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Introducing the Future Land Warfare Collection 2021, Australian Army Research Centre (AARC)

War therefore has a future. It can make an appearance wherever there is a combination of an intensive dispute and available forms of violence.

Sir Lawrence Freedman[1]


Designing the Future: Thinking about Joint Operations

Change is hard. As Army’s Future Land Warfare (FLW) Branch, we contest ideas, encourage discourse and propose concepts that are often not to the satisfaction of every faction, agenda, or interest-group focused on the generation of land power as part of the Australian Defence Force. For Army, the sheer scale of what its future capability investment truly means to the current and future force remains somewhat unrealised. In order to bring these capability challenges into focus, Army needs its best minds to form an argument, state it in written form, and then defend it.

The authors of the essays published in the 2021 FLW Essay Collection represent some of these important thinkers. The essays are written by members of the Australian Army Research Centre, the Australian Army History Unit, the Robotics and Integrated Technologies Coordination Office, and the Land Force Design and Force Structure Directorates.  Originally written for the 2020 Chief of Joint Operations Essay competition, these papers span some of the important priorities of an Army that is firmly focused on its transformation. They serve as an example of the institutional approach that Army needs to apply in terms of leading change and debating the future of the Australian Army.

Issues of strategic narratives, force design, emerging technologies, future workforce and intelligence systems are all important topics fundamental for its future modernisation. In introducing these articles, I am reminded of our Chief of Army’s stated intent from his 2019 ‘Army’s contribution to Defence Strategy’: ‘…this document is designed to create a shared understanding of how Army contributes to Defence in a time of accelerating change. This understanding sets the foundation for Army’s next iteration of thinking to enhance future design’.

The same could be said for the publications in the 2021 Future Land Warfare Essay Collection. A special mention to Lieutenant Colonel Yvette Pavlis, who was awarded first prize for her contribution. A worthy winner.


Good Soldiering.


Brigadier Ian Langford

Director General Future Land Warfare

[1] Lawrence Freedman. The Future of War (Public Affirs Press: New York, 2017), 285.

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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