Archive

The Strategic Civilian: Challenges for Non-Combatants in 21st Century Warfare

Abstract The notion of the ‘Strategic Corporal’ in conflict is a necessary, but not sufficient concept. This idea recognises what we have long known. Effective operational outcomes rely on having good leaders at every level who know what they are doing. Military leadership, whether it is of an army or an infantry section, is something that we recognize easily. However, we must recognize, and make better preparations for the fact that we are already deploying civilians into conditions of modern warfare. These ‘complex’ operations range from counter-insurgency, stabilisation and reconstruction to peacebuilding, where even relatively junior officials and non-government organization representatives are making decisions with long-term strategic ramifications. Even short of conflict, overseas deployments will involve military and civilians working together in humanitarian relief and disaster response. Natural disasters are often as politicised as warfare, the main distinction being that while the military will lead in combat operations, in virtually every other circumstance the military only supports the civil lead. Yet while our analysis of military leadership requirements is highly developed, our appreciation of the civilian leadership requirements for complex operations hardly exists. We need to develop a concept of the ‘Strategic Civilian’. Downloads View this document on Academia.edu

Read More

Working paper: ‘No better friend, no worse enemy: How different organisational cultures impede and enhance Australia’s whole-of-government approach’

Abstract Since 1999, Australia has increasingly deployed the military in joint, combined, interagency environments as part of a ‘whole-of-government’ approach. Despite some successes, a number of barriers between the contributing agencies continue to interfere with attempts to synchronise disparate elements of national power into a unified national effort. This paper examines these barriers through the lens of Australian operations in Timor-Leste, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan to determine how these barriers can be overcome and strives to broaden institutional perspective for members of the civil-military-police community. It concludes that incompatible organisational culture is the most significant impediment to Australia’s whole-of-government approach but argues that some differences in organisational culture provide the whole-of-government approach with its greatest strength. Differences in organisational perspective offer diversity in thinking, challenges the status quo, prevents groupthink and leads to superior outcomes. By raising awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of different organisational cultures in interagency operations, practitioners and planners will be better placed to overcome the impediment of different organisational cultures and instead leverage them to better synchronise the application of the national power. The author Lieutenant Colonel Mark Smith is an Army Reserve Infantry officer with over 20 years’ service. The views expressed here…

Read More

Australian Guidelines for the Protection of Civilians

Abstract The Australian Guidelines for the Protection of Civilians (the Guidelines) provide a whole-of-government perspective on the Protection of Civilians (POC) in international situations of armed conflict and other situations of violence. The Guidelines are the product of extensive consultation, facilitated by the Australian Civil-Military Centre, and includes broad representation of Australian government and non-government organisations. In contemporary conflicts civilians are increasingly the targets of systematic and opportunistic violence, including indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks, sexual and gender-based violence and other violations of international law. This situation continues despite the existing protections provided by international humanitarian and human rights law. Clearly, more needs to be done. These Guidelines help identify who has responsibility and what needs to be done when protection of civilians is an issue. They place support for the rule of law at the centre of Australian operational responses. While focusing on operations involving the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), they also build a shared understanding of POC across the full range of government departments and agencies that will contribute to an offshore operation. The Guidelines provide guidance on how to implement Australia’s POC focus areas: Protection through dialogue and engagement Provision of physical…

Read More

Civil-Military-Police Language Guide

Abstract The civil-military-police community is as diverse as it is broad. It contains a wide range of actors who employ a variety of methodologies and techniques, use unique equipment and often pursue different objectives in service of different masters. Diversity is a strength of the civil-military-police domain, although a common understanding is required between community members to realise that strength. The range of different terminology employed across the civil-military-police community can make it difficult to form a common understanding. Strategic level decision making should be driven by shared information and understandings. A Civil-Military-Police Language Guide can help ensure that information sourced from the operational level is precise, consistent and unambiguous. The demand for these qualities increases during crises. This Civil-Military-Police Language Guide is not intended to force participants to conform to any single set of terms; different sectors within the civil-military-police community may use different terminology. However, recognising and respecting the differences between actors is vital. The terminology employed by each actor can hold vastly different meanings, with implications for planning, preparedness and investment in activities such as training. Downloads View this publication on Academia.edu

Read More

Same Space Different Mandates International Edition

Abstract In response to overseas natural or manmade disasters and complex emergencies, defence forces, police, government agencies and the aid community often find themselves operating in the same physical space as one another. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding and confusion over stakeholder roles, responsibilities, cultures and terminologies can impede communication and coherency in program implementation, leading to reduced effectiveness in meeting the needs of the host population. Issues such as humanitarian space shrinking due to restrictions on humanitarian access; perceptions regarding subordination of humanitarian principles; the tensions that arise between political, humanitarian and military objectives within integrated multiagency stabilisation efforts; and the increase in the number of organisations and individuals operating in these environments all serve to add a degree of confusion and potential for discord. However, experience has shown that improved mutual understanding of the roles, mandates, principles, cultures and objectives of the various civil-military stakeholders enhances constructive engagement, dialogue and communication prior to and during deployments. With this dialogue and communication comes greater opportunity to achieve maximum benefits for people and nations affected by natural disasters and conflict. The Australian Civil-Military Centre and the Australian Council for International Development have developed this document, Same Space– Different Mandates: International…

Read More