Future Operating Environment
Plan CADUCEUS - Modernising Pronto!By Plan CADUCEUS Team June 18, 2021
The next 20 years will see the Australian Army exposed to unprecedented advances in computing and communications technology which will significantly alter the availability of information; the way it is accessed, presented, shared and fought over. The ADF is working hard to understand and adjust to the shifting information paradigm and the same is true of potential adversaries, be they state or non-state actors. In cyberspace, all parties seek to leverage information to gain a winning advantage.
At the heart of Army’s information domain capability is the Royal Australian Corps of Signals (RA Sigs) – tactical call sign Pronto. RA Sigs has a proud history providing Army’s communications and electronic warfare (EW) capability since 1925 and will provide the personnel and organisational components of Army’s information warfare capability into the future. In this dynamic, technology-centric domain, RA Sigs must continue to modernise both skills and organisations, and needs to do so now, in an enduring manner – Swift and Sure.
What are we preparing for?
Advances in the application of information technology (IT) pervades all aspects of society including the military. It is changing the way people, weapons, sensors, ships, vehicles, aircraft and satellites operate and interact. IT is improving both the individual and collective performance of these systems and is elevating the significance of a domain in which conflict has always manifested – the information domain. The economy-wide importance of the information domain and the accelerating influence of IT and IT- enabled military capabilities together, challenge Army to adapt to newly dominating characteristics:
- Computing, networking infrastructure, data and spectrum defined the technology terrain of Army’s Area of Operations (AO).
- Converged tactical and strategic environments - tactical actions yield strategic effects and tactical and strategic decision making compress.
- Blurred or removed geographic, spatial and temporal boundaries otherwise well-defined on the sea, land and air.
- Blurred phases of conflict. Grey Zone operations are enabled. Contest and conflict are omnipresent.
- Escalated competition for spectrum between friendly, threat and other actors.
- Increased automation in the battlespace, accelerating information generation, processing, analysis, fusion and dissemination, enabling decision making and weapon cueing at unprecedented speeds.
- Increased reliance on computing and networked capabilities for the pervasive connectivity that assures manoeuvre, triggers weapons, manages assets and supply chains, and supports command and control.
- Elevated digital savviness required of all, to defeat threats targeting our weakest link.
- Up-skilling and adaptability continually required of ICT and cyber specialists.
- Elevated competition for IT talent within the Australian labour market.
- Training and education systems challenged to keep up.
- IT and OT-based critical vulnerabilities jeopardise all major systems.
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update outlines Australia’s geostrategic circumstance and confirms investment priorities to deliver Army ‘high tech’ systems demanding a specialised workforce. Dominant characteristics of the complex systems to which Army’s workforce must adapt include:
- The primacy of the Land Combat System. Integrated vehicles, weapons and sensors produce, process, use, distribute, and store information vital to their performance.
- Every capability is networked.
- Every project is an IT project.
- Software dominates.
- Data is the new oil. System operation and maintenance is data driven and network-centric.
The nature of the threat that Army must counter is also changing. The low cost availability of networked capabilities contrasts sharply with the increasing complexity and cost of traditional military capabilities - Planes, Tanks and Ships – which were historically accessible only with the resources of nation states. This is no longer the case. Now commoditised, ICT and computing technologies are accessible, cheap and can be employed to build high quality sensors and lethal weapons systems. Networked weapons and systems are now available to the ‘everyman’.
Non-state actors are increasingly informed and effective at implementing physical and non-physical operations. Globally, state actors are accelerating their efforts to achieve competitive advantage through capability development and intellectual property theft, enabled by advances in computing and the availability of engineering and design information through both open sources and for malicious actors – hacked sources. The end state is potentially a parity of capability or an adversary overmatch not previously experienced. Army must respond to preserve freedom of action.
A skilled and adaptable workforce is key to preserving Army’s freedom of action in cyberspace. The digital savviness of the entire Army must be elevated to meet this need. All soldiers must be network centric in their thinking. All must prioritise the integrity of the networked Land Combat System when planning, operating and maintaining the land force. But more important still in an information age Army, is the specialist information domain workforce. That workforce is RA Sigs.
Plan CADUCEUS (pronounced, 'kuh·doo·see·uhs') is the public face of RA Sigs modernisation - a multi-year effort to align Army’s Signals capability with Army’s needs, in a setting of rapid technology and threat change, where labour market trends place increasing demands on a scarce STEM-focused workforce. Plan CADUCEUS is changing the way Army recruits, trains and retains good people, and is synchronising these workforce modernisation initiatives with future capability based efforts generated through Army HQ.
The objective of Plan CADUCEUS is to modernise RA Sigs while ensuring the workforce and organisations remain equipped to both operate and sustain Army’s Communications and Information Systems, EW and Cyber systems. The RA Sigs workforce will be educated, skilled and organised to adapt to both unforeseen opportunities derived from global technology trends, and the unpredictable threats derived from adversary cyber operations.
