Monday, December 12, 2011

Big news for the Australian Army

The Australian Army--the least dysfunctional of the services--is expanding its capability with a major force structure reorganisation.

-The restructure of the 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades to form new multi-role manoeuvre brigades. -These brigades will be fundamentally alike in structure to enable sustained operations within a new 36-month force generation cycle.
-The establishment of 10 battle group manoeuvre units.
-Realignment of the Army Reserve to be more integrated with the regular Army, forming an overall force of full-time and part-time personnel. The Reserve will assume a greater focus on operations.
-The 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) will form the core of the Army's contribution to a future amphibious force capable of conducting humanitarian and disaster relief and other operations, particularly in the immediate region.
-Army working with the Navy and Air Force to enhance interoperability between the three services, in particular in operations with the Landing Helicopter Dock ships and other amphibious platforms.

In addition. Defence is ordering 2 CH-47 Chinooks, one of which makes up for a war loss.

Today, Defence also announced vehicle contracts for the Army.

With the national budget becoming a worry and if the government truly believes in this Army reorganisation (hint: it has to be paid for), we can see the jet-fighter force and submarine replacement sacrificed indefinitely.

The budget surplus was years ago. All gone.


Perplexed said...
Look at what the labour party has borrowed in four years. Remember in 2007 it was zero.Now it is $222 Billion.
Jian Julia

Anonymous said...

Dysfunctional... big words from someone with no experience with the ADF nor experience beyond the flight line...

Anonymous said...

I Think Eric said the "least disfunctional"

ELP said...

Yes. Given the state of Defence senior leadership, "least dysfunctional" is high compliment.

The Army can actually engage in its mission.

The RAAF, well,...depends.

The Navy? They need a spanking.

Sorry, poor choice of words with the Navy.

But, maybe not so much a joke. I have never seen a military that farms out its military justice so much. Most problems can be stopped by good middle and senior NCOs and commanders. For the Navy, if they have that quality, it sure is not showing.

Bonza said...

So Eric, please advise which operational mission RAAF and Navy have failed to successfully complete in recent years?

Anonymous said...


Been reading the Navy News lately?

and where were Tobruk, Kanimbla and Manoora when we needed them?


Anonymous said...

Apart from the odd Chinook where are the heicopters in Afghanistan?
Where is the medium lift aircraft?
It goes on for ever

Anonymous said...

Ask Julia and Steve... Everyone wants to go.....

Anonymous said...

Jian Julia, look up the chinese translation, that is what they call her.

Bonza said...

Again Yobbo feel free to name the mission that failed due to a lack of capability. I'm still waiting.

You've pointed out a sub failed on it's way to an exercise. Awesome. An exercise. Not an operational mission...

Yeah Manoora and Kanimbla weren't available for duties in the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi. Terrible tragedy that and Navy and DMO should never have let that happen (see Perplexed, I can be critical when it's appropriate) and seriously addressed the declining availability of these ships by replacing them before now, but that's not the current issue I'm asking about because their unavailability wasn't an operational issue then, because amphibious capability wasn't required for Yasi. Airlift and clean-up crews were, both of which Army provided in spades.

We know amphibious capability wasn't required because RAN maintains other amphibious ships than just Bill, Ben and Toobroken. They are called the Balikpapan Class Landing Craft Heavies and they were and are operational and yet weren't required to provide any amphibious capability during Yasi whatsoever. It's unlikely Bill or Ben would have been required if the far more useful landing craft weren't even considered necessary...

So again, please feel free to name the mission the Navy hasn't been able to conduct, let alone Air Force?

Bushranger 71 said...

Deterring and Defeating Attacks on Australia, DWP Chapter 7.2 - 'The principal task for the ADF is to deter and defeat armed attacks on Australia by conducting independent military operations without relying on the combat or combat support forces of other countries. This means that the ADF has to be able to control our air and sea approaches against credible adversaries in the defence of Australia, to the extent required to safeguard our territory, critical sea lanes, population and infrastructure.'

