On March 17, 2016, the Williams Foundation held its latest seminar on fifth generation enabled combat operations, this one focused on new approaches to air-land integration. The terms of reference for the seminar highlighted the way ahead.
“Air forces need to be capable of delivering air and space power effects to support conventional and special operations in the land domain. Air-Land integration is one of the most important capabilities for successful joint operations.
The last decade has seen a significant shift in how airpower has supported ground operations. With the introduction of systems like Rover, the ability of airpower to provide precision strike to the ground forces saw a significant change in fire support from a wide variety of air platforms. Precision air dropping in support of outposts or moving forces introduced new capabilities of support.
Yet this template of air ground is really focused on air support to the ground whereas with the shift in the global situation, a much wider set of situations are emerging whereby the air-ground integration approach will become much wider in character, and the ability to insert force rapidly, as a precision strike capability, and to be withdrawn will be a key tool in the toolbox for decision makers.
Fifth generation enabled operations will see a shift to a distributed C2 approach which will clearly change the nature of the ground-to air command system, and the with the ability of fifth generation systems to generate horizontal communications among air assets outside the boundaries of a classic AWACs directed system, the change in C2 will be very wide ranging.”
This seminar is the fourth in a series of assessments and discussions of evolving approaches to 21st century combat capabilities under the influence of fifth generation air capabilities.
In this report, the main highlights generated by the seminar and discussion are augmented by a number of interviews conducted during and after the presentations at either the Air Power Conference or the Williams Seminar. As such, the report provides an overview on how the RAAF and the Australian Army are thinking about the transformation of the joint force.
The full report can be downloaded here.
Williams Foundation submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, the planned acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter).
On 2 December 2015, the Senate referred the following matter to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 1 May 2016. On 17 March 2016, the Senate extended the reporting date for the inquiry to 29 June 2016.
The planned acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter).
Shaping New Approaches to Air-Land Integration: The Perspective from Down Under
By Robbin Laird Second Line of Defense 18 March 2016
On March 17, 2016, in Canberra, Australia, the Williams Foundation held a seminar looking at the evolution of fifth generation enabled combat transformation which focused on new approaches to air-land integration.
What is clear is that the Aussies are at the cutting edge of the rethink of how to reshape an integrated 21st century force.
The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, AO, CSC today launched the Air Power Scholar program as part of a cooperative endeavour with the Sir Richard Williams Foundation at the 2016 Air Power Conference in Canberra.
Photo: Department of Defence
Air Marshal Leo Davies said that the Air Power Scholars program aims to develop a small group of Air Force Officers with intellectual skills, theoretical knowledge and practical experience.
“The program will improve the capability of Air Force to shape strategic planning and policy development relating to air power, and improve Air Force’s influence on strategy and security in Australia.
“The five officers will be provided with an opportunity to take around 12 months
full-time research/study leave from the Air Force, with the caveat that only one officer in the program will receive this study leave each year,” Air Marshal Davies explained.
The Williams Foundation will award a scholarship of up to $20,000 each year of the program to the candidate undertaking the full-time study. This payment will assist the scholars with expenses associated with their academic program and will contribute to consultancy fees for a program mentor, initially Dr. Alan Stephens.
Williams Foundation Board Chairman, Air Marshal Errol McCormack AO (ret’d) said that the Williams Foundation is proud to support the Air Power Scholar program.
“This agreement with the Air Force will enable the Foundation to formally support scholars in their further education and thus strengthen the level of debate on military aviation issues,” Air Marshal Errol McCormack (ret’d) said.
The selected candidates will be known as Sir Richard Williams Foundation Scholars. This five year pilot program will support the five selected Air Force officers to undertake PhD studies. The program is planned as a pilot with a mid-term review to be conducted after the third year.
The first scholars are:
WGCDR Jarrod Pendlebury
The Dawn Horizon: Constructing an Air Force Identity at the Australian Defence Force Academy
University of Sydney
Anticipate completion in December 2018
GPCAPT Steve Edgeley
Subject: That recent changes in the operational environment have required the RAAF to focus on the application of joint effects, this change in operational focus has led to cultural and organisational changes that make it an imperative to embrace jointness.
University of New South Wales
Anticipate completion in December 2019
SQNLDR Travis Hallen
The gatekeepers: The development of Royal Australian Air Force maritime patrol during the Cold War
Australian National University
Anticipate completion in December 2021
GPCAPT Phillip Champion
Subject: That the Western experience of protracted land campaigns in the Middle East since 1991 has led to a new model of air/land warfare.
University application underway
Anticipate completion mid-2018.
WGCDR Jason Begley
Soft Options for a Hard Issue
Subject: assess the degree to which Air Force effectively projects soft power and whether there are viable opportunities for it to improve.
University of New South Wales
Anticipate completion in December 2019
For an overview of the Foundation’s activities and outcomes for 2015, download the 2015 Annual Report here.
The Annual General Meeting was held on 20th October 2015. The minutes are now available and can be downloaded here.
The 2015 Annual General Meeting will be held at Brindabella Business Park on Tuesday 20 October 2015. Papers and voting forms are attached.
In accordance with the Foundation Constitution the following documents are issued in support of the AGM:
• Formal Notice of the 2015 AGM
• Proxy Voting Form
• Special Resolutions
• Board Position Nomination Form
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
Plan Jericho Design-Led Innovation: Dr Robbin Laird provides observations and analysis of the seminar held on 7 Aug 15
AIRMSHL Leo Davies AO, CSC, Chief of Air Force Opening Remarks at Jericho Innovation Seminar 6th August 2015
The Williams Foundation, PO Box 5266, KINGSTON ACT 2604