The Australian Army faces new readiness challenges as the pace of technology development and mission scope rapidly evolve, writes Neale Prescott, director business development at Lockheed Martin, Australia.
The Army’s response to changes occurring in global, regional and domestic operating environments are encapsulated in the “Accelerated Warfare Statement” by Chief of Army (CA) Lieutenant General Rick Burr. The CA calls for the Army to respond to accelerated warfare by being an Army in Motion – ready now and future ready for co-operation, competition and conflict.
Future training must prepare soldiers for interoperability with allies and coalition partners. The Australian Army plays a key role in the joint environment where forces seamlessly integrate across air, sea, land, space and cyber domains.
Three capabilities are critical to soldier mission preparedness in this complex landscape.
Deployable and affordable training at the point of need
The Australian Army is working to strengthen land power to project forces on and from land to enable the joint force in peace and war. This requires soldiers to have a more diverse skillset, including large force collaboration, allied co-ordination and precise decision making.
Achieving a higher level of readiness takes new training solutions for home station and deployed training to a joint network-centric approach to support the 21st century warfighter. As the Australian Army designs new land training architectures to deliver a truly authentic Land Training Environment, they continue to explore new operating concepts and integrate new land capabilities, training interoperability across joint, integrated environments that will enhance land power.
Moreover, the ADF’s focus is on an integrated live, virtual, constructive training enterprise with a foundational element being the core simulation capability under development as part of Joint Project 9711 Phase 1. When this innovative and world leading program achieves final operating capability the ADF will be able to train across the range of complex capability being introduced into service in dynamic operational environments alongside our coalition partners.
For the Army, the Future Ready Training System is at the core of the CA’s Army in Motion, and delivering training to the point of need is dependent on open systems architectures that are Defence owned and industry informed. Army’s land training environment connects with live, virtual and constructive training to enable an integrated environment. This Land Training Environment based on documented standards and open architectures facilitates rapid technology insertion to maintain a modern capable training environment.
Performance assessment to accelerate preparedness
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The global threat environment is changing across all domains. Increasingly, soldiers are facing skill decay and cognitive overload due to the speed and detail necessary for each decision.
New data-driven training management methods can help the ADF overcome this and provide a more accurate objective assessment of unit preparedness. Australian Army units, small unit leaders and combat commanders can leverage intelligent targetry that are able to gather information and provide analytics to give a better understanding of skills. AI-based virtual instruction and intelligent after-action reviews can work in tandem to improve soldier and unit skills.
Investments in AI training align with the Australian Army’s training transformation, ensuring training is delivered faster and at the point of need with the end goal of increasing the operational readiness of teams to respond to future challenges in conflict and peacetime. These advancements will also help to shape army-to-army training, capacity building and resilience with other land forces across the Indo-Pacific.
Two additional steps will take training to the next level across company, joint task force and corps-level command and staff. First, the ADF could extend scalable open architecture training to the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) environment to connect sensors from all military services. Second, the ADF’s development of a multi-resolution joint synthetic environment will allow Australia’s multi-domain task force commanders to train as they fight.
Resilient sustainment for the 21st century warfighter
Being prepared today is only the first step, and to guarantee future success, the Australian Army must ensure availability of the future force. The deployed force needs to be able to rely on industry contractors and a robust pipeline of talent and technology for enduring operations in support of national security.
Sustainment is critical to the mission support package for warfighting platforms, but resilient sustainment provides assurance of an enduring warfighting capability. Continuous military operations for the ADF can be assured by implementing enhanced logistics command and control and AI-based platform prognostics.
Picture a high velocity supply chain with parts provided where and when they are needed, and there is no single point of failure across the logistics tail.
Examples of this are predictive maintenance and prognostic health management. Rather than waiting for part failure to trigger in-field repair, predictive maintenance capability makes it possible for maintainers to take action prior to the mission.
This capability has been proven through US Special Operations Command Global Logistics Support Services and New Zealand Defence Force’s Project Alexander. From design to disposal, the programs provide life cycle management of the global supply chain, warehousing, platform and equipment repair, maintenance and modifications.
In summary, the success of Australia’s future fighting force relies on the ability to adopt advancements in training and resilient sustainment technologies.
The concepts discussed – training at the point of need, AI-powered performance assessment and enduring warfighting readiness – are well within the Australian Army’s grasp. Implementing these concepts and tools will provide an Army in Motion and soldiers well prepared for the mission.
Neale Prescott is director business development, Lockheed Martin, Australia.