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:
We need to be able to achieve large effects with a leveraged force. Our army wants the air force to be the best small air force in the world, and we want our navy to be the best small navy in the world. Because if they’re not, the army’s not going be able to get to where it needs to get to and be sustained in the fight to achieve the desired effect.
A number of practical suggestions emerged from the panel discussion and the industrial presentations at the Williams Foundation seminar on air-sea integration held on August 10, 2016.
A key issue is that of information sharing among national or coalition forces.
Here Air Marshal (Retired) Geoff Brown asked Rear Admiral Manazir if we were making progress in this area.
Rear Admiral Manazir highlighted that in the evolving machine-to-machine relationships, technology was providing a way ahead. For example, targets could be identified and shared without disclosing the source of that information or the classification level.
The practical problem is to move classified data around the battlespace to empower the war fighters without compromising classification methods.
According to Rear Admiral Manazir:
“Machines talking at multi-level and multi-channel encrypted security levels can exchange data without compromising the sources and methods whereby the data has been generated.
“Thereby an F-35 with US markings and an F-35 with Australian markings can share data effectively in the combat space.”
In effect, the broad problem is one of parsing information and solving the problem posed by Air Vice Marshal Gavin Turnbull at the last Williams Foundation Seminar:
“How do we get the right information to the right people at the right time?”
Putting the new carriers in play completely integrated with the F-35 will provide the foundation for shaping the way ahead for the UK power projection forces.
Put bluntly, shaping the way ahead will be defined by the operational experiences entailed in operating and deploying the new carrier strike force and leveraging that capability will be crucial in thinking through future procurement decisions as well.
How do I make my US Air Force ‘like’ F35A work closely with my US Navy ‘like’ Growler and Super Hornet to achieve a mission? Similarly, how do I ensure these aircraft, plus the Australian bespoke Wedgetail can work effectively with the RAN LHD and Air Warfare Destroyer to achieve a Maritime support or strike mission? It's a good problem to have. ...
This is an especially good look at the F-35 transition within the overall context of ADF transformation.
According to the Chief of the Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, the Australian Navy is being recapitalized in the time of significant innovation in the Pacific whereby new force concepts are being shaped, such as kill webs, distributed lethality, and fifth generation airpower. Vice Admiral Barrett Barrett made it very clear that what was crucial for the Navy was to design from the ground up any new ships to be core participants in the force transformation process ...
According to the Australian Navy’s Joint Capability Manager, Rear Admiral Mead:
“As we build our new ships, we are going to do so around a common structure, which brings together the sustainment, the training, command and management, land-based test bed, simulation the software development and importantly industry, into a common facility in order to provide the horsepower and genius necessary to support the capability at sea.. ..
Click on link below for an article by Robbin Laird following his recent trip to Australia for our Williams conference on Air-Sea Integration.
Click on link below for an article by Robbin Laird following his recent trip to Australia
Click on link below for an article by Robbin Laird following our recent seminar on Air Sea Integration
The Williams Foundation, PO Box 5266, KINGSTON ACT 2604