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PARTNER PERSPECTIVES

AIR MARSHAL LEO DAVIES AO, CSC Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force Plan Jericho: the Royal Australian Air Force’s blueprint for a networked and integrated air force

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hortly after being appointed Chief of Air Force in July last year, I delivered my first major address to the RUSI conference. Then, I spoke of the RAAF’s recently launched Plan Jericho and my vision for the balanced, potent and integrated force it will deliver. Nearly a year on, and with the Australian Government having delivered a new policy framework through a Defence White Paper in March this year, it is timely to reflect on Jericho’s objectives, achievements, and its synchronisation with national policy settings. Since the turn of the 21st century the RAAF has developed and now realised a long-term strategy to improve its strategic weight through improved reach, connection and potency. The intent was to stay ahead of the security challenge in a dynamic region through ensuring Australia’s air force remained relevant to national defence and security. Capability renewal under that strategy has received support across governments, both conservative and labour, because a potent air force is seen as part of Australia’s maritime and larger international strategies. The lesson here is that having a strategy, and being patient and consistent with it, can deliver real results and set enduring vectors. That is particularly true if you demonstrate

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operational reliability and effect and so generate trust whilst simultaneously making arguments for reform. By 2025, the result will be an air force whose oldest aircraft will be its fleet of C-130Js, introduced in 1999. The RAAF has also added significantly to the range of missions it undertakes, as exemplified by the highly capable KC-30A tanker and E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWC) aircraft – both currently on operations in Iraqi and Syrian skies. The RAAF will shortly be an air force of very young, very capable and, more importantly, networked platforms. The RAAF’s capability will be indispensable in meeting the government’s expectation of the larger Australian Defence Force. In her introduction to the Defence White Paper the Defence Minister, Senator Marise Payne, highlighted the uncertainty and complexity of global security in the coming decades. Capability, agility and potency are attributes government requires of the defence force it is evolving, to be prepared for the challenges of an uncertain but unstable future. The RAAF is aligned with the new White Paper and operationalised through Plan Jericho and is focused on taking its place in a networked and integrated Australian Defence Force. The RAAF in the past might rightly be accused of concentrating on the

platforms ahead of the systems and infrastructure that support and enable them. Of course, without the balanced evolution of both, the platforms will not achieve their potential. That is where Plan Jericho fits in. However, a plan is simply a blueprint. Without the workforce to transform it to reality it remains only of intellectual interest. Without the structure it conveys being seen to take shape, it risks losing commitment and momentum. Plan Jericho addresses both these issues. Plan Jericho delivers our vision of ‘a future force that is agile and adaptive, fully immersed in the information age, and truly joint’ through a programme of work comprising fifteen initiatives, each tasked to an Air Commodore for delivery under a directive jointly issued by the Deputy Chief of Air Force and the Air Commander. The initiatives are measurable, with defined timeframes, and with the nominated Air Commodores held accountable for delivery. They address the range of activities required across the air force to best structure it for the optimal integration of its capabilities, including the key requirement to address integration with army and navy. Demonstration and experimentation are delivering tangible indicators of progress of initiative implementation. Since its February 2015 launch, Plan Jericho has achieved some early,

AIR POWER 2016 INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION

23/06/2016 16:14


RAF Air Power 2016 – Inspiration and Innovation