Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 6 2011 Contents DEFENCE MAGAZINE
CHIEF OF DEFENCE FORCE’S COLUMN
By General David Hurley
Looking back and
At this time of year we
are inclined to consider
the past 12 months; to recall
our achievements, celebrate
our successes, examine our
shortcomings and plot a
course for the new year.
History will show 2011 was one of
the most intense operational periods the
ADF has experienced in recent years. I
am extremely proud of our response to a
number of humanitarian and disaster relief
effor ts at home and abroad last summer.
At its peak, almost 3,500 ADF
personnel were providing assistance in
the wake of Cyclone Yasi and following
floods in Queensland and Victoria. This
not only demonstrated our capacity to
respond to short notice requests, but
to do so while maintaining our ongoing
Our ability to respond so quickly,
effectively and professionally across such
a broad range of tasks is a tribute to the
quality and dedication of all our ser vice
and civilian personnel.
There are currently around 3,330
ADF personnel deployed overseas
including our missions in East Timor, the
Solomon Islands and a variety of smaller
operations. In addition, close to 550
members are engaged in domestic border
Each one of these people is making
a valuable contribution to the peace,
stability and security of our region.
So too are the thousands of ADF and
Defence personnel who suppor t them.
I have visited Afghanistan several times
this year and each visit reinforces to me
that our ADF personnel are highly skilled
and committed to our mission; to train the
Afghan National Army in Uruzgan Province.
The transition process has formally
begun, demonstrating the Afghan Nation
Army’s increasing capability. This
progress is our legacy to the soldiers
who have been killed in action in
Afghanistan, 11 men this year and 32
since operations began in 2001. Our
thoughts are with their family and
friends, particularly at this time of year.
Sadly, Australia also lost the nation’s
sole sur viving World War I veteran.
Claude Choules will not be forgotten.
HMAS Choules will be a fitting tribute
to the former Chief Petty Officer.
This year provided several
oppor tunities for celebration.
Corporal Ben Rober ts-Smith was
awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry
and daring in the face of the enemy
while in circumstances of extreme peril
Each of the three ser vices celebrated
individual milestones. Army
commemorated its 110th anniversary, Navy
marked the centenary of Royal Assent and
the RAAF reached its 90th birthday.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
presented new Queen’s and Regimental
Colours to Royal Military College
Duntroon to mark its centenary year,
while around 1200 soldiers, sailors
airmen and airwomen provided a rousing
reception for US President Barack
Obama during his brief visit to Darwin.
Australia’s Federation Guard played
a prominent role in these visits and
that of the Danish Royals, but behind
the scenes a significant number of
Defence personnel were engaged for
many months, undertaking a variety of
support and security tasks.
President Obama’s visit culminated
in the announcement of an increase
in US training in Australia. In many ways
this announcement will build on what are
already well established combined and joint
In July, Exercise Talisman Sabre brought
14,000 US and 8,500 Australian personnel
together in Queensland. From 2012, US
Marines will deploy on a more regular
basis to Darwin and Nor thern Australia, for
around six months at a time, where they will
conduct exercises and training on a rotational
basis with the Australian Defence Force. The
initial deployment will consist of a small
liaison element and a company of 250 US
In coming years, the intent is to establish a
rotational presence of up to 2,500 personnel
in a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF).
Expanding US engagement in our
region will provide tangible benefits to
Australia through enhanced ADF training
oppor tunities and improvements in
interoperability with United States’ forces.
In particular, increased oppor tunities for
combined training exercises with our US
counterparts will allow us to draw on
the Marines’ experience as we train and
prepare for the introduction of our LHDs.
We will begin the New Year with a plan
to address the recommendations arising
from the suite of cultural reviews. The
reviews were conducted independent to
the Department but the outcomes belong
After thorough consideration it is
clear that adopting a simple tick and
flick approach to implementing the
recommendations will not work. We have
already under taken a significant amount
of work to combine the recommendations
into a single comprehensive and
coordinated plan that allows us to
trace our actions back to individual
The Minister, the Secretary and I are all
united on this approach and the Defence
Committee is dedicated to ensuring we
achieve the right outcomes.
Finally, after another busy year, I would like
to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe
and happy holiday season and extend my best
wishes to all for a successful and productive
of another significant,
challenging, but overall
successful year in Defence.
