Skip to main content

Professional Mastery: The Human Dimension of Warfighting Capability for the Army-After-Next

The Australian Army recognises that organisations that excel in the future will be those that discover how to tap people's commitment and capacity to learn at all levels. The aim of this paper is to discuss the
concept of professional mastery and its application to the Army-After-Next and to leadership development for the Australian Army.

The paper describes professional mastery by developing an integrated model of the concepts underlying the intellectual and moral components of warfighting capability. The paper provides a framework for understanding the dynamic relationship between the individual and the organisation, and how these combine as a system to deliver the human dimension of warfighting capability. The conclusions drawn in the paper attempt to bridge the gap between enhancing individual performance and building effective organisations.

The focus of professional mastery is people. The aim is to sharpen their professional judgement through challenge and to increase the mastery of the military art through experience. Professional mastery also seeks to build high-performance organisations at all levels, that is, well-led organisations that are continually and dynamically adjusting to the demands of the external environment. One of the positions advocated in this paper is that the principles of leadership do not change, only the conditions in which they are applied. It is also a contention that leadership lessons learnt from historical analysis will continue to be a hallmark for future leadership and professional mastery.

The topic is timely and relevant to the Australian Army. The following themes reflect the structure of the paper: professional mastery is the human dimension of warfighting capability; professional mastery will be the single most important prerequisite for operational success in the Army-After-Next; and leadership is the key to professional mastery.

The paper is intended to be complementary to the principles of the Army Training System and the Australian Army Leadership Model, which support the development of command, leadership and management principles.