Head of Force Design in Australian Defence Force Headquarters and previously Air Commander Australia, AVM Steve Roberton has provided an insight into the importance of Indigenous heritage in the development of a networked, fifth-generation force.
In an interview published on the Department of Defence website AVM Roberton said, “We want to become a fifth-generation force that’s far more than just really cool airplanes and high-tech wizardry,” adding, “We can’t do that without having a group representative of first Australians.”
AVM Roberton will play a senior role in a network supporting the RAAF’s Indigenous Liaison Officers which first started at RAAF Base Williamtown in 2014 when he was Commander Air Combat Group.
“For the next 10 years, the network will support the Chief of Air Force’s recently launched Indigenous strategy ‘Our Place, Our Skies’ and ‘Common Ground’ action plan, with champions changing every two years”, he said.
Preparing the RAAF and indeed the wider ADF for increasingly complex and integrated operations will require ongoing access to vast training areas, airspace and ranges. This might potentially lead to a more extensive network of bases over the next decade with Indigenous and heritage factors coming into play on a number of levels.
From a security point of view, the development of Australia’s defence infrastructure and ranges is also likely to attract unwanted interest from third parties, with Indigenous communities able to provide a unique insight into local changes in the environment or human behaviour.
The establishment of an Indigenous heritage network complements broader Defence efforts to build the technical networks required to enable fifth generation operations. AVM Roberton’s comments provide a nuanced and sophisticated insight into the importance of developing the human networks necessary to meet national security objectives.