Innovation and Adaptation

Cove Challenge | Generating force to meet the demands of Accelerated Warfare

By The Cove August 30, 2020

For most of us, the majority of our career has seen the Army engaged in operations in Timor-Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan. If you joined the Army after 2009, you joined an Army structured under Adaptive Army. Much of our service has been shaped by the many facets of the force generation cycle implemented under Adaptive Army which was largely to manage Army’s ongoing contribution to these operations on a rotational basis. We are familiar with the three combat brigades and the requirements for the brigades to rotate between Reset, Readying and Ready based on varying points in time on the training year.

This year, we have faced challenges in responding to the bushfires and COVID-19, whilst continuing to commit to ongoing operations. Concurrently, we are striving to remain prepared for other contingencies that may arise at home and abroad. These challenges are cause for reflection on the relative suitability of the long standing model for the Army’s current and emerging circumstances.

As we continue to support state agencies in the national response to COVID-19 and grapple with its impact on force preparedness, Army has implemented interim force generation measures. These measures distribute readiness across the combat brigades and will enable preparedness until the end of 2021.

A challenge: Can you describe, in one hundred words or less, what Army’s force generation might look like in 2022 and beyond?

Army needs a force generation system that is agile and sustainable in order to meet the demands of Accelerated Warfare and balance the tension between Ready Now and Future Ready. As a 2018 RAND[i] study highlighted, the core competency of any army is the ability to generate capabilities required to execute the national security strategy, both now and in the future.

So, what do we mean by ‘force generation?’ A definition offered in Bob Breen’s Short History of the Adaptive Army Initiative[ii] is ‘the process of organising, training and equipping forces for adaptive campaigning.’ Whilst Army has evolved from Adaptive Campaigning, this definition describes force generation as preparing for the range of tasks we may be called upon for.

A future force generation model must consider what Army must generate forces for. This year has proved that the expectations for what Army can be called upon for are changing and expanding. We are focussed on how Army prepares land forces for the joint force in peace and war, now and in the future. We must assure our ability to be ready now: to do more things, in more places, across more domains, more often, whilst also acknowledging the need to modernise to be future ready; but of course our resources of time, people and equipment are not limitless. Therefore, how might we adapt?

Responses might consider:

  • What are the features of the existing FORGEN system the Army should preserve?
  • What are the features of the existing system that are most problematic? Why?
  • What solutions do you recommend to address the problems?
  • What ideas do you have that you think might improve the FORGEN system?
  • How might we reduce the tempo for scarce enablers?
  • Is there a better way to maintain ready forces while also fielding and testing new materiel, new capabilities and new concepts?
  • How do we assure that Army is prepared and ready now, without over-complicating what is often referred to as ‘certification?’
  • How can we better force generate enablers, that, unlike the combat brigades, do not exist in ‘threes?’
  • How can we articulate and manage risk in a meaningful way to assist in meeting these challenges?
  • How can we conduct force generation across the total workforce?
  • How can a force generation model enable modernisation in order for Army to be future ready?

Responses are requested in the form of a description in 100 words or less, that explain what force generation should look like in 2022 and beyond, in order to meet the challenges described above. We are seeking thoughts from all ranks and trades to be part of the conversation and this contest of ideas. Selected responses will be posted on The Cove's social media sites (Twitter and Facebook) throughout September 2020. These responses are an opportunity for you to have your say and will inform Army’s ongoing force generation review, the outcomes of which are due for implementation from mid-2021.

To submit response to the 100 word Challenge please use the 'Make a Submission' button on the top of the website or click here. Please put '100 Words 2020' in the Article Title field.

Responses are open during all of September 2020 and will close on Friday the second of October.


Should you wish to provide a longer response for consideration in the FORGEN review, please submit directly to:

AHQ: SO1 Joint Collective Training – LTCOL Josh Neldner

FORCOMD: SO1 Plans – LTCOL James Murray



End notes:

[i] RAND Study: Comprehensive Analysis of Strategic Force Generation Challenges in the Australian Army 2018

[ii] Preparing the Australian Army for Joint Employment: A short history of the Adaptive Army Initiative, 2007-2010, Bob Breen, Commonwealth of Australia, 2014.



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.

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