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Annual Report 2013-14

Volume 1, Part 2 : Performance

Program 1.11: Joint Operations Command

The Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, AM, RAN, is the principal adviser on operational matters and is responsible to the CDF for the conduct of military operational planning. Supported by the Joint Operations Command Group, he commands all operations and major joint, combined, coalition, interagency and multilateral exercises on behalf of the CDF.

The Chief of Joint Operations is also responsible for the ADF’s provision of ADF resources to the Border Protection Command for support in countering maritime security threats. The Border Protection Command program is part of the Immigration and Border Protection portfolio.

Throughout 2013–14, Joint Operations Command assessed current campaigns to report progress, risk and additional planning requirements. The Group determined the resources necessary to identify joint operational lessons to inform future planning and doctrine development.

The Group developed options for the Government to use available ADF capabilities for the conduct of military operations in immediate or crisis situations. It developed a regional campaigning framework to identify areas of operational risk and provide a means to reduce those risks by enabling the synchronisation of single service, joint and combined military activities with whole-of-government activities.

Joint Operations Command conducted military operational planning, including the development and maintenance of contingency and operational plans. It routinely assessed the developing security environment to identify future planning priorities. As a result, it maintained relevant contingency plans for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the evacuation of non-combatants, and stability operations.

Joint and combined activities in 2013–14

Defence simulation initiatives

Australian Defence Simulation and Training Centre

An ADF-wide approach to joint collective training and simulation is a key element of joint preparedness. Future ADF operations are likely to become more complex and dynamic, be characterised by short-notice lead times and require a whole-of-government response. The ADF must be prepared for employment across the full spectrum of military operations, conducted in a joint environment with multinational partners and requiring close interagency cooperation.

These changes demand an innovative response to the management of joint collective training and training delivery options, including simulation, in order to be more responsive to the needs of joint task force commanders. Improved training will better enable the ADF force elements to adapt to the complexities and uncertainties presented by operations.

Table W3.5 lists joint exercises and activities involving simulation initiatives conducted during 2013-14

Engagement and assessment

Joint Operations Command Engagement and Assessment Branch plans and coordinates ADF involvement in broad engagement activities, including the development and execution of joint and combined exercises and training activities, the synchronisation and coordination of the Program of Major Service Activities, operational and engagement joint lessons, and the assessment, analysis and certification of a range of operational-level concepts, plans, activities and organisations. This includes:

  1. ensuring that joint exercise and training objectives support the CDF preparedness requirements and broad engagement goals
  2. incorporating lessons learned into future operations and exercise activities
  3. implementing international engagement objectives (as detailed in the Defence International Engagement Plan) at the operational level
  4. collecting and maintaining exercise and activity information within the Program of Major Service Activities.

Table W3.6  lists joint and combined exercises and training activities conducted during 2013-14

Table W3.5: Program 1.11 deliverables

Activity / exercise


Vital Prospect 14 (joint and combined)

An Australian joint task force exercise that focused on the planning and conduct of high-end, mid-intensity warfighting. It also incorporated Exercise Aqua Terra, an Australian, British, Canadian, American and New Zealand Army exercise that focused on the interoperability of Australian and coalition brigade-sized task forces within the Australian-led joint task force.

Hamel 14 (single)

An annual Army exercise designed to develop, confirm and evaluate foundation war fighting skills.

Silicon Brolga 14 (single)

An Army preparedness exercise.

Talisman Sabre 13—conduct (combined)

A bilateral US-led, Australian-supported, combined exercise focused on planning and conducting high-end mid-intensity warfighting. It is run biannually.

Talisman Sabre 15—planning (combined)

Combined Australian and United States planning conferences to enable the delivery of Ex Talisman Sabre in July 2015.

Vigilant Pacific (combined)

An Australian–US command-led annual combined intelligence exercise. Other participants include Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Northern Shield Joint

An ADF joint field training exercise designed to demonstrate the ADF’s ability to project forces to northern Australia at short notice to protect national interests.

Cage III B (combined)

A constructive Australia, Canada, United States and United Kingdom experiment designed to solve integration and interoperability issues with command, control, communications, computer and intelligence systems in artificial coalition architecture.

Parapet Ready (whole-of-government)

An ADF command and control rehearsal exercise to confirm the ADF’s readiness to support its directed contribution to the G20 Leadership Summit.

Blue Horizon 14 (whole-of-government)

A Border Protection Command exercise that enables certification of Border Protection Command’s maritime counter-terrorism capabilities in accordance with the National Counter Terrorism Plan.

