Australian Army Discussions and Updates

buffy9

Active Member
I must admit, I expected the link to that video I posted to generate some comments. Maybe the information is buried too deep. I might summarise some of the information in the video, particularly about the army objective force. As always, the information should be taken with a grain of salt. It is the unclassified version, so not everything is included, a lot is already out of date, and a lot is still in the thought bubble stage, and predates any decisions or funding. However, with COVID having upset the strategic apple cart the way it has, I expect we‘ll see some significant changes happen earlier rather than later.

Some key points from the brief:
- 1 Bde is to be split in two to create a fourth combat brigade. The elements currently in Darwin will remain part of 1 Bde, while those in Adelaide will become part of 9 Bde, forming an integrated (ARES/ARA) brigade. 1 Bde will become a light amphibious brigade, with 4 RAR being re-raised as a mirror of 2 RAR. 9 Bde will become a mech heavy brigade with 1 Armd Regt and 7 RAR, as well as 9 Regt equipped with SPGs and 9 Field Squadron equipped with the L8160 combat engineering vehicles.
- 8 Bde is to become the fires brigade based in Adelaide, with 16 Regt (the GBAD unit with NASAMs), the long range fires regiment and a land based anti ship missile unit.
- A new two star aviation command is to be created, which will command 16 Bde and all aviation elements (including 20 STA with the Shadow UAS replacement). The majority of army aviation will be centralised in a centre of excellence in Townsville.
- Darwin is to become the main watercraft precinct with most of the expanded littoral manoeuvre capability.
- A new health brigade is to be raised, taking all the health units off 17 Bde.
- 6 Bde is to become a more specialised brigade with a ridiculous acronym, and include all sorts of ISR, EW, cyber etc capabilities.
- 13 Bde is to grow to have a more significant capability in the west of the country, including a littoral manoeuvre, artillery and cavalry capability.
- The majority of AFVs are to be prepositioned at Cultana and Shoalwater Bay, to save money on moving them for exercises and improve availability.
- What remains of 2 Div will focus on domestic contingency response.
- 12/40 RTR is to become an RFSU.
- The army is to grow by nearly 5000 personnel over the next couple of decades.
Based.

I don't have the data to go through it unfortunately. Some of these points seem ludicrous while others have merit, so I have no idea what to make of it.

I'm sure this is a vital security concerns though. Obviously we can't have any Taswegian boats leaving the coastline undetected for the mainland...
 
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buffy9

Active Member
What is the region that 12/40RTR would operate in as a RFSU? The idea of the RFSU is that they tap into the knowledge and daily exposure of the locals to identify unusual occurrences which might indicate unauthorised arrivals or infiltration on Australian territory.
12/40 RTR is the 12th/40th Royal Tasmanian Regiment, a reserve infantry battalion in Tasmania that is a part of 9th Brigade (itself currently the reserve brigade for Tasmania and South Australia). Tasmania really does not need a RFSU - I suspect that Raven22 is joking since I haven't seen it, either that or the presentation itself was joking.
 

Gryphinator

New Member
First proper post, be kind.

I don't understand the need to revisit the combined reg/reserve brigade concept. If manpower for the ARA is the issue, make it more attractive (Not another posting to Darwin may help-speaking from experience)
 

rossfrb_1

Member
Military Exercise Sydney CBD? - 14:30 18/11/2020 at least 3 MRH90's flying low over Sydney's eastern suburbs south to north headed for the CBD - side door/s open
 

Massive

Active Member
Some key points from the brief:
- 1 Bde is to be split in two to create a fourth combat brigade. The elements currently in Darwin will remain part of 1 Bde, while those in Adelaide will become part of 9 Bde, forming an integrated (ARES/ARA) brigade. 1 Bde will become a light amphibious brigade, with 4 RAR being re-raised as a mirror of 2 RAR. 9 Bde will become a mech heavy brigade with 1 Armd Regt and 7 RAR, as well as 9 Regt equipped with SPGs and 9 Field Squadron equipped with the L8160 combat engineering vehicles.
- 8 Bde is to become the fires brigade based in Adelaide, with 16 Regt (the GBAD unit with NASAMs), the long range fires regiment and a land based anti ship missile unit.
- A new two star aviation command is to be created, which will command 16 Bde and all aviation elements (including 20 STA with the Shadow UAS replacement). The majority of army aviation will be centralised in a centre of excellence in Townsville.
- Darwin is to become the main watercraft precinct with most of the expanded littoral manoeuvre capability.
- A new health brigade is to be raised, taking all the health units off 17 Bde.
- 6 Bde is to become a more specialised brigade with a ridiculous acronym, and include all sorts of ISR, EW, cyber etc capabilities.
- 13 Bde is to grow to have a more significant capability in the west of the country, including a littoral manoeuvre, artillery and cavalry capability.
- The majority of AFVs are to be prepositioned at Cultana and Shoalwater Bay, to save money on moving them for exercises and improve availability.
- What remains of 2 Div will focus on domestic contingency response.
- 12/40 RTR is to become an RFSU.
- The army is to grow by nearly 5000 personnel over the next couple of decades.
Thanks Raven,

I watched it and found it very interesting.

