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Air Marshal Warren McDonald, AM, CSC
Chief of Joint Capabilities (CJC)
Air Marshal Warren McDonald was born in Hay, NSW and joined the Royal Australian Air Force at the age of 15 as an apprentice motor transport fitter. In 1989, he was commissioned and underwent pilot training, flying his first operational tour on the P-3C Orion at No 11 Squadron. In 1993, he was posted to Canada to fly the CP-140 Aurora at 415 Squadron.
In 1996, he returned to fly the P-3C Orion with No 10 Squadron and was then posted to No 92 Wing's Maritime Test and Evaluation Unit to introduce the AP-3C Orion. In 2001, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to No 10 Squadron as a flight commander. In 2002, he was posted to Butterworth Malaysia, as the commander of 92WG’s Detachment Alpha. In 2005, he returned to Australia to attend Australian Command and Staff Course. This was followed by promotion to Wing Commander and a posting as Deputy Director of Project Air 7000 Phase 1.
In 2007, Air Marshal McDonald was appointed Commanding Officer of No 11 Squadron, for which he was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross. This was followed in 2009 by appointment as Officer Commanding No 92 Wing and promotion to Group Captain. He commanded No 92 Wing until October 2011, when he deployed to the Middle East as the Australian Air Component Commander for Joint Task Force 633 in support of Operation SLIPPER. With over 5000 hours on the P-3, he has served four operational tours in the Middle East, each one in a different command position.
Upon his return from the Middle East in May 2012, Air Marshal McDonald was promoted to Air Commodore and appointed Director General Capability Planning - Air Force, before appointment as Commander Air Mobility Group.
In June 2015, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for exceptional performance as Officer Commanding No 92 Wing, Director General Capability Planning - Air Force and Commander Air Mobility Group.
On promotion to Air Vice-Marshal in July 2015, he commenced as Deputy Chief of Air Force. Air Marshal McDonald is currently serving as the Chief of Joint Capabilities within the Australian Defence Force Headquarters, following his promotion to Air Marshal in December 2018.
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 the integrated force will prepare and operate. Moreover, they have highlighted the challenges of acting independently at an accelerated tempo and in sustained, high intensity Joint operations involving peer competitors.
Within this narrative, the 2020 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.
Following on from the October 2019 seminar titled ‘The Requirements of Fifth Generation Manoeuvre’, the 2020 series of seminars and lunches will examine:
In doing so, they will each address how the Australian Defence Force must equip, organise, connect, and prepare for multi-domain operations. As ever, the Sir Richard Williams Foundation has identified pre-eminent speakers from across the Australian and international defence communities, as well as invited industry representatives to reflect the integral role they will play in the national framework of future operational capability.
Building upon the existing foundations of Australian Defence Force capability, the aim of the March seminar is to explore the force multiplying capability and increasingly complex requirements associated with unmanned systems. From its origins at the platform level, the opportunities and potential of increased autonomy across the enterprise are now expected to fundamentally transform Joint and Coalition operations.
The concept of the Unmanned Air System (UAS), or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), is nothing new nor is their use in missions which traditionally challenge human performance, fragility, and endurance. Often described as the dull, dirty, and dangerous missions, unmanned systems have now provided the commander with a far broader range of options for the application of force against even the most challenging target sets. However, ongoing operational experience confirms unmanned systems on their own are not the panacea and trusted autonomy in manned and unmanned teaming arrangements in each environmental domain is emerging as the game changer.
The narrative is now forming across defence which has progressed the argument for greater numbers of unmanned systems in a far more mature and balanced way than hitherto. The manned-unmanned narrative is now sensibly shifting towards ‘and’, rather than ‘or’. Manned and unmanned teaming leverages the strengths and mitigates the weakness of each platform and concentrates the mind on the important operational aspects, such as imaginative new roles, and the challenges of integration to generate the desired overwhelming firepower.
This capability will require a complex web of advanced data links and communication systems to make it operate as a combat system. Designing and building the ‘kill web’ so that it can enable the delivery of manned-unmanned firepower across domains will be a huge challenge not least due to the laws of physics. However, the ability to train, test, evaluate and validate tactics and procedures will add a whole new level of complexity to generate the ‘trusted autonomy’ required for warfighting.
The aim of the March 2020 seminar, therefore, will be to promote discussion about the near and far future implications of autonomous systems, and to build an understanding of the potential and the issues which must be considered in the context of the next Defence White Paper and Force Structure Review. It will investigate potential roles for autonomous systems set within the context of each environmental domain, providing Service Chiefs with an opportunity to present their personal perspective on the effect it will have on their Service.
