Since 2013 the Sir Richard Williams Foundation seminars have focused on building an integrated fifth generation force. Recent seminars have evolved from the acquisition of new platforms to the process of shaping and better understanding the environment in which that integrated force will prepare and operate. In doing so they have, among other things, highlighted the challenges of making the strategic shift from counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to higher tempo and higher intensity Joint operations involving peer competitors.
Within this context, the 2019/20 seminars will further develop the ideas associated with an increasingly sophisticated approach to Joint warfighting and power projection as we face increasing pressure to maintain influence and a capability edge in the region. In doing so, the Sir Richard Williams Foundation will continue to look at the evolution of the Australian Defence Force from the perspective of the sovereign lens and setting the conditions for future success.
The seminar in October 2019 is titled ‘The Requirements of Fifth Generation Manoeuvre’ and will examine the differences and potential gaps in how the Australian Defence Force must equip and organise for multi-domain operations.
In April 2020, we will expand on the theme and focus on ‘Preparedness for Fifth Generation Manoeuvre’. This seminar will explore the readiness, training and sustainment activities necessary to prepare for a broad range of possible contingencies in support of national security objectives, which might involve acting independently in the broader region.
Fifth generation manoeuvre will go hand-in-hand with the Australian Defence Force’s ability to orchestrate a rapid increase in tempo and open up new ways and means of projecting power and undertaking an indirect approach to warfare. Building upon the existing foundations of Australian Defence Force manoeuvre capability, the aim of the October seminar is to explore the differences in character and attributes of fifth generation manoeuvre and identify potential gaps in the way we must think, equip and organise to meet emerging national security outcomes.
The seminar will consider manoeuvre from a historical perspective and evolve the concept to the emerging policy and requirements of contemporary operations, especially as they relate to power projection and the emergence of the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain in its own right.
It will examine how we sense, make sense, and decide within the emerging operational environment and highlight the increasingly sophisticated and integrated relationship between the human and technology and the trusted autonomous systems which will characterise fifth generation operations.
The seminar will further examine the enduring requirement for situational awareness as a prerequisite for operational success, and the challenges of developing a broader understanding of the environment and communicating command intent to enable manoeuvre, especially when the electromagnetic spectrum is both contested and congested. Multi-domain command and control will be a critical enabler for fifth generation manoeuvre with communication and network resilience a fundamental consideration in force design and employment.
The seminar will also highlight the ongoing need to inculcate a fifth generation mindset into combat support and combat service support functions to better exploit the advantages of greater access and movement of information as well as the traditional physical enablers of manoeuvre. It will consider the role of critical infrastructure and geography and the opportunities and risks associated with the Australian operating environment.
The Sir Richard Williams Foundation has identified pre-eminent speakers from across the Australian and international defence communities, as well as inviting industry representatives to reflect the integral role they will play in the national framework of future operational capability.
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