ALTC Fiction Competition - Supporting the Australian Security AgencyBy Mark Baldock October 25, 2018
The Australian Defence Force is modernising rapidly. Emerging technologies and operating methods present a range of opportunities to significantly enhance capability. To ensure this modern force is appropriately sustained into the future, the ADF’s logistics capabilities cannot afford to be left behind. The Army Logistic Training Centre Fiction Competition encouraged writers and multimedia artists to visualise the future of logistics in the 2025 - 2040 timeframe.
After almost a decade of UN sanctions against them, a failing nuclear state sells three nuclear warheads to an international terrorist group in 2024 with an intent to strike the sitting nations of the UN Security Council. Two warheads were intercepted while in sea transit by China and Indonesia. The third warhead was never found until it was detonated in a remote region of Russia in 2027, killing a few thousand Russian Citizens.
Pre-prepared social media posts are immediately released, blaming the west for the attack and a new cold war begins. Public opinion is immediately aired across the internet in a manner dependant on which side can saturate the most propaganda. In the West, elected leaders susceptible to social media influence have become risk adverse towards publicly displaying the strong leadership attributes required during a cold-war. This is negatively impacting on public opinion of Western Security Agencies. In Australia, Defence spending is increased, but it is not publicly discussed due to a growing pressure on the health, welfare and education systems.
It is now 2032. Late 21st current emerging technologies have been perfected and widely introduced into first world security agencies. This includes integrated battlefield management and targeting systems; additive manufacturing; autonomous land, sea and air vehicles; human performance enhancements; and renewable energy and field power systems. Third world countries and non-state actors have invested heavily in improvised explosive devises (IED), explosively formed projectiles (EFP), unmanned aerial systems (UAS) swarms and close range commercial off the shelf jamming technology. Issue motivated groups have perfected the art of social media.
First world nations are seeking to remove humans from the battlefield where possible. Early attempts to use autonomous systems from afar have been defeated by close range off the shelf electronic attack componentry, hence humans retain a C2 function in close combat. Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations are increasing as global warming impacts the earth. Security agencies have to posture for war whilst responding to increasing weather events. Counterinsurgency, anti-terrorism and anti-piracy remains a conflicting posture requirement.
Twitter is cool again after Insta and Snapchat were closed down in 2027 due to a spate of photo shopped meme attacks against POTUS – President Bieber. In 2029, a fifty word limit was introduced with a one tweet a day limit to preserve bandwidth after world-wide internet blackouts.
Facebook is so 2019
Emoji’s are for the millennials (over 30’s).
People seem to be allowed to tweet about anything…….even classified matters……
Distribution Specialist Training
Day 14 of distribution training. We got our Internet privileges today. Oh hey mum, I am still alive! I am not at Kapooka anymore, which is a good thing. I will tweet regularly. Love you all, except you @spunkysteve2015…….stay out of my room.
We had our first virtual reality warehouse training session today. My 15 plus years of Xbox mastery has not paid off. After walking into a virtual reality rotating compactus (they are real on the ground), I realised that the VR simply shows us how to monitor the autonomous warehouse systems.
We have spent the past few days learning the fail safes and overrides for the automated picker stacker checker (APSC). This is the bad boy that completes all receipts, issues and stocktakes. The warehouse manager is so old that he had to do this manually through something called SAP!
The course has been full on as we dash between classrooms, computer rooms and the simulation centre. 90% of our training will be simulator based, noting that most of our systems are remotely controlled or autonomous. I haven’t seen tech like this anywhere…..
Today was the end of our first training block. The prize for passing was leave for ANZAC Day. Albury Returned Services Club, here I come. I can proudly say that I am a qualified automatic warehouse attendant. Time for a celebratory beer….
Ah Monday…my favourite day. We started our tactical distribution coordination module today. I have been looking forward to this. Keen to get my hands on some big boys toys. Especially the HX77 UGV and its remotely operated stabilised rail gun…that looks sick!
OMG!!! How much sim do we have to do? According to our Training Sergeant Major, over 200 hours on the simulator before we can touch the real thing in the close training area. That is 200 hours each for both driving and weapons….this is a drag.
Crashed a sim 40M unmanned ground vehicle UGV today goofing off. My punishment is a further 100 hours of sim driver training as well as a stint in the mess garbage recycler. Between the stench and the post court room face ripping by the Company Sergeant Major (CSM), I know where I stand.
After my charge I have become a model student. The Officer commanding told me how impressed she was with my turn around. Apparently I was close to being transferred to the unmanned ground & aerial vehicle (UG&AV) recovery trade: those who go forward to recover UG&AV disabled by electronic attack….aka the 7 minuters (watch Blackadder mum).
I got my first look at the Mobile Distribution Command Centre (MDCC) today. Bigger than I expected. An impressive piece of kit. Battle management system (BMS) integrated all terrain armoured vehicle with active and passive defence systems. I am jealous of the Combat Controllers that get to crew it…I’m in the back….
