Dr Robbin Laird Final Report: Designing the Integrated Force: The Australian Defense Force Repositions for the Next Phase of 21st Century Force Structure Development
Integrated Air and Missile Defence Study: The Challenge of Integrated Force Design
The Williams Foundation conducted an Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) study
between Sep16 and Feb17 to explore the challenges of building Australia’s IAMD capability
and the implications for the Department of Defence’s integrated force design function. The
study was focussed at the Program level of capability.
The study incorporated a visit to the US for a month to explore the IAMD challenge with
United States Defense Forces and Agencies, think tanks and Industry. The initial study
findings were then explored in Australia in three Defence and Industry workshops on 31 Jan
17 and 1 Feb 17, using a Chatham House model of unaNributed discussions. Many of the
statements made in this report are not referenced as they are derived from these Chatham
House discussions and associated meetngs.
IAMD is a highly complex issue; comments made in this report should not be construed in
any way as being critical of the IAMD approach of the Department of Defence. This report
cannot account for the full complexity of the integrated force design process that is being
addressed within Defence; however, it may offer some value in providing suggestions based
on the study findings.
This study would not have been possible without the support and assistance of several areas
within the Australian Department of Defence, the US Defense Department, Industry and
think tanks. The Williams Founda=on deeply appreciates the support of the IAMD Study
major sponsors, Lockheed Mar=n and Northrop Grumman. Thanks are also due to Jacobs in
funding the services of Dr Gary Waters who provided valuable support in the research for
the study and in the production of the workshop notes.
This report represents the views of AVM Blackburn (Retd), the IAMD Study lead. This study
report is intentionally high level and brief; in the author’s experience, long and detailed
reports are rarely read by senior decision makers.
In this report, the major presentations and discussions at the Williams Foundation seminar on new approaches to air-sea integration held on August 10, 2016 in Canberra, Australia are highlighted along with interviews conducted before, during and after the seminar as well.
Interviews with the Army, Navy, and Air Force have been woven into the evolving narrative of joint integration, as well as inputs from the two major foreign guests to the seminar, Rear Admiral Manazir, the Deputy Chief of US Naval Operations for Warfare Systems, and Captain Nick Walker of the Royal Navy.
Beginning in March 2014, the Williams Foundation began a series of seminars and workshops to examine both conceptually and practically ways to build a 21st century combat force, which can prevail in the extended battlespace.
This can be looked at as a force operating in what the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations as kill webs or what an Australian Army General called building an Australian anti-access anti-denial strategy.
What is unique about what Williams has done is to shape a public discussion of the opportunities and challenges to shaping such a force.
And through the seminars, the conversation has evolved and generated more joint force involvement as well.
The seminar and interviews provide insight into the way ahead to shape an integrated Australian Defence Force. As Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Barrett put it: “We are not building an interoperable navy; we are building an integrated force for the Australian Defence Force.”
He drove home the point that ADF integration was crucial in order for the ADF to support government objectives in the region and beyond and to provide for a force capable of decisive lethality.
By so doing, Australia would have a force equally useful in coalition operations in which distributed lethality was the operational objective.
The Australian military is shaping a transformed military force, one built around new platforms but ones that operate in a joint manner in an extended battlespace. The goal is to extend the defense perimeter of Australia and create, in effect, their own version of an Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy.
They also recognize a key reality of 21st century military evolution in terms of shaping an integrated information-based operating force. Interactive modernization of the force is built around decision-making superiority and that will come with an effective information dominant force.
That makes the Aussies a key partner to the US and other allies in discussing openly a path for force transformation along lines where cutting edge thinking is occurring in the US and allied forces. Put bluntly, they are driving a public discussion of transformation in a way we have not seen in the United States for a long time.
The goal was put clearly in an interview by Craig Heap, commander of the Surveillance and Response Group in the Royal Australian Air Force in an interview.
“We are small but we want to be capable of being a little Tasmanian Devil that you don’t want to play with because if you come at us, were going to give you a seriously hard time that will probably not be worth the effort; deterrence in its purest form.”
The report can be directly downloaded here:
Williams Foundation Plan Jericho Design-Led Innovation Seminar Special Report by Dr Robbin Laird, Second Line of Defense
A comprehensive report on the Williams Foundation 6 August seminar, Plan Jericho, Shaping Design-Led Innovation, has been prepared for the Foundation by Dr Robbin Laird.
The report can be downloaded here.
Dr Laird has been reporting on the RAAF’s Jericho journey since the first Williams ‘5th Gen’ seminar in March 2014, and has been an active and supportive participant in the Williams seminars over the last 18 months.
Dr Laird’s report explores and analyses the themes and issues discussed at the seminar on 6 August as well as presenting an excellent summary of each of the presentations. He has used an episode from the Battle for Britain as a means of ‘setting the scene’ and highlighting the centrality of a concept of operations to provide the framework and foundation for integrating across platforms and enablers. Dr Laird postulates that without such a conops to support the future 5th generation enabled ADF, our warfighting effectiveness will be sub-optimal.
Dr Laird also conducted a series of interviews with the RAAF’s senior leadership to inform his analysis of the RAAF’s transformation challenges and opportunities. Interviews with CAF and DCAF, operational and FEG commanders, and the outgoing CAF give this report a unique perspective. Currents operations are reviewed, future challenges embraced, and the Jericho implications for the joint battlespace and Defence Industry are candidly discussed.
More reports by Dr Laird about the RAAF, F-35 transition and other strategic and military topics can be found at his website: http://www.sldinfo.com
A special report from the Integrating Innovative Airpower Symposium in Copenhagen on 17 April 2015 has been prepared by Dr Robbin Laird from Second Line of Defense. Dr Laird and SLD are supporting the Williams Foundation’s exploration of the implications of 5th generation technology.
The Williams Foundation, PO Box 5266, KINGSTON ACT 2604