The Williams Foundation Seminar on Fifth Generation Manoeuvre Requirements: Looking Ahead


By Robbin Laird

A week after the completion of the October 24, 2019 Williams Foundation Seminar, I had a chance to talk with Air Marshal (Retired) Geoff Brown about the main findings from the Seminar and the way ahead for the Seminar series.

Question: What do you consider the main findings from the seminar?

Air Marshal (Retired) Geoff Brown: We looked at how one could achieve fifth generation manoeuvre and one of the key issues is how the industrial working relationship could best support these efforts.

One of the key ideas was linking the industrial labs together in order to achieve better force integration development and support. And to get industry involved earlier in the process of building programs.

There are many key issues to work out but it is clearly important to shape a more effective collaborative working set of arrangements to get the kind of integrated force which we need.

Another key takeaway is that we already have a command operating as an integrated force which allows us to maximize our influence.

The Maritime Border Command has been able to achieve the kind of inter-agency cooperation which gives you the kind of capability which you want to have to maximize your effectiveness and enhance the probably of a good result.

Question: Where do we go from here?

Air Marshal (Retired) Geoff Brown: We need to relook at how we can integrate manned and unmanned platforms into integrated operations.

With our manpower limitations, we clearly need to find effective ways to incorporate remotes into the combat force.

And for the seminar after that we are looking to focus on cyber operations, and to do so from the standpoint of their integration into the ADF, not simply just as a specialized skill set.

We need to look at the incorporation of cyber into operations rather than as a stove piped activity dominated by the intelligence community.

We then discussed various case studies which might be the best way to get at the manned-unmanned teaming efforts.

Clearly, there are two key areas where the ADF is focused.

The first is the loyal wingman for the Air Force, and maritime remotes for the Navy.

Both might prove to be good areas for further exploration at the next seminar.

See the following as well:

The Australian Approach to Developing and Deploying Remotes Systems in the Maritime Environment: The Perspective of Cmdr. Paul Hornsby

The Integrated Distributed Force and Maritime Operations

The Future is Now: The RAAF & Boeing Australia Build F-35’s Unmanned Wingman