Page 204 - Australian Defence Magazine September 2018
P. 204

With his feet barely under his new desk, Chief of Army LTGEN Rick Burr spoke to ADM Managing Editor Katherine Ziesing about the Army he’s to lead for the next four years. From capability to culture, LTGEN Burr commands an Army of 45,000 people across the nation through an increasingly challenging and complex strategic environment.
LTGEN Rick Burr
Chief of Army Deputy Chief of Army
Deputy Commanding General – US Army-Pacific
Director General Military Strategic Commitments
Commander Special Operations Forces, International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan
Senior Advisor, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
Director of Force Structure – Army
Commanding Officer Special Air Service Regiment
Commander Australian Special Forces Task Group, Iraq
Commander Australian Special Forces Task Group, Afghanistan
Student, School of Advanced Warfighting, Quantico, US
Squadron Commander, Special Air Service Regiment
Staff Cadet, Royal Military College Duntroon
ADM: In your opening statement when you took on the top job as Chief of Army (see box on later pages for full speech) you said that the Australian Army is an ‘Army in motion’. What does that mean? BURR: Let me start by saying that the Army I am now responsible for is in great shape and I credit it to the people in our Army today and our predecessors for their commitment and importantly, their lead- ership. It’s a great Army.
It’s in great shape but in order to re- main that way, we must always be chang- ing, always ready to adapt to our ever changing context. There’s always more to do.
So I use this term to promote a model and mindset that makes us think about ourselves in the context of emerging threats, a dynamic strategic environ- ment, changes in technology, govern- ment direction and resourcing.
We should always be responding to that, ideally in a proactive way. So we came up with a framework of ‘Army in Motion’ with four supporting command themes (Preparedness, People, Profession and Po- tential) and then link that to a forthcom- ing Army Futures statement. This will talk about the emerging future operating envi- ronment within which we see ourselves having to operate.
That then feeds into how we need to focus our contribution to strategy and recommendations for future defence investment.
ADM: Moving to the capability side of the house, Army’s battle management system; how is that performing at the moment? Are you happy with its perfor- mance?
BURR: We have a world leading battle management system. It is going very well, as we most recently displayed on Exercise Hamel (see P74 for more on this), which continues to be a tremendous Army-led joint exercise up in Queensland at Shoal- water Bay. We gave the battle manage- ment system a really good run this year and it is fundamentally changing the way that we operate.
Obviously it’s the first of many steps in fully transforming Army from an analogue system to a modern digitised and networked force. We still have more to do, it needs to continue to be rolled out across Army more broadly but it is giving us a strong sense of what it takes to effectively operate as a net- worked, digitised force.
This year on Exercise Hamel we con- nected our Battle Management Systems right through our divisional headquar- ters, the Joint Task Force headquarters right down to combat team level via the Brigade, Battle Group and Combat team command nodes.
We also operated our networked sys- tems afloat, with a seamless link to the LHD (HMAS Canberra) as well as right across the amphibious joint task force.
So we really have created a very strong network of connectivity and that’s al- lowing us to operate in a much more connected way to make decisions better and faster. That’s a good place to be but there is always more to do as we roll it out more broadly across Army and the Joint Force.
ADM: Are there any shortcomings in the current system that you’re con- cerned about?
BURR: Not that we can’t work through. We have confidence in the system and that we can get where we need to be in the future.
Continued on page 188
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