Drawing Lessons from the Long War: What Operational Evaluation Methodology Should the Australian Army Use to Learn from Afghanistan and Iraq?
SAMS Monograph rept. Jun 2013-May 2014
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The Australian Army faces a future where potential adversaries are not clear, new technology makes military equipment more expensive, and funding for the military is likely to decrease. This dictates that the Australian Army will be made to innovate with less resources and greater ambiguity about the nature of the enemy that they will face and the type of warfare that they will be required to conduct. An operational evaluation should seek to identify lessons that may inform military innovation. The Australian Army has contributed forces to coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq for over a decade, making this Australias longest war. Therefore, the establishment of a logical and holistic methodology for the operational evaluation of the Australian Armys contribution to these conflicts is important in order to inform military innovation once operations in Afghanistan are completed. The conduct of operational evaluation by the United States Army in the 20th century provided a number of examples that allowed analysis of the process to identify lessons learned and the implementation of fixes. The establishment of the Superior Board for the review of American Expeditionary Force operations post the First World War and the General Boards for the review of United States Army operations in the European Theatre during the Second World War provided a holistic systems thinking approach to operational evaluation. The methodology for the operational evaluation of the Australian Army operations in Afghanistan and Iraq should concentrate on establishing the correct composition of the review organization, identifying processes and procedures to ensure the effective conduct of the review, and formulating an effective implementation process to coordinate the required change to fix the lessons identified.
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