Plan CADUCEUS initiatives are implemented through five Lines of Effort:
- LOE 1 Recruitment.
- LOE 2 Training and Education Modernisation.
- LOE 3 Workforce and Organisation.
- LOE 4 Retention.
- LOE 5 Transition – Optimising Army’s full and part time people.
Plan CADUCEUS flagship Initiatives include:
- RA Sigs Gap Year. The Army Gap Year is a successful program for attracting high calibre recruits into an Army career. Whilst RA Sigs have a small number of Gap Year Officers each year, until now RA Sigs soldiers have been excluded from the Gap Year Program by virtue of their lengthy initial employment courses. Through innovative workforce reform, that will no longer be the case.
- Specialist Service Soldiers. RA Sigs is part of Army’s vanguard trialling a Specialist Service Soldier career management, training and employment model. This important workforce reform seeks to match specialist skills to workforce needs to the benefit of Army and the individual. Phase 1 will see Specialist Soldiers transfer from our general enlistee community, based on existing specialist skills and qualifications and be employed in select roles. Subsequent phases will be open to Reservists transferring to full time roles and civilian entrants.
- Mid-career recruiting. There is a pool of IT and Cyber savvy civilians in Australia whom have traditionally not had the chance to join the RA Sigs team. If they share our passion for IT and want to serve their nation, we are opening the door by creating mid-career entry pathways and identifying roles in our diverse organisation for which they are a great fit.
- “Re-joiners” and in–service trade transfers. We are creating new and streamlined ways for skilled colleagues in industry and other parts of Army to extend their career with RA Sigs. Soldiers from throughout Army are encouraged to transfer to RA Sigs. The door is always open, with Plan CADUCEUS accelerating processes for soldiers to extend or pivot their career into the information domain. Similarly, for those who have transitioned out of Army and are considering a return to full time service, the message is clear: RA Sigs wants you back. Be a “Re-joiner”. Plan CADUCEUS is streamlining re-entry and cutting red tape.
- Training and Education Modernisation. Developing and maintaining technical skills on ever-changing Signals technology requires cognitively agile and educated people with the time and space to consume and quickly apply knowledge. Under the aegis of Army’s Future Ready Training System we will ensure communications, EW and cyber training is accessible, adaptable, focused and relevant. The reformed framework improves technical foundations and enhances focus on operations and threat. The approach to training is about Simplicity, Agility and Capacity:
- Aligned with industry best practice.
- Increased cross skilling opportunities between trades.
- Improved accessibility – more training available anytime, anywhere.
- More digital, distributed and simulation-based training.
- Increased focus on educating for adaptability.
- Workplaces facilitating knowledge and skill development as core business. Just in time and job-specific.
- Flexible recognition of on-the-job skilling and professional development.
- Workforce reform. Operating in the information age requires an adaptable and flexible workforce capable of delivering CIS, EW and cyber capabilities across the spectrum of conflict. Likewise, this workforce must lead Army’s effort in force generation, capability development, strategy, and industry integration. Plan CADUCEUS is engaged with the workforce, industry and academia to improve RA Sigs performance through:
- Adopting a Signals Skills Framework to define our workforce in a manner understood by industry and the community, promoting integration and Army’s Total Workforce System.
- Professional credentialing.
- Establishing a culture of lifelong learners.
- Integrating with industry and academia to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing.
- Organisational Reform. The increased investment in communications, information, cyber and ISREW capabilities together with the digitalisation and automation of platforms and weapons systems is driving RA Sigs growth and necessitates review of RA Sigs’ place in Army’s order of battle. Plan CADUCEUS will coordinate organisational reform initiatives matching role, size and nature of RA Sigs workplaces across Army and the Joint Staff. Signals organisations will be supported to re-organise as they re-equip to better enable manoeuvre and networked fires, adoption of automation and application of direct signals effects in the battlespace. Such change is underway.
Plan CADUCEUS is a multi-year investment by Army promoting the modernisation of RA Sigs; coordinating and synchronising numerous workforce initiatives. By acting now, Army ensures the RA Sigs workforce and organisations are enabled to lead Army in the dynamic information domain. To learn more, contact the team now at plan.caducues [at] defence.gov.au.
 Plan CADUCEUS has a dedicated team of RA Sigs leaders and strategic advisors to plan initiatives, consult widely to achieve alignment with workforce needs and generate and maintain momentum through implementation to realise program objectives. Centred on HQ Defence Command Support Training Centre with the RA Sigs Employment Category Sponsor, team members traverse both Army Personnel Capability and Systems & Integration Branches in Army HQ. This enables optimisation and alignment of efforts between Plan CADUCEUS, The Future Ready Training System, Future Ready Workforce strategy and their integration with major system development and sustainment under the Integrated Investment Plan. The team will deliberately address the personnel and training systems elements of FIC: Personnel, Organisation, Collective Training, Major Systems, Supplies, Facilities, Support, Command and Management, Industry.