Implementing the Decisive Action Training Environment

By The Cove August 23, 2020

Army is introducing a new opposing force as part of the Decisive Action Training Environment, commonly known as “DATE”. This will replace the Musorian Forces doctrine which has been used for the past few decades.

DATE will integrate a dynamic free thinking adversary. This will challenge Army to train under conditions of increased uncertainty and chaos that better simulates the real world operating environment.

“DATE is a revolution with the way Army conceptualises the enemy. This will fundamentally change the way we teach combat operations and tactics within Army." 

- COL Cree, FORCOMD Director of Training.

DATE includes the complexities of conventional, hybrid and cyber threats spanning individual and collective training. DATE is designed to enhance battlefield decision making in complex training conditions. DATE is being incorporated in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 19 this year. Elements of 7th Brigade will be using the DATE opposing force TTPs as the first pilot of this new training system, while the 1st Brigade will be fighting this new enemy on their “Road to Ready”. DATE has been developed by the United States Army. It has also been adopted by the Canadian and British Armies as a common training system. As Australia implements DATE, the Army will be able to train in a common scenario with our closest allies. DATE has a message for you, the Australian Army soldier: click here to read an open letter from DATE.



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.


If you reference the DATE adversary capabilities in totality, this construct is in fact late; not premature. Hybrid warfare with an enemy directing his core forces and directing or influencing irregular forces and manipulating criminal elements to his advantage is the present & future for most if not all enemies facing powers such as ABCANZ et al.; that emphasize mass, maneuver, and global force projection. As to "meat on the bone" the Australian Army is being provided access to several databases that will create a robust reality at echelon. DATE easily incorporates opportunities and challenges for maneuver, fires, intelligence, sustainment and many other combat functions requiring them to plan for those impacts. Soldiers and Commanders in combat will be forced to determine what is and how to measure their "right things" in the very next conflict (subjective success). Therefore, they must do so in training. The robust background available inside of DATE allows individual schools' cadre to tailor their enemy force for their purposes with a consistent and escalating narrative leading to capstone events within a given course's curriculum. COIN is no longer a focus but DATE allows it to be kept in currency for forces that may find that environment their primary focus in a future contingency operation. The opposite is true as well though, DATE has resident the means to represent the near peer adversary as well.

Greg. Can you elaborate on what you mean?

I feel like DATE was released prematurely. The concept is excellent and supports our allied partners focus on Unified Land Operations however there is no meat on the bones. It is still unclear on how to fight whichever enemy we select, who decides the enemy we fight and how to provide a measurable way to fight them. How do we determine if we are doing the right thing? Is victory a subjective outcome decided by whoever is leading the training (at this stage someone who would be trained on musorian doctrine)? It just seems that at this stage there is a lot of made up scenarios and the deletion of “MAF” or “Kamarian” and replacing them with “Denovia” or “Atropia” which is not the intent however without anything else to Go by what else can you reference? Not everyone has been on Combat operations and regardless of recent combat experience, COIN is no longer a major focus with the new focus on large scale, peer to peer combat.

It's not the next war

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