Observations:
+ Clearly targeted at a professional audience, the first third was very jargon heavy and hard to follow, but definitely gave a sense of the complexity and pace of change facing the army
+ The analogy to the 100m race in terms of modernisation - Navy at the 95m mark, Airforce at 90 and Army at 30 - was interesting
+ Army is clearly maintaining contact with key technology innovations
+ The emphasis on long range fires was marked - and suggestive of these not being acquired in penny packets as so often seems to happen for high end capabilities
+ Emphasis on army watercraft was clear - and long-ranged watercraft at that - be interesting to see the size of the watercraft being considered
+ Specialist cyber etc capability very interesting.

On your points above:
+ There appears to be a clear move away from three identical brigades to generate forces from - this is a bit surprising - was this proving to be unworkable? Now moving back to specialised brigades - would they run force generation cycles where they have a regiment/battalion+ sized group available?
+ Long range fires and LBASM look like being acquired in regiment quantity - this is good
+ Would 13Bde cav and artillery be regular units?
+ ARes being about domestic contingency response? Feels odd.
+ I don't understand why the reserves can't be considered just that - a second tier capability that would need time to be worked up, and would largely be used for suitable tasks - outer defence of fixed installations etc

Regardless - in sum, very interesting and I appreciate you taking the time to post the video - I found it very informative.

Thanks,

Massive
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
These key points are IMHO the ones which need a lot of explanation, supported by facts, in order to pass even a cursory glance.
I guess there is only so much you can learn from a couple of slides from an unclassified presentation. I really just posted it to show that there is a lot happening behind the scenes, and it is a bit unfair to characterise the army as not being smart if you don't actually know what is going on. As always, time will reveal what actually happens.

What is the justification for the creation of a light amphibious brigade spread over 2 widely separated locations and greatly removed from the principle means of transport (based in FBE)? It is just a variation of the operational deployment force role that 3 Bde used to jealously guard.
Perhaps I mis-characterised what the presentation shows. The orbat slide shows all that remains of 1 Bde being located in Darwin, 4 RAR being re-raised as a mirror of 2 RAR (as a pre-landing force), and the main watercraft precinct also being located in Darwin. Instead of calling it an amphibious brigade, perhaps it would be more accurate to describe the new 1 Bde as a light brigade optimised for littoral manoeuvre. One of the main drivers behind the LCM8 and LCH replacement, as well as the riverine capabiltiy, is to give the Army the ability to manoeuvre in the littoral independent of the RAN amphibious ships located at FBE. This significant aids the agility of the force in both peace and war.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
+ There appears to be a clear move away from three identical brigades to generate forces from - this is a bit surprising - was this proving to be unworkable? Now moving back to specialised brigades - would they run force generation cycles where they have a regiment/battalion+ sized group available?
I don't think it is necessarily a case of the identifcal brigades not working, it is more a case that the environment has changed, and the drivers behind the identical brigades (as well as the force generation cycle) are no longer relevant.

For example, the main drivers behind the like Beersheeba brigades was the need to generate forces for ongoing deployments, as well as to simplify combined arms training. Clearly, there are no longer ongoing deployments, and most future contingencies don't forsee endless rotations, but shorter, more decisive conflicts. At the same time, the enabling brigades will take over from the combat brigades as the centre of the combined arms training focus. You can also sprinkle in things like massively increased international engagement, more of a focus on national resilience, and the desire to get more out of the reserve etc etc. Put all those things together, and the move away from like brigades makes sense.

Interestingly, however, the slide shows both 3 and 7 Brigades to be unchanged. Personally, I don't like this. If we are going away from like brigades, lets do it properly and make one a mech brigade and the other a light brigade. That way you remove the problem of having to sustain every capabability in every brigade at the same time, as well as creating brigade structures you can actaully fight with. With the aviation centre of excellence and a watercraft det being at Townsville, as well as the AFV forward basing at SWBTA, it would make sense to make 7 Bde the mech brigade and 3 Bde a lighter rapid deployment brigade.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
CDF has released the Brereton report. It can be found here

Though heavily redacted for obvious reasons, it is still a disturbing read.
Yes this is going to be bad, could be up to 25 personal being charged over the deaths of 39 Afghan Civilians. Reports of young Troopers being forced to kill unarmed Civilians as a right of passage.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes this is going to be bad, could be up to 25 personal being charged over the deaths of 39 Afghan Civilians. Reports of young Troopers being forced to kill unarmed Civilians as a right of passage.
A review into the leadership ethics of Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) carried out by Professor David Whetham of King’s College London, Assistant Inspector-General of the ADF; where it details the ‘slippery slope’ that SOCOMD travelled to get to this point, with their legal support teams watering down reports to avoid further scrutiny.

