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Issue 2 2018 Defence
HE Joint Concepts and Futures
Directorate is part of the Force Analysis
Branch within the Force Design Division
of ADF Headquarters and is staffed by a
mix of APS and ADF personnel.
The Directorate produces a detailed narrative of
a plausible future, identifying issues and opportuni-
ties for the ADF and assists in testing these ideas to
inform force design.
The Director Joint Concepts and Futures, Group
Captain David Banham, says that as the name
implies, the futures team looks at what the future
ADF might look like.
“The team focuses on understanding the potential
operating environments the ADF may face in 2035-
50,” David says.
“This is not about trying to read a crystal ball and
predict the events that might occur on a given day in
“Rather, the team assesses and analyses current
day activities and trends, as well as research and
development occurring worldwide, to understand the
likely trajectory of society and technology.
“Using this information, we are able to extrapo-
late plausible and probable future scenarios as well as
make informed judgements about Australia and the
ADF’s strategic interests in those scenarios.”
The primary document produced by the Futures
Team is the Future Operating Environment (FOE).
The FOE is the outcome of the team’s assessments
and analyses and examines those future contexts and
our enduring strategic interests.
This understanding allows the team to identify
areas of competition and define operational dilemmas
and opportunities for the ADF.
The Deputy Director Futures and Assessments,
Dr Drew Ninnis, says the FOE provides the context
for force exploration activities conducted by the Joint
“The Joint Concepts team links strategy to the
development and employment of future force capa-
bilities by developing alternative models of capa-
bility and testing their effectiveness in supporting
Defence’s strategic objectives and missions,” Drew
Using the information provided by the Futures
team, as well as guidance from Strategic Policy
Division and Government, the team develops and
describes potential models of Joint Force capability.
The Deputy Director Future Concepts,
Commander Stephen Newing, says potential models
are rigorously tested.
“In order to understand which models are more
A small team within the Joint Concepts and
Futures Directorate is looking at what the
ADF may look like in years to come
effective in different operational environments,
the potential models of capability undergo testing
through joint experimentation,” Stephen says.
“All of this provides Defence and government
with the confidence to enable investment decision
The Concepts team’s primary document is
Australia’s Joint Operating Concept (AJOC), which
provides the warfighting narrative, central idea, char-
acteristics and abilities for the force. All of this iden-
tifies the uniquely Australian way in which the ADF
achieves operational success.
“In doing so, Joint Concepts drive transformation
for a more capable and potent Joint Force,” Stephen
The Integrated Investment Program (IIP) is the
practical means through which Defence develops,
procures and sustains the various capabilities that
makes up the Joint Force.
The Director General Force Analysis Branch, Air
Commodore Richard Lennon, says the Joint Concepts
and Futures Directorate cannot achieve all its out-
comes in isolation.
“The Directorate works closely with
Defence Science and Technology and the Joint
Experimentation Directorate to test potential options
that address operational dilemmas and opportunities,”
“It’s truly a collaborative effort with our col-
leagues from across the Department – and we achieve
While the future cannot be predicted with cer-
tainty, the Joint Concepts and Futures Directorate
identifies and examines the most plausible future
environment in which the ADF will operate.
“Assumptions and conclusions are regularly
reviewed as events occur and new information
becomes available, to better shape Defence’s under-
standing of the future,” David says.
“This assists in the development and employment
of future force capabilities to increase the warfighting
effectiveness of the Joint Force.”
The Joint Concepts and Futures team, from left, Commander Stephen Newing, Squadron Leader Robert
Vine, Tobias Turello, Kate Goodridge-Griffiths, David Banham, Dafydd Jones, and Drew Ninnis.
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