Along the path of training modernisation

By Ben Kreis January 13, 2021

Modernisation of the fighting force has never been more important than it is today. The Defence Strategic Update highlights that ‘our environment is now more complex, with Australian interests being more directly challenged than in the past’.(1) The threats and challenges that manifest from this complex environment require a more advanced, capable, self-reliant and Future Ready Defence Force.

Modernisation of the fighting force is reliant on the delivery of high quality individual and collective training, and this dependency permeates direction provided throughout Defence. Within the Defence Intelligence Enterprise, the recently established Defence Intelligence Group (DIG) has reinforced the need for a well-trained and Future Ready intelligence workforce.(2) Within the Defence Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Enterprise, this message is emphasised in the Defence GEOINT Strategy 2030, which clearly articulates the requirements to drive continuous innovation and train and sustain an expert GEOINT workforce.(3)

The importance of training in meeting current and future Defence missions is further emphasised at the Service level, within the Army’s Training Transformation Program Strategy, released in March 2020.

“The purpose of this strategy is to provide the direction for Army and its partners to transform to a Future Ready training system. It sets the conditions to contest ideas, to invest in change, to introduce new concepts and capabilities, to sustain excellence in the system and to simplify policies, procedures and practice.” (4)

The strategy seeks to achieve its end state by establishing principles and objectives that encourage innovation and flexibility in training. At the Geospatial Intelligence Wing (GIW) of the Defence Force School of Intelligence (DFSI), modest steps are being taken to develop a more innovative and flexible approach to geospatial and multimedia training to ensure graduates are Future Ready.

GIW provides training to Army and Navy geospatial professionals and Army multimedia professionals. This training is technical in nature and requires an interconnected system of capable instructors, adaptable learning materials, integrated training networks, powerful hardware, and complex software. The reliance on evolving hardware and software requires an ability to adapt training to ‘best practice’. More than that though, our people require training that prepares them to be innovative and adaptive in the workplace and meet future challenges head on.

The requirement to adapt to changes in software has recently been illustrated through the introduction of ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Enterprise training. This training is being implemented in a staged manner and in close consultation with Army Headquarters to ensure the introduction of the training is synchronised with the introduction of the software across the force. The uptake of this software suite, enabled by contemporary training, will see a more capable Defence GEOINT Enterprise in the future.

As with all military professionals, geospatial and multimedia professionals require flexible training and education options, particularly during periods of high operational tempo or unforeseen restrictions. This is being achieved at GIW, and across Defence, through the delivery of training by distance. In 2020, a multimedia promotion course was delivered entirely by distance through innovative engagement with an external registered training organisation and the employment of multiple communication mediums.

Engagement with external training organisations has not only supported the delivery of training by distance but it has also enabled the modernisation of highly technical training, including programming language training. In 2020, under a training transformation initiative, an external training provider was engaged to provide industry standard scripting training to trainees on a geospatial promotion course. This training provided a strong baseline for all participants and, with some further customisation, it will continue to provide invaluable skills and knowledge for the trained force. Scripting, and the automation it enables, will become increasingly important for a Future Ready force.

Scripting is one of numerous sub-disciplines that exist within the geospatial and multimedia trades. Sub-disciplines provide opportunities for training modularisation, which is achieved through the detailed analysis of learning management packages and continual development of learning materials.  Effective modularisation not only simplifies the delivery of training but also provides a more flexible structure, in-line with Chief of Army's intent for the Future Ready training system. Furthermore, a modular approach to training can provide additional distance training opportunities in the future, through the design of specific modules to facilitate distance delivery.  

Within the geospatial trade, the modularisation of training also provides excellent rationalised joint training opportunities for Navy and Air Force members that require fundamental geospatial skills and knowledge but cannot be released for a six month course. As evidenced across the Defence Command Support Training Centre and DFSI, rationalised joint training is greatly enhanced by a joint instructional cohort. At GIW, the establishment of a Navy instructor position and the modernisation of foundation geospatial training is intended to set the conditions for the future development and implementation of a Joint GEOINT Fundamentals Course, which will advance an enterprise approach to training and better align with a Future Ready training system.

As emphasised in the Army’s Training Transformation Program Strategy, a Future Ready force requires a Future Ready training system. All members of Defence, whether an instructor at a school or a section commander at an operational unit, have a role to play in modernising training across Army and the joint force to ensure it not only meets current demands but also the demands of tomorrow.


End Notes

1. 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan

2. Joint Directive 17/2020 by the Chief of the Defence Force and Secretary, Department of Defence - Establishment of the Chief of Defence Intelligence and Defence Intelligence Group

3. Defence GEOINT 2030 - A Strategy For Defence’s GEOINT Capability

4. Army Training Transformation Program Strategy - March 2020



Ben Kreis


Ben Kreis is an AUSTINT Officer, currently the Senior Instructor at the Geospatial Intelligence Wing of the Defence Force School of Intelligence.


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.

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