Plan Jericho Workshop, Canberra, Australia: The RAAF Focuses on Joint Combat Transformation


08/07/2015: When former Chief of Staff of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) launched Plan Jericho, he underscored that the core opportunity, which the F-35 provided for the RAAF and the Australian defense forces, is opening up an era of continuous transformation.

In his presentation, February 23, 2015 to the CAF seminar held in Melbourne, Brown underscored that:

Today is an important milestone in the history of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Today I want to launch Plan Jericho, which describes the vector that Air Force will pursue on our transformation path towards becoming a 5th Generation enabled Force. The introduction to service of the F-35A Joint Strike fighter opens a new era in the distinguished history of our Air Force.

But Plan Jericho is about much more than the Joint Strike Fighter. Indeed, it is about much more than all of our aircraft and platforms. It is about root and branch transformation. It will affect the way we train; the way we fight; and the way we sustain ourselves. We must transform our relationship with industry to ensure we procure and innovate in alignment with the breathtaking speed at which technological change is occurring in the Information Age.

Clausewitz described war as the ‘true chameleon’, which changes its complexion to conform to its socio-political context. Unsurprisingly, the Information Age has given birth to Information Warfare.

This has implications for a force that has always relied on a technological edge to enhance our combat power.

We understand that our technological edge must also deliver superior situational awareness. We also understand that we must share this situational awareness and operate as an integrated team across the Services, Defence, our national agencies and our coalition partners. This is the only way we win in the information age…..

Modernization is not transformation. And, unless we transform, we will not only fail to exploit the maximum advantages conferred on us by our modern weapons and systems, but we will also risk operational failure in the complex, dynamic and fluid environment of the Information Age.

I really like phrase “The F35 replaces nothing – yet it changes everything.

Each of our new platforms will give us a formidable amount of ISR and lethality. But the real challenge is to link them in real time so that the copious amounts of information they can gather can be available across our entire force. When that happens – and it will – Air Force can truly claim to be ‘system of systems.’

A 5th Generation-enabled force with vastly improved situational awareness and the ability to operate as an integrated team. That must be our goal.


The RAAF considers the F-35 as an entirely new type of aircraft, but its impact comes not simply from being a new type of aircraft but providing enhanced situational awareness, decision-making and spectrum dominance.

And the full value of the plane simply will not come by operating by itself as some sort of silver bullet, but operating in an effective manner with the other new platforms and with legacy systems which are themselves becoming shaped for 21st century operations.

In part, the challenge is to get past the replacement platform mentality.

The core air platforms have been or are being replaced but the task is not simply to learn the new platform and prepare for the next one in a narrowly defined functional area – fighter is a fighter, tanker is a tanker, a lifter is a lifter, an air battle manager is an air battle manger and so on down the 20th century species list – but to shape cross platform capabilities and to reshape how battle management, operations and warfare is conducted.

This is challenging for a small air force, which is already taxed in learning how to operate new platforms, and get them into operations.

The notion of preparing for the introduction of the F-35 and cross platform innovation will be evolved by testing new approaches to using other new platforms and leveraging them as well in new ways PRIOR to the F-35 becoming the dominant fighter in the RAAF.

The Williams Foundation held a one-day workshop in Canberra on RAAF Plan Jericho: Design-Led Innovation.

We will be reporting more on the Workshop as well as publishing several interviews from Australia during the two-week visit to Australia during August 2015.

But what was evident during the workshop was the clear commitment of the new RAAF leadership team of Air Marshal Davies and Air Vice-Marshal McDonald as well as the enthusiastic participation of a wide range of leadership in the RAAF with other service and defense officials participating.

There was significant industrial financial and intellectual support as well, and the dialogue in the afternoon session among the various subgroups where industry, the RAAF and other defense officials discussed how to make the Plan Jericho approach work, was really quite amazing. A

As one US defense industrial participant put it: “I really wish we could have such an open dialogue about transformation in the United States with our own forces.”

The morning session was an open one where former Air Vice Marshal John Blackburn, one of the key stalwarts of the Plan Jericho effort, introduced the session.

