The Australian Army is one of the world’s most cutting-edge military forces, comprised of professional men and women who provide a versatile and modern team, protecting our country, our interests and our people. The Australian Army operates in a far more complex strategic environment than that of just a couple of years ago. Threats can now come from a variety of unexpected sources, not necessarily associated with traditional warfare.
While times may have changed, the fundamental mission of the Army remains steadfast: to win the land battle, and protect the interests of Australia and its people.
To achieve this objective the Army has built a formidable reputation based upon teamwork, tradition, pride, courage, initiative and commitment to excellence. It’s a long and proud tradition and one that you have the chance to continue.
The Australian Army regularly deploys on domestic and global operations. Currently there are Army personnel carrying out a variety of humanitarian, peacekeeping and regional assistance missions in areas across the globe. Success in each operation is founded in comprehensive and world-class training. Major exercises form an essential part of this process by testing people and capability, ensuring that the Army continues to be a world leading armed force.
The future land force will be shaped by the Army’s modernisation process, involving the transformation of the current Army into the Future Army, such that Army remains a capable, credible, and relevant force. This transformation will be achieved through a continuum of processes, decisions, and actions. Modernisation includes the development and adoption of validated concepts and doctrine, adaptation and optimisation of force structures, and introduction and renewal of major systems, personnel policies, facilities and support architectures.
A major element of this transformation is Plan BEERSHEBA – the Army’s future structure.
Since the days of the Light Horse, the Australian Army has operated by combining different capabilities to the best military effect. This process, known as combined arms teaming, is foundational to Army and a vital component of the changes planned.
Plan BEERSHEBA, which was announced by Government in November 2011 and re-affirmed in Defence White Paper 2013, is Army’s modernisation plan to maximise the effectiveness of the 36-month Force Generation Cycle and provide the widest range of sustained and effective Land Force capability for directed requirements within assigned resources.
Army’s Force Generation Cycle ensures that combat Brigades, specialist capabilities and part time forces consistently train together. Army’s conventional deployable combat forces move through three 12 month phases in a 36 month cycle. The cycle concludes with the ‘ready’ phase when force elements will be held at high readiness and be deployed if necessary. The 12 months prior to this is the readying phase when these force elements undergo an intense period of training and certification to ensure that they are ready to deploy. When force elements return from an operational deployment, or conclude a period of being held at high readiness, they will enter the ‘reset’ phase which provides time to conduct individual training, including career courses, to prepare them to begin collective training again in the ‘readying’ phase.
To optimise the Force Generation Cycle the Army will comprise three ‘like’ Multi-role Combat Brigades with one at ‘Ready’ status, one being reconstituted (‘Reset’) and one being trained (‘Readying’). To maximise capability and meet Government requirements, Army will also better integrate its full and part time military components and its civilian workforce to operate together as a ‘total force.’
As part of these structural changes, Army is developing its contribution to the Australian Defence Force’s amphibious capability based on 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. The need for this capability was highlighted by the recent rapid deployments of the ADF to East Timor (1999 and in 2006), the Solomon Islands (2003) and tsunami relief operations in Sumatra (2005).
Plan BEERSHEBA will not change the vital role of the Headquarters of the 1st Division as the Defence Force’s deployable two-star Joint Headquarters and certifying authority for deploying forces. Given the credible and persistent threat of terrorism and violent extremism, the Special Operations capability will remain a critically important and unique component within Army. Both organisations will modernise in parallel to Plan BEERSHEBA implementation ensuring that they remain interoperable with Army’s Brigades.
As Plan BEERSHEBA is implemented, Army will take significant steps to becoming a digital, networked force equipped with improved B vehicles and ready to execute a comprehensive armoured fighting vehicle upgrade. Army’s understanding of amphibious operations in an international engagement and coalition framework will be mature. Army’s work force will be more flexible, enabled by role-specific physical employment standards and commonality of force structure between full and part time elements. Interoperability between Multi-role Combat Brigades, Enabling Brigades, Special Operations Forces and Headquarters 1st Division will evolve as digitisation rolls out, modularity increases and force generation processes stabilise. This will be supported by the evolution of Army’s facilities and training areas to allow each Brigade location to become the hub of instrumented live, virtual and constructive combined arms training.
Implementing these changes will present its challenges, but there is a sound conceptual basis for Plan BEERSHEBA. Commonality of force structure, the ‘total force’ concept, digitisation and the development of training areas proximate to Multirole Combat Brigade locations will increase the modularity and interoperability of the land force. In concert with these changes, the experience and high calibre of Army’s people and the flexibility of the force generation cycle will be the basis of an agile and adaptable, world class Army.