Our world class Defence organisation has
successfully contributed to operations both
overseas and at home, and provided critical
humanitarian support to our neighbours
in New Zealand, following the devastating
earthquakes in Christchurch; and in the
aftermath of the earthquakes and tsunami in
Japan. Closer to home, Defence was on the
ground providing essential support following
the floods that ravaged Queensland, New
SouthWales andVictoria at the start of the year.
TheADF successfully performs in very
challenging, diverse environments. Our
military is skilled at adapting to changeable
circumstances.As public servants, we respond
in kind to ensure we effectively support
Defence capability. However, overall as an
organisation, we must also be adaptable.We
must be able to grow and to change to the
environment within which we work.
Our Government has the challenging
task of returning the Federal Budget to a
surplus by next financial year.This has a
significant impact on Defence.
We are working within the constraints
of a capped budget which means that
we have been given a certain amount of
money we can spend and we cannot go
over that amount.Within those finite
resources, we have the ambitious task of
achieving Force 2030, an outcome of the
2009 DefenceWhite Paper.
As you know, the SRP is our vehicle for
driving organisational change. We need to
become more efficient, more effective, and
deliver Force 2030.The rate of change is
intense; however we know that this reform is
fundamental to our ongoing sustainability.
Last financial year, Defence achieved its
targeted cost savings under SRP that can be
reinvested into Defence capability. However,
our reform agenda is much greater than
that - while we need to be able to fund and
effectively equip the ADF and our national
security functions into the future, we also
need to assess the way we do business.We
must improve our productivity and make
better use of our resources.
I have been impressed at the levels of
commitment and staff involvement in
the reform program, and in the various
initiatives that have been introduced across
In August, as part of our reform agenda, the
Government agreed to the recommendations
of the Rufus Black review of accountability.
Defence’s accountability systems are diffused
and this has a direct impact on our decision
making and productivity.The CDF and I will
make further announcements with respect to
the Black review in the new year.
In June, the Government announced the
Force Posture Review. Defence’s current
basing arrangements are in response to both
historical and strategic decisions.We need
to ensure that the geographic positioning of
the ADF is aligned with current and future
As Australia welcomed the President of the
United States of America, the Government
and President Obama announced an
agreement whereby US troops will be
training and exercising for part of the year in
Darwin.This is just one element that will be
incorporated in the Force Posture Review,
due to report early next year.
There has also been the impetus to
change other aspects of our organisation.
The Defence culture was under the media
spotlight earlier this year, resulting in the
commissioning of several reviews.The reviews
reported between July and November and we
are currently working to develop a plan for
implementing the various recommendations.
CDF and I will provide you with further detail
in the months to come.
While the reviews have identified areas
that we can improve, they also noted the
many and varied qualities that already
exist in our organisation.
During my first week in Defence I was
pleased to launch the Core Capability
Framework, a key part of our People
Strategy.The framework is an important tool
for managing personal development, career
planning, and as part of our recruitment
practices and staff management.
In the people space, we also started
negotiations for the new Defence
Enterprise Collective Agreement.The
initial proposal did not achieve majority
support from employees, and discussions
have been ongoing since.
The next vote took place from December
14-16 and I must emphasise that this proposal
is based on what the Government can
afford in the context of an uncertain global
economic environment. Defence is proposing
to retain and enhance its employment
conditions in conjunction with a fair pay offer.
The various reforms and activities I
have mentioned all share the same goal:
to strengthen Defence.They are about
harnessing our existing effort and core
strengths to build a more efficient, more
agile and more effective organisation.
I want to thank you for your efforts this
year. I appreciate that we are operating in
challenging circumstances and I cannot
say that things will get any easier in the
short term. However, I can assure you that
I am committed to working with you to
succeed against the targets we have set-so
that we can sustain our first-class Defence
Force, achieve against our Government
responsibilities, and deliver value for
money to the Australian people.
Before closing, I want to acknowledge
the sacrifice of our fallen soldiers this
year. My thoughts are with their families
and loved ones, especially during the
I wish each of you, and your loved ones, a
safe and enjoyable festive season. I hope that
many of you are able to take a break during
the Christmas period. If you are travelling,
please drive carefully and I look forward to
working with you again in 2012.
Significant and challenging
year for Defence
By Mr Duncan Lewis
Links Archive Issue 5 2011 Issue 1 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page