Home' Army News : June 23rd 2011 Contents 4 SPECIAL REPORT
Army June 23, 2011
More activities for soldiers
PROGRAMS such as the Soldiers Opportunities for
Recreation and Development program (developed by
1RAR) and adventure training are good distractions
from soldiers feeling bored and drinking to excess.
Systems of reporting such as the Army Incident
Management System seem to create a feeling of
micromanagement which potentially encourages the
chain of command to refer to higher commanders
rather than deal with situations at the lowest level. A
potential fix could be better training on the use and
application of AIMS to standardise its application
and ensure the junior chain of command does not
'pass the buck' on management of their soldiers.
Capt Sven Harris
B Sqn, 3/4 Cav Regt
Junior leaders the key
OUR unit is taking the approach of getting our cor-
porals and lieutenants to deliver the presentations/
discussion to their soldiers with some background
supervision from above. This places the centre of
effort and responsibility at a more appropriate and
practical level. This is the most appropriate level as
corporals and lieutenants have more direct access
to the mass of personnel in the target group and, as
predominantly young people who regularly social-
ise, they are better positioned to set example and
Lt-Col Andrew Hocking
Visual medium hits the mark
THE use of DVD's as a vehicle to deliver your mes-
sage was very effective. Your message was clear
and similar updates on important issues would be
well received. As a unit in the non-Army group it was
a powerful exercise and emphasised that, regardless
of where we were posted, we were still Army.
Lt-Col Andrew Constantine
CO Joint Logistics Unit -- North
THE majority do [display Army values out of hours]
but the media uses the minority that do not 'get it' as
a tool for promotion to the wider public.
Over the years, the ADF has adopted a mindset
of 'the ADF is a job, not a lifestyle and when you go
home, you can switch off'.
The mentality of you are on duty 24/7 is slowly
being undermined by recruitment campaigns and
the selection process. As a result, more and more
incidents of unacceptable behaviour are occurring,
as junior soldiers are of the belief that what happens
outside of work has no bearing on their job.
I summarised the session with the following key
themes of reinforcement:
Alcohol -- it's what you do when you drink that
counts. Have a plan, be responsible no matter
what, and look after your mates. If your mate is
having a shocker, then step in.
Reputation counts and enhances our capability.
The Australian public is our strategic centre of
gravity, and their faith and trust in us is vital to our
national interest. It doesn't take much to erode
We need to be responsible for our actions 24/7.
The information age means that every element
of poor behaviours can be recorded and used
against our reputation.
Lt-Col Steve D'Arcy
Not just about reputation
THERE was a view that although the messages in
the DVD were suitable, there needed to be a strong-
er emphasis on consequences.
The video touched on some of these but mainly
emphasised damage to our reputation. Although this
is well understood by an audience such as mine, it
is not likely to have as much impact on a group of
There was a general view that as leaders we
need to emphasise the need to display moral cour-
age when something is happening that we know to
be unacceptable or inappropriate. There was a view
that this is not being pushed hard enough in our
training organisations as it used to be.
There was also some discussion about the role
and adequacy of character guidance training within
the Army. Many of my staff indicated that just hav-
ing a padre stand up and discuss morals and ethics
is not enough and there needs to be more active
involvement from leaders during these sessions.
Perhaps the most perceptive comment of the day
was made by one of the corporals on the staff. He
made the point that Army as a whole had not spent
enough effort analysing the prevailing attitudes and
expectations of the current generation of young peo-
ple. This was not so much in terms of recruitment but
in terms of ongoing management.
Col Steven Lee
Commandant Defence Command Support Training Centre
THE following comments sum-
marise the key discussion points
on command issues discussions
held on May 31 at 8/7RVR, both
ARA and ARes.
The general consensus is that
the Army is unfortunately being
seen as having to react to situa-
tions, rather than being pro-active.
Some soldiers believe that the
media is damaging ADF reputation
and would like "something done
about it", but that "something" is
difficult to define. As I heard one
corporal say, "I am proud to wear
this uniform, but I don't like hav-
ing to defend it with my friends
and work colleagues".
Many soldiers would like to see
ADF seniors actively and robustly
explain to the media the process-
es and systems already in place
within the ADF which promote our
professionalism. They acknowl-
edge and understand the role of
politicians and agree that this is
not always possible.