Field phase complete. Training Block Two…Check! I am a qualified transhipment and delivery operator. Oh, and I got to live fire the rail gun….not one, but three…engaged simultaneous ground and air targets…..firing from the UGVs in the convoy I was controlling……from the comfort of the MDCC….winning
I have achieved my final competency today. I can’t believe it! I keep checking my digital wristband. It tells me that I am authorised to operate all UGV systems and weapons; I am a class one stocktake assurance agent and a certified sustainment practitioner …….what about you @spunkysteve2015
After 83 days I have graduated. I am now a Distribution Specialist in the Australian Security Agency Service Support Department (ASASSD). I don’t care much for the acronym, but I am ready to join my Distribution and Maintenance Specialist Brothers and sisters in the Department. My first posting is north.
North Queensland Service Support Unit
My weeks of freedom are over. I marched into the North Queensland Service Support Unit (NQSSU) in Townsville today. It’s hot after Albury. At least the trip up was quick on the hypersonic aircraft, only 80 mins. However I am still trying to get my eyeballs back into my head.
In my march-in interview, my CSM asked me about my twitter handle today. The game is up. For the bet (which I think is up to $800 credits) the answer is……..…if they make a (Star Wars) Pogue1, I am totally K-2SO. CSM was not happy. Say goodbye to @ImtotesK-2SO.
Two weeks for a new twitter handle…yeesh. Well in that time I got my unrestricted exosuit lifter ticket and my provisional cargo UAV licence. 50 hours of in-barracks UAV deliveries and I am fully qual. I bet you Amazon can’t deliver 10000 kg in one hit.
Did a job for the Civil Security Department today. Relationships are still developing after police, military, customs and intelligence agencies amalgamated last year. There are still some old school coppers! They didn’t appreciate my 22 years of age. They did appreciate my exosuit lifter righting their overturned patrol car.
Spent the day in the MDCC today in barracks sim mode. Don’t see much sunlight but I was sitting next to my mate Banksy. He was controlling a distribution team in the next tactical area of responsibility (TAOR). We go out field to practice the real deal next week.
We nailed it on the range this week. My MDCC det of four simultaneously resupplied two dismounted robot companies, one armoured UGV squadron and one artillery battery. This was achieved through a combination of UG and UA resupply vehicles and one joint precision air drop system (JPADS) airdrop. My Corporal was pretty chuffed.
Came crashing down to earth today after the Company Quartermaster Sergeant gave me the monthly human systems integration (HSI) check to do. It’s the worst….all UGV, UAV, weapons, night fighting equipment, armour, communicators and battery packs….manually with data capture units to assure the autonomous checks conducted each other month! That’s 30 minutes I wont get back…….
In the digital after action review today, watched our MDCC being sim engaged with us inside. We don’t hear anything in the back. We detected and defeated enemy UAV forward observers before engaging fast air with our air defence systems. We also overmatched an electronic attack on our UGV command links.
Warned out for movement to the Whitsundays after a storm surge today. I am busy packing stores and equipment. I will be supporting a task grouped HADR company, predominantly reprogrammed combat robots with combat controllers. I will need my exosuit, water winner, 3D printer, rations and battery maintenance modules.
Exhausted but super pumped about what we achieved in the Whitsundays. An entire company only needs me to support them. With their UGV and UAVs, all I needed to do was win water and provide rations for the humans and keep the supply of batteries up to the robots.
Spent the day preparing resupply packs for our counter insurgency troops in Mindanao. They will be airdropped to the deployed Service Support Unit via Autonomous C17 delivered JPADs. Mostly replacement rechargeable batteries, but there are a few personal items for the civil liaison department, the combat controllers and the support staff.
Happy birthday to me. Spent the day conducting readiness recertification. After my trade test, a day of medical and dental pokes and prods, close quarter armed and unarmed combat testing and finally the physical test. Four hours in an exosuit is brutal, especially with chafing from the run…… Vaseline please….
The news has been reporting all day that Russia and America, after 8 years of investigation, have agreed that the Crimson Serpent Terrorist Group is responsible for the 2027 attack. The United Nations has sanctioned worldwide actions against Crimson Serpent. The tempo at work has increased…
Hey mum, this will be my last tweet for a while. My Service Support Detachment has embarked on the amphibious Ship HMAS Adelaide for deployment to an undisclosed location. Will tweet when I can. Geez this ship is a rust bucket……
The use of twitter is banned by the Australian Security Agency in conventional theatres of war. @Loggie4Life did not tweet for a period of three years. In that time Distribution Specialist Jackson Porter served as part of Australia’s commitment to the fight against Crimson Serpent. He survived the devastation of the suicide UAV swarm attack on HMAS Adelaide on 2 October 2032 to quickly rise through the ranks. In 2035, he returned to Australia as a Distribution Technician Level Three. He was awarded a Medal for Gallantry for his actions to rescue his detachment after his MDCC was struck by an EFP in 2034. He is currently posted to the Australian Security Service Support School in Albury as a Distribution Instructor.
About the author: Mark Baldock is an Ordinance Officer with 23 years of service. He is a graduate of the Command and Staff College and was Commanding Officer of the 1st Combat Service Support Battalion. He is currently the Colonel Logistics at Headquarters Forces Command.