The seminar will also explore the operational aspects of autonomous systems, including command and control and the legal and social implications that affect their employment. And finally the seminar will examine the current research agenda and allow industry an opportunity to provide their perspective on recent developments in unmanned air, land, surface and sub-surface combatants. Each of which are opening new ways of warfighting and creating opportunities to reconceptualise Joint operations and move away from the platform-on-platform engagements which have traditionally characterised the battlespace.
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Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC
Chief of Air Force
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld was born in Sydney in 1962. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as an RAAF Academy Cadet in January 1980, winning the Flying Prize for his year and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1983.
Air Marshal Hupfeld's early career was spent in a variety of flying positions on Mirage and F/A-18 aircraft, primarily with No 3 Squadron (3SQN) and No 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU), before qualifying as a Fighter Combat Instructor in 1989. Following a period of service as B Flight Commander, 3SQN, Air Marshal Hupfeld was appointed as the Executive Officer of 2OCU in 1995.
In 1997 Air Marshal Hupfeld was selected to attend the Royal Air Force Advanced Staff Course, graduating with a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King's College in London, before taking up post as a Deputy Director in the Aerospace Development Branch.
In 2001 Air Marshal Hupfeld took command of No 75 Squadron (75SQN)
and led the Squadron in operations in Middle East on Operations BASTILLE and FALCONER. In 2003 Air Marshal Hupfeld was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in recognition of his performance as Commanding Officer 75SQN on Operation FALCONER, and his Squadron was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation.
On promotion to Group Captain in January 2004 he was appointed Director Aerospace Combat Development in the Australian Defence Headquarters, before accepting appointment as Officer Commanding No 81 Wing in January 2006. Promoted to Air Commodore on November 2007, he became the Director of the Combined Air Operations Centre in the Middle East Area of Operations, before returning to Australia as the Director-General Air / Director General Air Command Operations in March 2008. In December 2009, he took command of Air Combat Group where he oversaw all of the RAAF's fast-jet combat aircraft to deliver Australia's capability to control the air and conduct precision strike.
Air Marshal Hupfeld was promoted and appointed as the Air Commander Australia on 3 February 2012. In this position he provided specialist air advice on raise, train and sustain issues to the joint environment.
In September 2014 he was appointed Head Capability Systems Division in the Capability Development Group. In 2015 Air Marshal Hupfeld received an appointment as Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force in senior command and staff appointments. In August 2015 he was appointed to the role of Acting Chief Capability Development Group. On the disbandment of Capability Development Group, Air Marshal Hupfeld took up the newly created position of Head Force Design in Vice Chief of Defence Force Group on 1 April 2016.
On promotion, Air Marshal Hupfeld was appointed as Chief Joint Operations in May 2018 and subsequently Chief of Air Force in July 2019.
Air Marshal Hupfeld is married to Louise, and his interests include mountain biking, running, fishing, light aircraft, and sailing.
The Australian Defence Force is investing in a 5th Generation networked force. 5th Generation brings immense capability through synergy. The introduction of shared common operating pictures enhances situational awareness for commanders, sailors, soldiers and airmen alike. 5th Generation allows the introduction of concepts such as the ‘kill web’ to replace the 3rd and 4th generation ‘kill chain’ concepts. 5th generation allows a force of the size of the ADF to expand the ‘high demand – low density’ use of airpower assets to land and maritime forces through improved domain awareness. 5th Generation capabilities provide Commanders with greater options for better considering effects operations, rather than conventional kinetic warfare. Finally, 5th Generation enables operations in domains other than land, sea and air.
However, like all change, and all things new, there is risk is the introduction of 5th Generation capabilities. Risk provides both opportunities, but also threats. In our knowledge of warfare, we have introduced 5th Generation capabilities in an environment of asymmetric, discretionary wars generally in the absence of high intensity. We have also faced opponents who do not have 5th Generation capabilities. Many of the threats we might face in networked operations have not been challenged by near peers. Future high intensity conflict will see the use of multi-domain actions across the full spectrum of conflict.
Even in low intensity conflict we are seeing the evolution of ‘low-tech’ threats using networked systems. Low cost drones and precision weapons can have asymmetric effects that challenge the rules-based order that we have built on global networks. Our societal dependence on networked systems and the ‘internet-of-things’ may expose vulnerabilities not only to our high-end capabilities, but also the supporting logistic and industrial base on which they depend.
The apertures for attacking 5th Generation capabilities have expanded and now stretch threat vectors to include our people, our bases and our logistic support. In high end conflict, this will also include critical infrastructure, industry and the wider population. To ‘harden’ our 5th Generation networked capabilities we will need to protect our networks and our information. As risk spreads across multi-domains, we must be prepared for threat from within and through our networks.
The Williams Foundation, PO Box 5214, KINGSTON ACT 2604