Multiple challenges are coming fast and simultaneously creating a future operational environment of unprecedented complexity. For example:

  • Climate change,
  • Great power politics,
  • The rise of China, 
  • A resurgent Russia, 
  • An unpredictable North Korea 

Moreover, Western Liberalism is undergoing a period of self-doubt and self-destruction and the race to militarise robotics, artificial intelligence, and a host of other advanced technologies has begun. Consequently, the Government may call upon the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to perform a variety of missions in numerous locations under greatly differing conditions and quite likely at the same time.

To encourage consideration of this more active and demanding future, and to promote debate on the force’s capabilities and gaps, the Australian Defence Force’s Service Study Centres (The Sea Power Centre Australia, the Australian Army Research Centre and the Air Power Development Centre) came together in 2019 to focus on just one aspect of how to achieve success in the coming more disruptive future: the advantages obtained by being able to deploy, apply and sustain military force with speed. 

The aim of the conference was to examine the experiences and requirements of rapid operational deployment and in doing so, identify where there might be gaps in the ADF’s existing capability that might reduce Australia’s responsiveness to potentially acute situations. These proceedings are the first outcome of this discussion.