SOCOMD, an organisation of approximately 2,450 people, and in 2015 had an annual budget of A$55m — seems to have suffered strain after years of ongoing deployments to Afghanistan — that was serious enough to merit a recalibration in 2015. Over an eight year period SOCOMD raised, trained, force prepared, deployed and indirectly sustained 20 SOTG rotations. A HQ was deploying every 6 months and sub-unit FE every 4 months. On average this resulted in two sub-units across the command deploying or preparing for deployment every 18 months and the CO and other key staff appointments away from units for at least 6 of every 24 months.

See a link to the 2015 SOCOMD Governance Remediation plan; where it was reported that SOCOMD has arrested the decline in governance and standards within its remit and largely been successful in remediating items directed in Ref A (para 7). While there remains further remediation effort, Maj. Gen Sengelman reported that the organisation is on the right trajectory. Identifying the causal factors has been as critical to progress as has been rectifying issues. The principles Maj. Gen Sengelman was asked to be followed were as follows:
a. Meet the Army standard​
b. Adhere to extant Army processes​
c. Follow the line of accountability​
d. Identify the tasks, resources and assets more rightly under taken by other organisations within Defence and Army.​
“This was not all of SOCOMD,” GEN Campbell said. “Task group commanders bear responsibility for what happened under their command.”

CDF has released the Brereton report. It can be found here

Though heavily redacted for obvious reasons, it is still a disturbing read.
The report recommends that 36 matters be referred to the Australian Federal Police with others to be dealt with through internal administrative action. In the course of evidence and information gathering:
  • 170 Requests for Information were issued (some requesting a single document, but most were far more extensive).
  • In excess of 20,000 documents and 25,000 images were sourced and reviewed by the Inquiry.
  • The Inquiry conducted in excess of 510 witness interviews, of 423 witnesses (a number of witnesses were interviewed more than once). Interviews ranged in length from less than an hour, to three days.
When established, the Inquiry was intentionally not given a specified timeframe in which to report. It was generally understood that it would take some considerable time, first to understand the complex and unique nature of Special Operations Task Group operations in Afghanistan, and then to gain the confidence and trust of members of an organisation that does not readily welcome engagement or scrutiny by outsiders, to the extent that they might be prepared to make disclosures.

In addition, CDF announced the striking-off of Australia’s 2nd SAS squadron for their actions in Afghanistan after this investigation report.

As a forum, we can’t ignore a difficult truth — 39 were killed, and 25 current or former ADF personnel will have to answer for their crimes or alleged crimes. But there are some small positives. The fact that this inquiry happened at all is a testament to the bravery of the soldiers who spoke out and to the ADF’s willingness to let them speak. It is also a testament to a culture of integrity in the ADF that runs deeper than the disastrous failings that allowed these crimes to happen.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Yes this is going to be bad, could be up to 25 personal being charged over the deaths of 39 Afghan Civilians. Reports of young Troopers being forced to kill unarmed Civilians as a right of passage.
Yes it's going to be very bad and it is right that people should be held to account. But remember that any persons charged are presumed innocent unless found guilty by their peers in a fair trial.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
In response to a relevant private question on the report, I extract below the CDF’s statement, on both the nature of incidents and the time period where this occurred and how it relates to Australian war hero, Ben Roberts-Smith VC.

Given that CDF announced the striking-off of Australia’s 2nd SAS squadron for their actions in Afghanistan after this investigation report, it is clear how it relates to this hero.

Extracts of the Statement by General Angus J Campbell, Chief of the Defence Force (CDF), Australia on 19 November 2020

“... Today, the Australian Defence Force is rightly held to account for allegations of grave misconduct by some members of our Special Forces community during operations in Afghanistan.

Before turning to the Inspector-General’s report, it’s important to note that over the period from 2005 to 2016, more than 26,000 Australians served in Afghanistan, 3,000 of them in the Special Operations Task Group.

An enormous amount of good work was done by many, who should be proud of their contribution.
What the Inspector-General finds is greatly at odds with that good effort, and damaging to our moral authority as a military force.

His Report details credible information regarding deeply disturbing allegations of unlawful killings by some.

