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By WO2 Graham McBean
WHEN most of us have long depart-
ed from the Army, newly promoted
Maj-Gen John Caligari's big deci-
sions will only just be starting to
As the Head of Modernisation and
Strategic Planning -- Army (MSP-A),
Maj-Gen Caligari's new role is to plan
for a future Army that exists 18 months
from now and out to 30 years.
His job is to breathe life into CA
Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie's future vision
under the Adaptive Army initiative,
while DCA Maj-Gen Paul Symon
manages the capability and prepared-
ness within the coming 18 months.
Maj-Gen Caligari's first decision
was to change the AHQ division's
name from Capability Development
-- Army to the new MSP-A.
Maj-Gen Caligari said the name
change better described the focus of
the division and the way individual
projects affected each other to create a
holistic view of a future Army.
"Defence has lots of people who
manage projects," he said.
"What Army needs more of is a
concept of how all of the projects and
concepts map together for a total view
of what it is we want Army to be capa-
ble of doing in the future, and there-
fore how those projects fit together to
create the Adaptive Army.
"So it is much more about taking
into account what we have as capa-
bilities now and planning to adapt our
way of warfighting with concepts and
a strategy that take best advantage of
Army September 17, 2009
the new capabilities we are going to
bring into service."
He said there was no better exam-
ple than the three projects that will
form the centrepiece of the Army in
the coming 30 years.
The first and most important is
Project Land 400, the combined-arms
fighting systems of the future, which
will eventually provide replacements
for the ASLAV, M113s and PMVs.
Joint Project 2048 will provide the
ADF with two new amphibious ships.
The Canberra-class amphibious
ships announced in the Defence White
Paper would intuitively be placed in the
Navy fold. But, as Lt-Gen Gillespie
said on the release of the paper, the
ships were just as important to Army
capability and would essentially be
movable Army FOBs.
Project Land 121 is at Phases 3
and 4 and will replace the suite of B
vehicles throughout the Army in the
Maj-Gen Caligari said if the Army
approached these as individual projects
it would simply be a matter of making
sure each met its specifications and the
money was available.
"Rather than just changing equip-
ment -- one vehicle for one vehicle,
one ship for one ship -- we are look-
ing at these projects as the focus for
Army's future," he said.
"Between the three of them, we are
looking at a system that will define
what the Army looks like. We need a
strategy that defines the Army using
these as a centrepiece."
It's a job to which Maj-Gen
Caligari brings considerable experi-
ence in strategy that culminated in his
most recent appointment as National
Commander of Australian Forces in
After 30 years in the Army, he
understands what the Army is about,
from "burning his fingers on a cups
canteen as a lieutenant to commanding
a brigade" and beyond.
It's not a bad effort for a person
whose aspiration as a young lieutenant
was to emulate his father.
"I wanted to command the same
battalion as he did and I achieved that,
and the enjoyment of soldiering has
just continued," he said.
"I've enjoyed every minute of my
30 years in the Army and I will con-
tinue to serve as long as I continue to
have as much fun as I am having now."
30 years from now
A long, hard look: Maj-Gen (then Brig) John Caligari (right) on patrol in southern Afghanistan with Lt Jacob
Kleinman in June.
Photo by Cpl Ricky Fuller
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