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Australian Army Journal, Volume XVII, Number 1

Australian Army Lieutenants and Sergeants from the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, conduct close-combat shooting during Exercise First Shot at Greenbank Training Area with AAJ Vol XVII No 1 cover in foreground


Despite the ADF’s withdrawal from operations in Afghanistan, the Army’s operational tempo remains high. Several important strategic policy documents were released over the past year, and the maintenance of professional discourse is vital for a military force to ensure it is ready for future operational challenges. This edition of the Australian Army Journal is an integral part of our past, present, and future contributions to the discourse on the profession of arms.

In the first article of this edition, Major Sam Baumgarten explores the force structure, training, and utility of the Australian militia forces during the Interwar period. This article raises some enduring themes in consideration of how reserve forces are trained, equipped, and tasked. It sets the tone perfectly for an article by a research team from The Defence Science Technology Group and Army Headquarters that conducted force structure experiments for dismounted teams equipped with disruptive technologies. The resulting ‘actionable concepts’ are certainly worth considering for future operations in the region.

Dr Justin Chadwick takes us back to the pentropic division force structure experiments in the 1960s in the third article for this edition, highlighting the challenges of command and control that particular force structure posed. Following the force structure theme, Captain Will Leben proposes a potential option for integrating strike capabilities into small and agile teams designed to operate in the near region.

Captain Samuel White continues the theme of integrating disruptive technology at the tactical level, proposing using artificial intelligence to support vital administrative functions such as military justice and career management. The concepts put forward by Captain White are pragmatic and seek to remove the administrative burden upon commanders. Colonel Phillip Hoglin addresses the Army’s core capability, people, in the second-to-last article of this edition. This article using current workforce demographic data to review the provision of pastoral care by military chaplains.

The final article in this edition is from the Australian Army Vault. Published in May 1950, The Basis of Expansion for War draws upon the lessons from the Second World War to propose a model for expanding the Army for large scale conflict. The key themes explored in this Cold War-era article are as relevant today as they were at the outset of the Korean War.

The three book reviews in this edition focus on the moral, cultural, and practical challenges of wars both past, present and future. Dr Jordan Beavis reviews Harry Parker’s ‘Anatomy of a Soldier’, a heartfelt exploration of service in Afghanistan. Next is followed by John Mackenzie’s review of ‘Warfare and Culture’, edited by Wayne E. Lee. Finally, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Tutton reviewed ‘On Contested Shores’, a recent work on amphibious operations throughout history edited by Timothy Heck and BA Friedman.

The Australian Army Research Centre supports the professional discourse on future land capability through our Occasional Papers, the Land Power Forum, and the Australian Army Journal. Australian Army Journal, Volume XVII, Number 1, continues the Army’s long legacy in engaging in military scholarship for future capability development.

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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