Defence & Security

Enhanced military training environments within a complex security landscape | an interview with Brigadier Mark Brewer

24 Sep 2018, by Amy Sarcevic

“We will need to train differently,” Brigadier Mark Brewer, said ahead of the ADM Northern Australia Defence Summit. “The continued diffusion of lethal capabilities to non-state-actors, rising state-on-state tensions, combined with ongoing threat of terrorism create a very complex security environment both now and into the future.”

Against this is the accelerating pace of technological change and the need to integrate cyber, information, space and autonomous capabilities into military operations.

“The traditional approach of training focused on the land, sea and air domains will need to remain at our core, but we need to establish training areas that enable preparing forces for the security challenges ahead with emerging capabilities,” BRIG Brewer added.

“We can only do this if we integrate synthetic and live training more deeply and integrate the systems required to generate a rich and complex training environment with our landscape in new ways.”

Brigadier Brewer leads both bilateral initiatives with the US and Singapore which serve to enhance interoperability between key partners.

The US Force Posture Initiative (USFPI) sits within Australia’s deep military relationship with the US. Through its Marine Rotational Force – Darwin and Enhanced Air Cooperation initiatives, the USFPI is expanding the types of bilateral activities the Australian Defence Force (ADF) conducts with its US counterparts; as well as developing facilities to improve interoperability between the two nations.

The Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI) provides enhanced access for Singapore to train in Australia. It sits within the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Australia and Singapore and a long-standing, close, bilateral military relationship. Under ASMTI, Australia and Singapore will jointly develop demanding military training areas which integrate space, cyber and information domains with autonomous systems.

“Globally, we continue to see accelerating advancements in the area of digitization and technological innovation,” BRIG Brewer said. “The enhancement of Defence training areas remain vital for future capability of the ADF, and the new capabilities and platforms coming online over the next decade”.

“We need to look past the earthworks, cement and steel that have typified our range developments towards networks and systems integration – that is the approach that will see us through the next three to four decades”.

“Procuring large land spaces and setting up few firing ranges, camp accommodation and basic urban facilities like the way it’s been done in the past – won’t allow us to prepare for the challenges of the future,” BRIG Brewer said.

“Programs such as Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Land 400, Land 200, and the range of Navy programs combined with our expanded use of unmanned vehicles in all domains – all of these will give us a new view of the battlespace”.

“The opportunity for us to build capability relies on us incorporating these new systems and platforms into our joint force, with our key partners and training hard in the most demanding environment possible”.

“We will continue to look at how we can best stitch live training with simulation and constructive environments together in such a way that the force undergoing training whether that is the ADF the Singapore Armed Forces or our US partners can’t identify the seams”.

“We don’t have all of the answers and we are looking for to engage with industry to better understand what is possible,” BRIG Brewer explained.

Both initiatives focus on Northern Australia and offer real opportunities for regional communities to grow and diversify their local economies.

“We want to explain our training approach, so these communities look beyond land acquisition and the up-front construction activities to the real opportunities to engage with cutting edge technology in the decades ahead,” BRIG Brewer concluded.

Presenting at the ADM Northern Australia Defence Summit, BRIG Brewer will outline the ADFs approach for developing USFPI and ASMTI, as well as discussing what the ADF’s commitment means to the local economy and communities in each region.

Learn more and register.

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