Triton Sim (single)

The creation of a synthetic maritime task force to build baseline collective warfare skills in a multi-threat environment.

Blue Diamond (single)

An Army brigade-level exercise conducted to assess a brigade headquarters in the conduct of joint land combat.

Enterprise simulation capability development support, governance and coordination (joint)

There is a need to engage industry across all strategies within the Defence Synthetic Environment Program Plan. The Synthetic Environment Working Group has been established as an open forum for industry and Defence representatives and experts in simulation. The working group is a mechanism for information exchange between Defence, industry and academia. Information gained through this forum better informs the Australian Defence Organisation of industry capability and capacity.

Defence and simulation industry collaboration (other)

Table W3.6: Program 1.11 deliverables

Activity / exercise


Talisman Sabre 13

The principal bilateral Australia–US exercise conducted in Australia. It is designed to practise combined task force operations in a mid-intensity high-end war fighting environment in order to improve combat readiness, enhance interoperability and trial emerging capabilities. It is also a major opportunity to reinforce the strategic relationship between Australia and the United States.

Tempest Express 23

Exercises conducted by various countries in the Asia–Pacific region as part of the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team program sponsored by US Pacific Command. Exercises are conducted once or twice a year, depending on commitments by contributing nations.

Khan Quest

A tactical exercise conducted in Mongolia. The focus is on developing peacekeeping capabilities and building military-to-military relationships in the Asia–Pacific region.

Phoenix Spirit 13

A bilateral exercise between China and New Zealand, in which Australia and the United States were invited to participate for the August 2013 iteration. This is a newly emerging event that is a counterpart activity to the Australia–China bilateral Cooperation Spirit exercise.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian 13

An annual exercise conducted in the Republic of Korea for Korean and US defence forces to practise responding to security threats on the Korean Peninsula. Multinational participation in the exercises is predicated upon member states being signatories to the 1953 Declaration and Commitment to the United Nations Command in Korea. Australia is a signatory and therefore participates so that Australia can contribute to the development of any contingency plans that may be in the national interest.

Pacific Endeavour 13

Part of the Multinational Communications Interoperability Program, this is the key information communications systems forum between Asia–Pacific militaries, non-government organisations, academia and industry. It aims to improve communications interoperability and procedures using humanitarian assistance and disaster relief scenarios.

Equateur 13

A multilateral exercise led by French Armed Forces New Caledonia and held in New Caledonia. It occurs every two years and is focused on planning non-combatant evacuation operations, stability and security operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities in the South West Pacific. Participants include Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Vanuatu and Chile.

Suman Warrior 13

An annual combined exercise that focuses on land elements in the command and control of combined land warfighting operations at the brigade level.

International Mine Countermeasures 13

An exercise that aims to integrate international mine countermeasures forces in the Middle East Area of Operation, develop international command and control, and increase proficiency in common doctrine.

Vigilant Pacific 13

An annual Australia, Canada, United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand combined counter-intelligence and human intelligence exercise that seeks to enhance interoperability and combined development among the Five Eyes intelligence community.

Southern Katipo 13

A New Zealand Defence Force exercise targeting an Anzac Regional Response Force event to exercise a minor combined joint task force headquarters and force elements in the conduct of amphibious operations.

Bersama Lima 13

A Five Powers Defence Arrangements multilateral field training exercise that alternates between the armed forces of Malaysia and Singapore as host and lead planner.

Joint Vision 13

Permanently hosted by the United Kingdom, this is a joint headquarters conducted activity designed to exercise contingency plans.

Arcade Fusion 13

The annual North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps capstone command post exercise, this is the largest NATO exercise of its type.

Vital Vision

The first of three activities focused on certifying the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters.

Key Resolve 14

An annual United States – Republic of Korea exercise designed to practise response contingencies to a regime change or collapse of government in North Korea.

Cobra Gold 14

A Thailand–US planned activity held annually in Thailand. Indonesia, Japan and Singapore are also invited to participate. The activity is focused on planning and practising stabilisation operations within a multinational combined task force or United Nations peacekeeping force context.

Vital Launch 14

The second of three exercises to be conducted in the Vital series. This exercise focuses on unilaterally planning and conducting high-end mid-intensity warfighting.

Mentawai Megathurst 14

An Indonesian activity that was jointly sponsored by the Indonesian Agency for Disaster Management and the Indonesian Defence Force as part of a two-year disaster response exercise program that commenced in April 2013.

Tempest Express 24

Exercises conducted on a biannual basis by numerous countries from the Indo-Pacific region as part of the Multi-National Planning Augmentation Team program.

