Australian Defense Force and Whole of Government Operations Term Paper

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Australian Defense Force and Whole of Government Operations

Has the Australian Defense Force (ADF) "broken the code" to successful integration of joint-interagency support during the conduct of military operations?Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Australian Defense Force and Whole of Government Operations Assignment

Following the end of Australian involvement in the Vietnam War a decision was made by the Government of Australia to reorganize the department supporting the military services, which included the Army, Navy and Air Force, which recommended the unification into one single Department of Defense. These recommendations were accepted by the government and the Australian Defense Force (ADF) was formed on February 9, 1976. Over the course of the next thirty years the ADF would continually redefine its role and how it interacts with supporting government agencies in the conduct of military operation. The contemporary security situation that exists today cannot be compared to the Cold War paradigm of the past that formed the parameters for military operations and interaction with foreign governments. The target set that presents itself is entirely new with added complexities that military forces neither trained, nor were expected to perform in the course of normal operations. A better understanding of the regional security situation at an earlier stage enabled the ADF to be prepared for the 21st century prior to others. Interaction with all aspects of government sooner in an officer's career has significant impact on the ability to work in and out of government circles. Operations in the Solomon Islands, East Timor and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq have served to showcase the ability of Australia to conduct military ventures with a joint-interagency approach far surpassing its nearest ally. This "whole of government approach" (WOG) that the Australian's utilize appears close to mastery with the recent successes over the spectrum of conflict in their region and globally. In the complex security situation of the 21st century the world finds itself immersed in politics as much as war upon the onset of conflict, so much that the acronym PMESII (political, military, economic, social, information and infrastructure) has been developed by the U.S. military to aid in planning and executive and to provide a greater awareness of its role in the conduct of military operations. Australia's tri-service attitude and depth and breadth of knowledge across government bears further attention and might hold a glimpse of the future of U.S. military action.


The Australian Defense Force has developed a keen sense for joint interagency operations since reorganizing as one multi-capable tri-service after 1976, serving as a model for western militaries seeking a whole of government approach in the security situation of the 21st century. Further analysis will inform and define what brought about this radical change in the ADF and what direction it will take in future joint interagency operations.


The intent of this monograph is to inform the reader through the most practical and simple means of explanation available. Complexities will be spared where they only serve to confuse the reader and care taken to ensure that the issue of the ADF's ability to work across the PMESII spectrum is fully analyzed. The approach will look historically over past operations and recent ones to showcase examples of Australian interagency efforts from the Solomon's to Iraq. The Australian Defense Force's (ADF) involvement, over the period 1993 to 2006, in a range of operations and aspects of conventional conflict and the ADF's whole of government (WOG) approach is analyzed in what follows. During this time the ADF saw activity in the following: Operation Solace (1993) Somalia; Operation Lagoon (September-October 1994) Bougainville; Truce Monitoring Group (TMG) and Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) Bougainville (1997-2001); International Force East Timor (INTERFET) and United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) (1999-2002); Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (2001-2006); and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2006). What makes these operations unique is the stated fact by the Australian Government for the continued and increased "Whole of Government" approach to the conduct of military operations. For the purpose of this monograph only three of these operations will be looked at in an attempt to analyze and estimate the effectiveness of the operation and reasons tied to the success of the ADF's WOG approach. The rationale for this approach will allow the reader to gain insight into the inner workings of how the ADF is founded with a close relationship to government that begins in the early stages of an Australian officer's career and continues ascendancy of rank and promotion. The operations chosen cover a recent time period of exceptionally high operating tempo for Australia's forces. There are numerous government white papers and pamphlets produced on the subject of military operations and governance, as well as numerous studies of each of the proposed operations that will be researched. Thorough examination of the success and failure in the Australian Defense Force's whole of government operations will give an indication of what is required for success in future operations as well as potential indicators of success that may well be leveraged by allied forces in the future conduct of operations in the contemporary security situation f the 21st century and beyond.


The origin and geographical setting of Australia "has strongly influenced its defense policy since Australian Federal in 1901. From 1901 until 1942 and again from 1945 to 1969, the defense policy was known as the Imperial and later the Commonwealth Defense Strategy." (Swinsburg, 2001) it is related that during this period "Australia maintained a small inlay part-time defense force designed for the land defense of Australia. The Australian Navy in contrast was integrated into the Royal Navy mobilization plans in a global role." (Swinsburg, 2001) the Royal Navy was relied upon by Australia for global and regional protection. The ground forces in Australia "were structured to be mobilized in an adhoc fashion, to prevent expeditionary forces deployed in support of a larger commonwealth force under British control." (Swinsburg, 2001) According to Major Philip R. Swinsburg in the work entitled: "The Strategic Planning Process and the Need for Grand Strategy": "Grand strategy is the process 'by which the nation's basic goals are realized in a world of conflicting goals and values. The ends of grand strategy are usually expressed in terms of national interests. The role of the strategy process is to translate those national interests into means for achieving those ends." (Swinsburg, 2001) According to Swinsburg the ADF defines national or grand strategy as "the art and science of developing and using the political, economic, and psychological powers of a nation, together with its armed forces, during peace and war, to secure national objectives." (2001) Swinsburg relates that "the means of achieving national interests are those elements of national power commonly referred to as Diplomacy, Information, Military and Economic (DIME) capabilities." (2001)

Swinsburg relates the statement of Collins in the work entitled: "Grand Strategy: Principles and Practices" who states the definition of grand strategy to be something which:

fuses all the powers of the nation, during peace as well as war, to attain national interests and objectives. Within that context, there is an over-all political strategy, both foreign and domestic; a national military strategy, and so on. Each component influences national security immediately or tangentially." (Collins, 1973; as cited in Swinsburg, 2001)

Swinsburg relates that: "The changing strategic environment in Australia's near and immediate neighborhood, as well as those areas where Australia's economic interest lie continues to evolve. Any strategic plan must therefore be flexible and accept change." (2001) Swinsburg additionally states: "The SPS needs to develop a process of strategy formation that accommodates both deliberate and emergent strategies. A strategy for the protection of Australia is well developed in the defense of Australian concept." (2001) Swinsburg states: "...few if any, strategies can be purely deliberate, and few can be purely emergent. One suggests no learning and the other suggests no control. All real world strategies need to mix these in some way to attempt to control, without stopping the learning process. Effective strategies need to mix both the intended and emergent strategies to have any real expectation of having them realized. " (2001)


The work entitled: "A Military Perspective on Civil-Military Cooperation in the War Against Terror" presented by General Peter Cosgrove" in an Address to the Fulbright Symposium July 5, 2004 relates: "Since the end of the Cold War we have faced a new security paradigm that includes many non-state players. Our environment is now characterized by a complicated web of interconnected threats and vulnerabilities including traditional state-on-state tensions, and also including amorphous groups of rogue states, terrorist organizations and trans-national criminals." (Cosgrove, 2005) Cosgrove states additionally that: "If necessary, military forces have a clear role to play at what I call the hard end of the spectrum of response. Military Forces quite rightly provide capability to kill and destroy an enemy on behalf of our nation if required. That is part of our professional job. However that part itself should be the option of last recourse for our forces." (2005)

Cosgrove states that while the Australian… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Australian Defense Force and Whole of Government Operations.  (2007, December 8).  Retrieved August 1, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Australian Defense Force and Whole of Government Operations."  8 December 2007.  Web.  1 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Australian Defense Force and Whole of Government Operations."  December 8, 2007.  Accessed August 1, 2021.