In my view, it is a physical impossibility to defend against armed attack on Australia, and why would any potential aggressor bother as the continent is infiltrated so easily via airlines and critical infrastructure could be somewhat paralysed to exert political influence. However, deterring interference with air corridors and sea lanes is a practicable and affordable goal, if defence spending was appropriately prioritised and hardware better suited for regional operations.

Australian military capacity suffered hugely from technical deskilling of the armed forces, but the Air Force has arguably recovered best while still providing effective MRT transport and maritime air support for ongoing military commitments, complemented of course by respectable air defence and close air support capabilities. There are questions though regarding other roles/functions and especially deficiencies in adequate tactical air transport capabilities for regional operations. Consider the emerging political imbroglio in PNG as to why that need could quickly become paramount.

The Navy is in a diabolical mess that might take 2 decades or so to overcome and DoD planners seem to be overly-optimistic that LPD aircraft carriers will adequately support regional requirements. First up, they have to be successfully fitted out for service and then appropriately protected during operations. Additionally, intended embarked helos are quite unsuited for maritime operations.

If Australia cannot be physically defended, then why is the Army being expanded and arguably ill-equipped for regional wet tropics operations? As admitted in several forums, playing Rommel in the Northern Territory with armour is mainly limited to the dry season and only the M113 APC is best suited for our near neighbourhood environs. Army has scads of towed artillery, but generally only adequately movable by Chinook in say PNG. Thousands of wheeled vehicles will potentially be much under-utilised, as has been the case for decades.

It is Australian defence planning that is dysfunctional as expanding the Army will limit funding for adequate deterrent capabilities for trade corridors protection and vital air mobility for regional wet tropics operations. Note also the increasing emphasis by politicians and military leaders on the potential applicability of ADF resources for humanitarian and disaster assistance moreso than credible military capacity. Arguably, Australia has lost its way militarily speaking.

Ely said...

Although you have shifted the argument, I believe the disussion was first about "dysfunction" and relative levels of dysfunction. I suppose for the purposes of the original discussion that dysfuction would be indicated by unsuccessful/inappropropriate procurement, underperforming/unproven capability, insufficient trained & competent personnel, inneffective management-that sort of thing.
Whether ADF would task or has actually tasked dysfunctional capability seems hypothetical and a step beyond ie if poor old Tobruk was actually tasked to assist with the floods or the unserviceable sm was sent to do a job. (and both examples seem valid to me)But they apparently were not available. That seems to be the point.

Perplexed said...

Bonza this should go some way to indicating how disfunctional the system is.A good product destroyed by gross incompetence.
Read carefully.
I rest my case.

Anonymous said...


If dysfunction is defined as such then Eric has got his army and RAAF back to front!

Ely said...

Anon of 7.48
Sorry, You lost me.

ELP said...

While I am the FNG, and while I think all the services have some dysfunction, the Army (and I am not trying to be nationalistic here but I think the stereotype fits) have it figured out when the bullets start flying. I do sincerely believe that the Australian peoples (whatever that is) do pretty good in dire teamwork things where you have army operations. There are even several civilians who I have worked with since being here that have a good, solid teamwork ethos that if they qualified in other areas, (like the PT part of it) could do well under fire and working as a team in this Army. Yeah every society has some bums but I do think that down at the soldier level, Australia has a good thing. So the kind of use of the word "dysfunction" has to be used with care. I think all services have what it takes... if they are lead well. However senior leadership gets kind of scary. And I think that (of course) the horrible logistics system is an anchor around the neck of every person in uniform.

Bonza said...

Well said Eric, I agree completely.

I do wonder though at the difference between the operational performance that is achieved and what somw people seem to think is achieved.m

As I pointed out (I believe) in the "drone" thread quite succinctly, it seems that any bad news goes without a skerrick of complaint here sometimes yet good news is almost always torn to shreds, regardless of the credability f the writer.

The RQ-7b is the most obvious example of that. The aircraft doesn't even use a bloody runway in it's operations, it has a ramp and net based recovery system, yet reported "bad news" is accepted without complaint...