Staff cadets have completed Exercise Shaggy Ridge, regarded as a gruelling rite of passage for ADF trainees.
Staff cadets at the the Royal Military College Duntroon, Canberra, have completed Exercise Shaggy Ridge, a tightly controlled training program designed to test the physical, mental and emotional strength of trainees.
The exercise designed to help staff cadets develop a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses as leaders, as well as their ethical decision-making capabilities in high stress situations.
The training program serves as a key point of reference for every general service officer in the Australian Army.
“A sound leader is a self-aware leader,” Senior Instructor II Class Major James Wood said.
“We need to graduate leaders that demonstrate the appropriate tendencies in terms of their personal leadership, character and ability to make ethical decisions.
“Exercises like Shaggy Ridge greatly enhance the trainees’ ability to reflect on themselves and serve to initiate an enduring process of critical self-evaluation and refinement of their intrinsic capabilities.”
Exercise Shaggy Ridge keeps trainees in a constant state of fatigue, encouraging staff cadets to push through discomfort and demonstrate their resilience.
“Where the activity has gone forward in leaps and bounds is the ethical dilemmas that are now placed on the cadets,” MAJ Wood continued.
“Scenarios that encapsulate an ethical dilemma or decision now account for a significant percentage of the tasks that the cadets are required to complete.
“The remainder are straightforward, physically and mentally-arduous activities that all require an ability to solve problems and test the cadets’ individual leadership and followership traits.”
MAJ Wood stressed the importance of self-awareness and character building as a means to fostering collaboration and comradery between personnel, better preparing them for future calls to action.
“Regardless of what campaign plan we are currently in or the current state of preparedness requirements, we will always need effective ways to develop quality leaders,” MAJ Wood said.
“In the current climate it is more important than ever to cultivate leaders who are of impeccable character and ethics.
“The more we can place trainee officers in immersive scenarios that test these traits, the better prepared the Army will be for the wars of tomorrow.”