Some soldiers consider that
there seems to be little being done
to discourage people from doing
the wrong thing. The soldiers men-
tioned that commanders have stat-
ed that there will be ramifications
for unacceptable behaviour, but lit-
tle is revealed about the outcomes.
The soldiers know and under-
stand that it is a minority which
is letting the team down, and that
these incidents should not cause
us to take our 'eye off the ball'.
All indicated that they are proud
to serve and are not put off by the
media reports, knowing that it is
not a true reflection of the majority
of Army people.
Some soldiers said that they
were tiring of the media hype sur-
rounding recent events, and felt
that it was not accurate reporting.
All soldiers indicated that they
were aware of their responsibili-
ties outside of work, and how their
behaviour could send both posi-
tive and negative messages. They
clearly understand their respon-
sibilities. The youngest soldier in
the session I attended was around
THE DVD Lifting Gender
Restrictions, I believe, was not
quite appropriate to what the day
was about. The Army has been
talking about this employment-
based testing for some time now
and I have observed these type
of trails for a few years.
To release this video as a way
of interpreting how we are going
to deal with the renamed gender-
based testing for combat corps is
Overall the DVD does not real-
ly say much but that the Army is
working on something again. My
suggestion would be to not release
something like this again without
actual facts, or diggers will just
pay it off anyway.
The DVD Are You An
Australian Soldier? was a DVD
that encompassed nothing we
hadn't heard before during force
preservation training and other
DVDs about leading and mentor-
ing and so on.
The interesting product of that
DVD was the so called public
opinion with newspaper headlines
flashing up everywhere.
This is not public opinion; this
is journalist opinion that actually
makes it to the paper. I have read
many posts on websites and let-
ters from the public in the paper
blaming the media for slamming
us once again.
I also have many friends in the
outside world who don't believe
we have a culture.
In no way am I opposing the
CA-directed training. I believe
the opportunity to sit down and
discuss topics was facilitated
well. However, the DVDs did not
enhance the day.
WO2 Justin Smith
SSM A Sqn, 10LHR
Day more effective than DVDs
A more proactive
19 and he and his mates stated that
their role in the Army undoubt-
edly influenced their behaviour and
actions in a positive way.
Robust discussion ensued on
the types of people being recruited.
Some asked the question whether
we should review our recruiting
standards and recruits more strin-
gently, or do we accept that atti-
tudes that are contrary to Army's
beliefs will become more preva-
lent? They do not want to see this
Rather than concentrating on
the "rights" of recruits, soldiers
and officer cadets, the focus should
be on the "responsibilities and
obligations" of the individual as an
Army member. Once they under-
stand their responsibilities, espe-
cially towards others, they under-
stand their rights.
Acceptance of responsibil-
ity was a subject that everyone
acknowledged as being the key
to the continued success of Army.
Everyone understands that actions
have consequences and that there
should be no surprises if a member
is held accountable for an act or
Social media can be a very
effective tool, provided it is used
The session provided a good
opportunity to remind members of
their responsibilities when using
Facebook in particular.
Soldiers accept that there may
be a time when women are serving
beside them in a rifle section, and
provided they meet the require-
ments, they do not see it as a major
Most females indicated that
they had no opinion either way
about being able to serve in the
remaining 7 per cent of jobs cur-
rently unavailable. Those present
said that they would not do so,
even if given the choice.
It would be helpful to see some
data that shows how the integration
of females into frontline units has
worked, so people can make an
The new physical fitness test-
ing and standards generated a great
deal of interest. All agreed that this
needed to be further explained, so
everyone knew what was required
for their trade, but agreed that
the current system did need to be
Commander's assessment: The
session provided a great opportu-
nity to have meaningful, mature
discussion on real issues affecting
us all and to witness first-hand the
real feelings of our soldiers in a
collective environment. I suggest
future sessions be held on key cul-
tural messages with similar DVD
presentations and forums.
Lt-Col Murray Duckworth
Pride: Most participants in the stand down day indicated a strong sense of pride in the Australian
Army's history and culture, and anger at negative reporting in the media. Photo by Cpl Hamish Paterson
Watch and learn: A stand down day focusing on Army culture
was worthwhile, but the DVDs did not add to the event, according
to WO2 Justin Smith.
Photo by LS Paul Berry
Feedback received on Army's recent cultural awareness day
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