Recent operations have distracted the Army from being best postured for regional engagement.1 As the Afghanistan commitment winds down, the Army will need to overcome this neglect by shifting its primary focus to regional priorities, where geographic determinants and great power dynamics will feature. The maturation of defence infrastructure and capability projects dating back to the 1980s, coupled with capabilities entering service soon, means that the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and the Army in particular, has a strong foundation from which to refocus on engagement with regional forces, albeit with some exceptions. For instance, recent operations have demonstrated the need for sound intelligence support and a pool of language-trained and culturally-aware personnel, but regionally-oriented skills in these areas have atrophied. Beyond maintaining broad capabilities for a wide range of contingencies, the key to ensuring the Army‟s successful reorientation will be a regionally-focused reinvestment in intelligence, language and culture skills.
|Published - 2011