I respectfully ask Australians to remember and have faith in the service of the many. Let me assure you, I do.

...

Justice Brereton considered in detail 57 allegations of incidents and issues. He found there to be credible information to substantiate 23 incidents of alleged unlawful killings of 39 people, perpetrated by 25 Australian Special Forces soldiers, predominantly from the Special Air Service Regiment.

Those alleged to have been unlawfully killed were all people under control, in lay-terms prisoners, farmers and other civilians.

This shameful record includes alleged instances in which new patrol members were coerced to shoot a prisoner to achieve the soldier’s first kill, in an appalling practice known as ‘blooding’. Further to this, ‘throwdown’ weapons and radios were also reportedly planted to support claims that people killed were ‘enemy killed in action’.
Some of these incidents took place in 2009 and 2010, with the majority occurring in the latter years of 2012 and 2013.

Alleged perpetrators deployed on between one and five Special Operations Task Group rotations over the period 2006 to 2013.”
 
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old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
For the life of me, I can not think of anything positive about striking 2 Sqn from the orbat.
I know ex serving members who were serving before Afghanistan who were members of 2 Sqn, including Vietnam vets.
SFA achieved by this action.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
For the life of me, I can not think of anything positive about striking 2 Sqn from the orbat.
I know ex serving members who were serving before Afghanistan who were members of 2 Sqn, including Vietnam vets.
SFA achieved by this action.
Maybe the shame and dishonour that the current and recent members of the Sqn have bought on SASR, previous sqn personnel who served with honour, Army ADF and the nation is enough reason. Can you think of any other time in Aussie Army history when such war crimes have been committed?
 

old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Maybe the shame and dishonour that the current and recent members of the Sqn have bought on SASR, previous sqn personnel who served with honour, Army ADF and the nation is enough reason. Can you think of any other time in Aussie Army history when such war crimes have been committed?
Probably many many times in WW2 I would imagine. There would have been plenty of times that P.O.Ws or surrendering Japanese troops were shot. I am not excusing the murders, particularly the “blooding” of green troops, but this whole reaction stinks.
When the Iranian General was killed in Iraq recently, the driver was “murdered”. When an F18 hits a target with a 2000lb bomb, civvies inevitably are killed.
The SAS put them selves in dangerous patrols to capture persons of interest, then a week later that same person is caught again, and again. The innocent victims of these crimes may well have been known targets to the patrols. Bit like how the Brit SAS took annual leave in Northern Ireland to “sort things out”.
The biggest crime is social media and trial by the media.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Australian Defence Force could have been more open about the nature its deployment to Afghanistan.
The biggest crime is social media and trial by the media.
There should be no rush to judgement — troopers suspected are referred to the Australian Federal Police and the prosecution bears the burden of proof.
The SAS put them selves in dangerous patrols to capture persons of interest, then a week later that same person is caught again, and again. The innocent victims of these crimes may well have been known targets to the patrols.
A common frustration in counter-insurgency operations. Statistics from the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) archives indicated that deployed Special Operations servicemen made up 3% of all forces deployed by America, and yet they sustained 30% of all casualties. The British and Australian Special forces had similar patterns.

The Australian SAS suffer disproportionately even amongst deployed troops due to the nature of their jobs.
Bit like how the Brit SAS took annual leave in Northern Ireland to “sort things out”.
Those were the old days before the army also stated developing a capability to investigate and map tribal relationships to get a sense of the human terrain — its counter productive to kill the wrong guys as it plays into the Taliban’s narrative.

Australian troops deployed play an important role in modernisation of processes and tactics, which includes trauma care.

Statistics have shown that 90% of combat deaths occur on the battlefield before reaching a medical treatment facility. 15% of these deaths can be prevented and are classified as preventable deaths. 60% of preventable deaths occur due to haemorrhage from extremities, 33% of these are due to tension pneumothorax and 6% are caused by airway obstruction in maxillofacial injuries. All these cases of death was managed in Afghanistan with the use of good haemorrhage control, correct procedures in decompressing tension pneumothorax and expeditious control of airway.
 
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hairyman

Member
I am not happy that the investigation is to be done by the Federal Police, who have little experience in heavy investigations. Members of the NSW and Vic Homicide squads should be included for their experience and expertise.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I am not happy that the investigation is to be done by the Federal Police, who have little experience in heavy investigations. Members of the NSW and Vic Homicide squads should be included for their experience and expertise.
@hairyman Based on what evidence do you make this claim? The reason for the red ink is that this is a very serious allegation to make and requires a serious response, because you are calling into question the qualifications and capabilities of officers of the AFP.

You are required to respond to this and think very carefully about your response.
 
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