Balikatan 14

A US–Philippines-sponsored exercise designed to train forces in a range of operational scenarios, including conventional operations, peace support operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Since 2014, the exercise has expanded to include the ADF as a full participant.

Trident Jaguar 14

An Allied Command transformation exercise that is designed to exercise and validate Strike Force NATO in a crisis response operation as a deployed NATO Joint Headquarters (maritime and expeditionary).

Aqua Terra 14

An American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Armies’ Program synthetic exercise conducted as part of Vital Prospect 14, with a focus on the conduct of amphibious operations.

Vital Prospect 14

The last of three exercises to be conducted in the Vital series. The exercise includes a command post exercise to certify Deployable Joint Force Headquarters as a joint task force headquarters and test the Air Operations Centre.


A non-combat evacuation operation coordination centre exercise conducted in Cyprus by member nations of the Noncombatant Evacuations Operations Coordination Group. Participating nations include Australia, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Bersama Shield

A multilateral exercise that rotates between the armed forces of Malaysia and Singapore as host and lead planner. The exercise is held in the land and airspace of Malaysia and Singapore and adjacent waters in the South China Sea, and is designed to practise joint operations for the defence of the region.

Eager Lion 14

An annual multilateral training event in Jordan with participation by many allied and coalition countries, ministries, security agencies, government organisations and non-government organisations. The objective is to exchange military expertise and improve interoperability among partner nations.

Pacific Partnership

An annual humanitarian civic assistance program sponsored by the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet. It provides assistance to local populations in the Asia–Pacific region. Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Kiribati are among the nations targeted as the recipients of assistance. The exercise normally rotates yearly between South-East Asia and the South West Pacific.

Tempest Express 25

Exercises conducted by various countries in the Indo-Pacific region as part of the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team program sponsored by US Pacific Command. Exercises are conducted biannually, depending on commitments by contributing nations.

Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 14

A biannual multilateral combined and joint exercise conducted by the US 3rd Fleet in the Hawaiian exercise areas to practise maritime operations (air, sea and amphibious operations) and to enhance interoperability in coalition arrangements. The exercise is conducted in even-numbered calendar years to avoid a schedule conflict with Talisman Sabre. Participants include Pacific rim nations and other regional nations by invitation.

Table 3.29: Program 1.11 deliverables



Provide input, in the form of reporting, analysis, plans and preparedness requirements, to the strategic level ADFHQ and Commonwealth national security decision-making committees on military options and operational matters associated with current operational commitments and future directed contingencies


Plan, control, conduct and evaluate the ADF’s, and where applicable the whole-of-government and/or coalition’s, contributions to the Government directed operational commitments


Plan, control, conduct and evaluate the ADF’s contributions to Defence assistance to the civil community and Defence Force aid to the civil authority, and plan for and coordinate search and rescue for military purposes


Plan, control, conduct and evaluate the ADF’s participation in non-operational domestic and international joint, interagency and bilateral and multilateral exercises and engagement activities scheduled in the endorsed Program of Major Service Activities

Partially met

Regional Campaign Plan Affinity (South West Pacific) was developed as the first of a series of plans to provide a framework for synchronising joint training, exercises, engagement and other activity to reduce operational risks. Plan Unison (South East Asia) is drafted and is awaiting approval by the Chief of Joint Operations.

Maintain ongoing partnerships, collaboration and effective information sharing related to operational matters at the national level and effective engagement at the international level


Provide advice to service headquarters, other Defence groups and other government departments as necessary to support the development of policy and capability in relation to current, planned and anticipated operations

Partially met

The Group continued to develop a regional campaign framework to identify and treat operational risks through a synchronised approach to inform joint and combined activities with stakeholders.

Contribute to Group-specific reforms and cost reductions


Table 3.30: Program 1.11 key performance indicators

Key performance indicator


Input to strategic-level decision-making committees on military options and operational matters and other advice on the development of capability is timely and accurate

Partially met

The Group has limited capacity to support joint capability development.

Operations achieve the Government’s direction and intent and/or, where applicable, the whole-of-government strategy


Forces are deployed and sustained efficiently and effectively, and in accordance with agreed timeframes


Operational options and plans are identified as innovative solutions that align with strategic guidance and contribute to meeting government direction, reduce risk, conserve resources and reduce adverse effects on directed ADF preparedness levels


ADF operations and non-operational activities are planned, controlled and conducted in accordance with the promulgated rules of engagement and operational governance requirements in the areas of medical administration and clinical governance, and personnel, logistics, financial and contract management