available to those who complete a further research
paper on a subject of their choice approved by the
University of Wollongong.
Ms Geraldine Gibson, who was most recently
employed in the International Policy Division and has
pursued the additional studies said: “As a Defence
civilian, I feel that it is a real privilege to be a part
of a military learning environment with people who
have a wealth of operational knowledge.
“It is also very rewarding for me to share my
knowledge of the broader Defence organisation.
Overall, it is a fantastic year.”
More information on the Australian Command
and Staff Course can be obtained from career
management agencies or found at the website:
LeADers oF ThE
By Major Clare Kellaway, Wing Commander howie Edwards and Ms Geraldine Gibson
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