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Force Design (Spotlight Brief 5/21)

Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters air lifting M777 Howitzers, Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters, a LCM-8 Landing Craft and Royal Australian Navy LHD Landing Craft carrying M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers and Australian Light Armoured Vehicles, transit from HMAS's Canberra and Choules during an amphibious beach assault, as part of Exercise Sea Explorer, Cowley Beach, Queensland.

Force Design

Organizational transformation: Handling the double-edged sword of urgency

Long Range Planning – Mar 21

Traditional change models require organisations to develop a wide sense of urgency. For example, for Defence the rapid growth of the threat from improvised explosive devices saw an equally rapid change in equipment, training, and tactics. Unfortunately, urgency tends to generate a more conservative mindset where people are more likely to seek incremental alteration and seek to reduce errors. This creates issues and concerns as the change works against itself. In this article, Tobias Fredberg and Johanna Pregmark seek to explore this tension, and come up with three propositions for leaders seeking to undertake change:

  • Create clear definitions of success and publically accepted space to tolerate failure.
  • Pressure projects and demand accountability while creating trust and safety between projects.
  • Continually update strategic direction while allowing freedom to explore new directions.

Fredberg and Pregmark believe that leaders that adopted these three propositions balanced the tension of urgency, which resulted in organisations that were highly successful in implementing change.


‘Change Management: 6 Reasons it Fails,’ The Enterprisers Project, 09 Jun 21

‘Choosing a Change Model,’ Association for Talent Development, 17 Mar 21

‘The Easy Guide to Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model,’ Creately, 19 Feb 21

‘HR & Change Management: Beyond the Kotter Model,’ Academy to Innovate HR, 13 Feb 21

‘Transformation in Uncertain Times: Tackling Both the Urgent and the Important,’ McKinsey and Company, 03 Feb 21

After the Fires? Climate Change and Security in Australia

Australian Journal of Political Science – Jun 21

In the last two years, the Army has played a significant role in several domestic disaster relief efforts. The devastating bushfires of 2019-2020 were one such recent emergency. The Army’s involvement was well-received and subsequently prompted discussion concerning the fundamental function of the Army. One prominent assertion was that the Army should deploy to deal with any form of ‘security’ challenge. In this article, McDonald discusses whether bushfires (and more broadly climate change) should be deemed a matter of ‘security,’ and raises some implications of using this analytical lens. In coming down on the affirmative side, his argument entails that it is appropriate for the Army to respond to domestic climate-induced emergencies. To this end, McDonald notes that the Department of Defence should establish a permanent natural disaster response capacity.


‘Calling in the Army for the Vaccine Rollout and Every Other Emergency Shows How Ill-Prepared We Are,’ The Conversation, 07 Jun 21

‘The Case for an Indigenous Australian Civil Defence Force,’ The Strategist, 24 May 21

‘Defence Needs to Rethink its Disaster-Relief Strategy,’ The Strategist, 12 Apr 21

‘ADF Will Need More Resources to Deal with Climate and Regional Security Crises,’ The Mandarin, 12 Apr 21

‘Developing a New Plan B for the ADF: Implications from a Geostrategic SWOT Analysis for Australia,’ Security Challenges, 15 May 20

Implementing Deterrence by Detection

Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments – Jul 21

The ability to ‘detect’ lies at the heart of the concept of deterrence. Detection provides the time to construct a response. There are two complications for detecting in the region – the sheer size of the area and the number of coercive activities occurring that fall below the threshold for war. These complications mean significant costs and effort must be spent on maintaining situational awareness in order for Australia to successfully deter. This document assesses the costs of achieving deterrence. Building on previous CSBA work on deterrence, it provides a method for realistically achieving improved situational awareness. Building on existing systems, this document seeks to better mesh assets and organisations together, and utilise disruptive technology in key specific areas.  In doing this, it walks the line between cost and timeliness, as well as highlighting the importance of a broader, multi-domain approach.


‘The ADF Needs Knowledge if it’s to Shape, Deter and Respond,’ The Strategist, 05 Jul 21

‘Knowledge is Power: Greenland, Great Powers, and Lessons from the Second World War,’ The Arctic Institute, 15 Jun 21

‘Sharpening the Blunt Tool: Why Deterrence Needs an Update in the Next U.S. National Security Strategy,’ Strategy Bridge, 08 Apr 21

‘INDOPACOM: Deterrence Fund Increase Needed for ISR, Missile Defense in the Pacific,’ Air Force Magazine, 09 Mar 21

‘Operationalizing Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific,’ Indo-Pacific Defense Forum, 19 Feb 21

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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