Future Operating Environment

Battle 2029 - Combined Arms Manoeuvre in the Year 2029

By Josh Higgins April 2, 2020


Significant efforts are underway at the higher echelons of Army to understand and adapt to contemporary conflict. This must be complemented by tactical level thinking that tests extant techniques, procedures and drills to ensure that the intellectual component of our force makes complimentary leaps with advances in technology, domains, and threats. Doing so supports doctrine development, shapes contemporary exercise design, and validates future operational level planning efforts.

Consequently, this PME package is designed to create an environment in which individuals and small team can:

1.         Hypothesise useful technology and tactics that could assist in short-term design for battle arrangements, shape cost-effective research and development efforts, and influence procurement and implementation lines from the bottom up.

2.         Challenge the current psychological, moral, and ethical depth and difficulty of our training scenarios at all levels, by articulating potential adversary tactics and an operating environment that can severely undermine our preparations and conduct of battle.

3.         Provide Units and Sub-Units with supporting concepts, tactics, QDEs and discussion tools that are useful in unit and sub-unit combined arms training serials.

Recommended approach:
Read the Introduction and ORBAT:


Watch the following video and follow along with the 'Battle 2029 - Scenario Part 1' and 'Maps 1 and 2': 

(The video provides a brief narration of the first three scenes of Battle 2029 - Scenario Part 1) 


Complete the QDE and group discussion activities as desired using Maps 3 to 6 as required:


Read the remainder of the 'Battle 2029 - Scenario Part 2' using Maps 7 to 9 as required:



Once you have completed the QDEs, it might be interesting to compare your solutions with the example below. How did you approach the problem? Is the thinking within your small group similar or is there significant diversity of thinking when tackling the QDE? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this?




Battle 2029 was designed to provide multiple angles to challenge our extant doctrine and training while also demonstrating revised learning and instructional mediums available to our training institutions and units. The force models and tactics deliberately avoided gold-plated solutions set in the distant future. Consequently, success for this submission involves debate from the Army's collective mind concerning the evolution of tactics, force structure and intensity of training within a given campaign. My thanks to the Cove team for their support.



Josh Higgins

Josh Higgins is an Armoured Corps Officer. He enjoys the study of tactics, campaigning, and strategy through the lens of past and hypothesised future conflicts. He remains a long-suffering but indefatigable Wallabies fan, a testament to his patience and resolve.  

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.


I found this PME package to be a very engrossing way of considering alternative TTPs. It also remined me of the work of two speculative fiction/alternative history authors from the 70's/80's; General Sir John Hackett (The Third World War; August 1985 and sequel) and Harold Coyle (Team Yankee et al). Lastly, for me the "golden nugget" in Battle 2029 was: "...Sadly, Mitt realised the error of his training to date. I’ve never  been put in a situation where failure, or at least likely unwinnable odds were designed into the scenario as a matter  of course…  By winning all the time, I’ve never been pushed actually to be creative…  And now, at the time of most need, I have nothing to draw upon… 

Add new comment

Cove App


Fast access to The Cove anywhere, anytime. Additional feature of receiving notifications for new content.

Reflective Journal


Record your reflections in a structured way to improve your performance.