Head of Corps
There is a lot going on within the Army. There's a lot of change, and a lot of effort to modernise our organisation, with billions of dollars of investment in Land 400, Land 121, Plan Beersheba, the development of our amphibious capability, and increased lethality. As a Corps, we need to be thinking about, and be clear about, our response to this period of change!
RASigs is central to Army's goal of becoming a 5th Generation Army. This is especially the case given that digitisation is our Chief of Army's modernisation main effort. So as a Corps, we need to be very clear about our value proposition to Army, to the ADF, and to the nation, and be very clear about what it is that we do, that others can't!
Last time Army was subject to significant change, we introduced ASLAV, PARAKEET, DDSN, DDRN, Soldier Combat Systems, we moved 1 Brigade to Darwin, and dramatically increased readiness across the force. For RASigs that meant the amalgamation of some trades, the abolishment of other trades, the ` proliferation of RASigs personnel into combat units, the disestablishment of three Signal Regiments, and the creation of Combat Signal Regiments in each of the combat brigades.
Achieving that change was hard! This next period of change will also be hard as we seek to address information management, cyberspace operations, increased ISR and networking, big data, and many other technological challenges, all amidst a period of enduring operational tempo.
To bring structure to our response, late last year we began work on the Corps Strategic Plan. The key outcome of this work is the End-to-End Capability Review that will define the enduring functions of the Corps. This work will set the basis for the next Employment Category Review ( ECR) and a whole-of-Corps unit establishment review (UER).
The End-to-End Capability Review is almost complete, and I expect the support of the entire Corps to present the outcomes of the review in a single coherent voice! I mention that because I consider that the key risk to the future of the Corps is inconsistent messaging. As a Corps, we've never been good at consistent messaging, and I have often wondered if that's how Army came to have an Israeli BMS, working through US radios, attempting to share information with French helicopters that have a proprietary data system. As a Corps, we are about to get very good at speaking with a single voice!
In the meantime, I encourage all of you to:
1. Always be conscious of the threat posed by an adversary and consider designing networks and mission systems in a manner that minimises friendly vulnerabilities and optimises the ability to attack the adversary's vulnerabilities.
2. Don't conflate cyber offence, cyber defence, and cyber self-defence.
3. Resist the urge to pre-empt the RASigs trade model of the future. Let the ECR run its course.
4. Continue to ensure that RASigs modernisation remains in lock-step with Army's modernisation efforts.
5. Don't conflate the physical signature of our deployable headquarters with their electronic signature.
I am very confident that the Corps is in great shape, and I am equally confident that the future of the Corps is bright. We are well postured to seize the opportunity that is ahead of us over the next few years.
"Good Soldiering, Certa Cito"
Deputy Head of Corps
2016 has been an extremely busy year across Army and especially for the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. Our Corps is at the forefront of Army's modernisation and our personnel continue to provide excellent support across the full range of signals tasks in an environment of continual change.
Change continues to be the hallmark of service within RA Sigs. Major capital programs are delivering equipment and the years ahead look to be truly exciting as Army continues down the path of digitisation. Never before has the Corps faced so much change, and while these projects will deliver much equipment, it is the modernisation of the RA Sigs workforce that will truly deliver capability to meet Army's future signals requirements.
The year has seen many major achievements and kicked off with the RASigs Unit Establishment Reviews. Our own internal RA Sigs End to End Review has almost concluded and will support the upcoming Employment Category Review. Exercise Hamel was a significant exercise for the Corps with both 1 and 7 Combat Signals Regiments, and 7 Signal Regiment central in the exercise conduct and outcome. 145 Signal Squadron provided excellent support to the enabling brigades while 136 and 138 Signal Squadrons supported solid tactical interfaces. Across the year the Special Operations Signals community has been busy with training and operational serials. Our Corps has never been more relevant as the benefits and challenges of Army's digitisation are realised.
