Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 8 2010 Contents 56 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
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A meeting of the minds occurred between 9 – 12 November, when the American, British, Canadian,
Australian and New Zealand (ABCA) Armies Program, National Director’s (ND) and Executive
Council (EC) Meeting was conducted in Brisbane.
Easy as ABCA
Meeting sets focus for five armies program
By Major Frank Brindle
The meeting was hosted by the Deputy Chief
of Army, Major General Paul Symon, and the
Director General Army Operations, Brigadier
Damian Cantwell, and attended by their
Conducted annually, the November meeting
seeks Executive Council direction on the program
focus and strategic guidance for the following
The Executive Council members decided that the
ABCA Program should continue to address tactical
and operational level interoperability issues arising
from current operations, focusing on Afghanistan.
The ABCA Program will commence work on
aligning its approaches to transition to host nation.
Other potential areas of focused effort include
reintegration and building and executing C2 at the
divisional / command joint task force headquarter
The ABCA Program seeks to improve
interoperability between the five armies and the
United States Marine Corp by using doctrine,
technology and materiel solutions to close or
mitigate interoperability gaps across all areas
Mindful that coalition operations will continue
to be norm, the ABCA armies will balance their
efforts forward, aiming to build-in interoperability
into the future.
Since 2006, the Executive Council has directed that
the ABCA Program concentrate its efforts towards
supporting current operations.
Examples of how nations can benefit from sharing
their individual efforts to solve a common problem
include facilitating access to the US TRANSCOM
Regulating and Command and Control Evacuation
This year has seen the development of a Security
Force Capacity Building (SFCB) Handbook and
the development of an information sharing
mechanism for national efforts towards
comprehensive soldier fitness.
TRAC2ES is a web-based tool that allows
users to track up-to-date condition and location
information on Australian personnel in the US
medical evacuation system and is currently in use
in the Middle East Area of Operations. This allows
the ADF to track Australian personnel as they
are evacuated through the US medical system to
facilities in Europe.
The SFCB Handbook provides an agreed
compendium of ABCA approaches, the key
planning considerations including basics of
building partner capacity, SFCB training guidance
and types of capabilities required by the ABCA
nations to conduct SFCB operations.
A chapter on Host Nation Police Capacity Building
is soon to be added, after a meeting to be hosted
by Canada in December.
It will be attended by both military personnel
and members of the Australian Federal Police
and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The armies
intend to release the SFCB Handbook to all troop
contributing nations in Afghanistan.
Although only a new initiative, the nations have
also begun sharing information on their collective
efforts on the complex and important issue of
comprehensive soldier fitness.
Internally, there is now interest in incorporating the
information received from the other nations, into a
holistic health policy solution across the ADF.
The direction from the November meeting will be
further developed and taken forward to the ABCA
annual meeting to be hosted by the British Army
in April 2011.
That meeting will determine where
interoperability gaps exist, identify
tasks to close or mitigate those
gaps, prioritise them and agree
to a program of work for the
12 months following.
ABCA products are available
to military personnel from the
ABCA nations on the website,
Australian Army national
coordination staff will soon
begin to send out products
to personnel deploying into
coalition positions, in an effort
to assist their preparation and
reduce the time it takes them
to become fully productive
members of a coalition team.
aBOVe: Marking Remembrance Day is the ABCA
Executive Council (L-R): Lieutenant General William
Troy (Director Army Staff, Department of the Army),
Major General Richard (Assistant Chief of the
General Staff, British Army), Major General Paul
Symon (Deputy Chief of Australian Army), Major
General Alan Howard (Assistant Chief of Land Staff,
Canadian Forces) and Brigadier Dave Gawn (Deputy
Chief of New Zealand Army). LefT: Deputy Chief
of Army, Major General Paul Symon addresses a
gathering at the Remembrance Day service held
during the Executive Council meeting.
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