The new head of the RAAF, Air Marshal Leo Davies, made the opening presentation.

Davies focused on the central role of the human element making an across the board transformation effort possible.

Through sound force planning and sustained support from successive Australian Governments, we are in the process of modernizing our fleet. By 2025 the RAAF will be one of the most potent and balanced Air Forces in the world.

Jericho is designed to ensure that we achieve the synergies offered by that sophisticated array of platforms. But if we are to match the rhetoric about being a ‘force by design’ and a ‘system of systems’ then we really must be innovative and adaptive in key areas.

We need to truly empower our work force. Real innovation depends on people. And I mean airmen and women – not just industry research and development partners and DSTO scientists. We must encourage ‘bottom up’ innovation.

To enable this we must become an employer of choice in a very tough employment market where it will be difficult to match the salaries and conditions available to the highly skilled people we will need.

That is especially so in the areas of space and cyber; where revolutionary change is occurring in cycles of months not years. And I intend to stand up a distinct squadron that supports the joint approach to cyber.

Air Marshal Davies Williams Jericho Opening Address

We will focus in later pieces on the important role which putting Wedgetail and the KC-30A into operation and how the RAAF did so has played in laying down a foundation for shaping the way ahead.

Also, the experiences in the current Middle East operation are driving practical changes along the Plan Jericho route, a subject that will also be addressed in a future piece.

The next presentation was by Lt. General Jeff Lofgren, who is now the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Transformation Command in Norfolk, but spoke to the group on the basis of his time as well as head of the Warfare Center at Nellis. From this perspective, he discussed the challenge of preparing to fight in an extended battlespace and the importance of training with new systems like Live Virtual Constructive Training to prepare for mission success.

The next two presentations came from industry.

Steve Justice from Lockheed Martin’s skunk works discussed what he called the DNA of innovation, and how to shape successful paths to innovation.

Then Paul Geery and Shane Arnott from Boeing Defense, Space and Security provide a perspective from the Phantom Works perspective on ways to meet the challenge of innovation.

The afternoon closed workshop, which was governed by Chatham House rules, was introduced by Air Vice-Marshal Warren McDonald.

The Plan Jericho team reports directly to him and to Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull, Air Commander Australia. We have interviews with both of these leaders who discuss how they see the way ahead for the RAAF and Plan Jericho.

The co-heads of Plan Jericho, Group Captain Rob Chipman and Group Captain Jake Campbell then briefed the group on key elements of what they saw as necessary for Plan Jericho success and focused particularly on the industrial partnering part of the effort.

The asked sequentially four questions, which the various subgroups then discussed, and were then reported back to the full working group.

  • What do you think Australia does really well when it comes to innovation? Where should defense industries and academics focus their innovation efforts?
  • Where and when can we bring defend together with industry and accademics to innovate?
  • What would a “first principles” system fostering innovation into defense capability look like?
  • How do we change behavior between defense, industry and science and acameidda to enable best practices?

In short, the workshop took some hard looks at how to maximize success in shaping a more capable integrated and better-enabled 21st century combat force.


Program of Work

 The slideshow provides photos of the events of the day in the sequence described

Credit Photos: Second Line of Defense

For articles on Live Virtual Constructive Training see the following:

For additional articles on the Plan Jericho approach see the following:


06/07/2015: Senior Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel today toured an Air Force C-17A Globemaster in Canberra fitted with a new advanced satellite communication and imagery display system for its crew and passengers – an outcome of Air Force’s Plan Jericho.

The newly-installed system was used to stream full motion video on large screens in the aircraft from a Heron remotely piloted Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operating 2000km away over Woomera Test Range in South Australia.

The demonstration was an opportunity to highlight an outcome of Plan Jericho, which is the plan to transform Air Force and the wider ADF into a fighting force that capitalizes on the high technology systems that are being introduced over the next few years.

Plan Jericho will look at all aspects of ADF operations and support – systems, command and control, training, simulation, organizational structure and trade groups to ensure Air Force.