On the training front it has been equally as busy. Two major training periods for 8 Signal Regiment personnel have provided robust signals training, and major steps are underway to bring the Subject Four continua to the student in home locations. Significant modernisation has occurred in all trades and the Defence Advanced Signals Operations Course continues to impress at the highest levels of the organisation.
In August, the Defence Force School of Signals hosted the Corps Capability Conference. Defence Papers from across the Corps addressed many contemporary issues that continue to require innovative solutions. The need for continual change was evident across all topics presented. The key address for the conference was provided by Commander 7 Brigade, Brigadier Rawlins. His thoughts on the Electromagnetic Spectrum being the new contested domain that manoeuvre commanders must consider were enlightening.
Who could forget the outstanding effort on display in the disciplines of running and rugby at the celebrations for Corps Week in Cabarlah? The team from the Defence Force School of Signals were remarkable in their efforts winning the Caduceus Cup a lap ahead of the 1st Signal Regiment. 7 Signal Regiment won the Athena Cup and the Grecian Trophy with 145 Signal Squadron winning the Commandant's Trophy in the contest for minor units. In the Rugby, 7 Combat Signals Regiment won the men's contest with 7 Signal Regiment winning the women's cup. The esprit de corps on display was fantastic. Congratulations and thanks must go all those personnel from 7 Signal Regiment who hosted a wonderful celebration.
As the year draws to a close, it is important to acknowledge the excellent work of those personnel of the Corps deployed on operations who will spend time away from families and friends during the festive season. We wish them and their families all the best at this significant time.
I wish to extend my congratulations to the incoming Commanding Officers of the Corps - Lieutenant Colonels Daven Pettersen, Blaydon Morris and Adam Strickland. To my successor Lieutenant Colonel Adam Strickland, I wish all the best in the roles of Deputy Head of Corps and Commanding Officer of the Defence Force School of Signals.
As RSM of DFSS I inherit the position of Corps RSM. As such I could tell you about the next ceremonial activity, or the next Regimental Parade for DFSS, but I would prefer to socialise a couple of things that are perhaps not well known in the wider chook community.
I wanted to publicise an initiative from DFSS for the construction of a memorial garden to recognise those members of the Corps who have died while serving in the ADF. With the assistance of the RASigs wider community and linked to the DFSS redevelopment project a memorial garden, including a memorial wall will be constructed adjacent to the DFSS parade ground. While the final design is yet to finalised, the intent is to create an inclusive memorial recognising all members of the Corps who were serving at the time of their death, regardless of the cause. Whilst this may result in topical conversation, there are memorials dedicated to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on operations, this is simply designed to be inclusive and identify those who were serving as members of the Corps at the time of their death.
The Corps is now recognising the Signaller and Lieutenant of the year, formally acknowledging outstanding contribution to the Corps by junior personnel. 2016 was the first year of the presentation of the awards and I was surprised at the large number of nominations but impressed by the quality of those soldiers and officers being nominated. During Corps Week, Head of Corps presented the inaugural awards to LT G Brennan of 3 CSR and SIG M Koubaroulis of 7 CSR. Congratulations to these members.
I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the great work done by the staff at DFSS. At the start of his command, the Commanding Officer, LTCOL Limmer, provided the direction that all members were to be innovative. As such DFSS has undergone a great deal of change. In particular the method of delivery of training, the strive for students to spend less time at DFSS and more time at home and the common field exercise have kept all staff at DFSS busy whilst continue to deliver quality training. All staff at DFSS deserve recognition for a job well done.
On a final note, I would like to mention the members leaving the Corps after many years of service. WO1 Rhys Lonergan, WO1 John Montgomery, WO2 Paul Honeycombe, WO2 Tracy Baido and WO2 Sue Harris are all moving on, on behalf of all members of RASigs, congratulations and thankyou on your service to the Corps and our country.
As year comes to an end, I would like to pay my respects to the current Commanding Officer LTCOL D Limmer on his appointment to DOCM, and acknowledge the oncoming Commanding Officer LTCOL Strickland.
To all members, have a safe break over the new years, I'll see you around the Corps in 2017.