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February 8, 2018
What message do you have for your
officers and soldiers for 2018?
I want to start by saying thanks for the service
that has been given to date. We volunteer to give
to our country first and ourselves second. There
is a burden to that service, which I deeply appre-
ciate. It doesn’t end, because it’s the nature of
what we do.
At the beginning of each year is a time, particu-
larly heading up to Australia Day, for people to
pause and consider service, their commitment to
duty and how we all might be able to move the
story of Army forward this year.
What priorities have you set for Army
In my time, I’ve been very consistent that I want
four things to be focused on: Firstly Army’s sup-
port to operations, it’s why we exist. Secondly
is our assistance to each other – particularly
the wounded, injured and ill – to make sure we
rebuild people’s lives, capability and realise the
full potential in our people.
Next is the modernisation of the force, which
includes equipment, but also the doctrine, tactics,
training systems and methodologies by which we
understand and think about war.
Finally is our cultural renewal, which is a story
that continues every year in Army, and needs to
in 2018. It’s about making sure we are the best
army our nation requires and aspires for us to be.
I think those priorities – operations; the wound-
ed, injured and ill; modernisation and culture
can be condensed to three words: readiness,
people and modernisation. They are three endur-
ing themes our counterpart armies are focusing
on all over the world, and we need to focus on
Plan Beersheba was finalised last
year. What’s next for Army?
I’m really pleased about what has been achieved
over a number of years and by many people
working on Plan Beersheba. It’s a great thing
which has been achieved in building a readiness
model for an Army, bringing in the amphibious
capability for the ADF, seeing the reserve and
full-time components of the force working in an
integrated and intimate manner and establishing
common brigades – 1, 3 and 7 Bdes.
Beersheba is not the end, there is no end. Last
year I started a conversation with our leadership
about the next reach for the Army, but I think we
should engage into the strong strategic centre
of Defence, the think-tanks that work on stra-
tegic policy issues and out across our brigades
to develop the next step over the course of the
year. We need to take the next step – if we stand
still, we’re going to be going backwards in com-
parison to our competitors. I can assure you, the
issue of what is next is front and centre for the
discussion in our Army in 2018.
Army will be announcing, or intro-
ducing, a lot of new equipment this
year, have you had an opportunity to
get hands on with any of the new kit?
I have and it’s great kit. I’m really impressed
by the work done by both companies who are
presenting vehicles for Land 400. It looks like it
will go to government for a decision in the first
half of this year, which is exciting. I hope that
decision might also start the process into the next
phase, the Infantry Fighting Vehicle component.
I’ve been so impressed with the Hawkei that I
brought one down to Canberra, put the “Army
1” plates on it, and parked it in my car park, to
make sure people see and understand not just
that we’re getting new kit, but the technological
transformation it implies. The Hawkei wasn’t
built as a vehicle with a network added to it; the
vehicle is built around the network. I’m really
proud of it and I think Thales should be too,
because it’s going to be great for our Army.
Words of wisdom
from the Chief
Are there further changes in
the works around Army’s new
The work now is to mature a beginning capabil-
ity, which we do by building depth of experience
in our people. In time the private soldier, who
has started to learn about amphibious work,
becomes the sergeant, who is expert at it. All the
way through our system of command and leader-
ship, we have people who have layers of experi-
ence over time, which is why it sometimes takes
10 years to see a new capability fully mature.
This will take a number of years and a lot of
movement of people between different parts of
the infantry skillset until we have a really deep
and broad capability.
The scale of amphibious capability we can
generate is quite modest, so we need to work
with our partners in our region – the Japanese,
Indonesians and Malaysians – as well as allies
like the US Marine Corps and US Army to build
relationships, capacity and understanding across
I’m incredibly pleased with where we’re at now,
but we have to keep going.
Cpl Sebastian Beurich sat down with CA Lt-Gen Angus Campbell to discuss the
leader’s ambitions for the year ahead.
Will there be any change in Army’s
commitments in the Middle East this
At the moment, my impression from govern-
ment is we will probably have about the same
numbers across our commitments to UN and
Coalition operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the
wider Middle East. As we’ve seen over the past
20 years, as the conditions and circumstances
change, our presence evolves. Government will
make a decision and CJOPS will be the one who
engages with the service chiefs to see how they
can support the available options and then make
recommendations to government.
When are the officers and soldiers
going to see you this year?
I’ll get around to the brigades in their barracks
locations throughout the year, but I also intend to
visit Hamel, to see Wontok Warrior in PNG and
the team undertaking AACAP in Yalata this year,
among other activities.
Getting out of Canberra is always a very good
day in the Chief of Army’s diary, so I like to get
out as much as I can.
When I get around, it’s always uplifting, it
always makes me feel like I’m proud to be an
Australian and I’ve chosen the right career. I’m
often surprised by the quality of the ideas from
our soldiers, but never surprised by the profes-
sionalism and the dedication of our people. It’s
a great privilege, and I think the RSM-A would
agree with me that it has and continues to be a
great privilege to find yourself the Chief of Army
and to be able to work with an extraordinary
group of Australians.
I wish everyone a very safe, but also challenging,
year in training and on operations and I’d remind
everyone that the last assured day to be ready for
operations was yesterday.
We volunteer to
give to our country
first and ourselves
second. There is
a burden to that
service, which I
CA’s new Hawkei
parked at Russell
Photo: Sgt Janine Fabre
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