A year ago today the Australian Army’s professional development network, the Cove, was launched by the Deputy Chief of Army. Conceived, developed and launched in just five months, the Cove was designed as a step on Army’s journey to an intellectual edge. No one knew how Army would respond to it, or whether it would work.
One year down the line and the response has been phenomenal. We have published over 500 posts about the profession of arms. They have been viewed over 300,000 times by around 67,000 users worldwide (mostly by Australians and our ABCA allies). We have made friends, built networks, broken boundaries and challenged ideas. The Cove Charter, based around Army’s values, has been successful … of more than 60,000 users we have only blocked four. It has been a remarkable journey.
What is perhaps most notable is that over 200 of the 500 posts published are original work from ADF members, ranging in rank from LCPL to BRIG. All of these have come to us independently and voluntarily. We have never asked for or actively sought Cove submissions, and we appreciate deeply every offer we get. The quality of the submissions has been superb, a true testament to the talent and professionalism of the Force.
So, to say thank you on our first birthday, we wanted to give credit to those who have put their neck out, given their time, and provided outstanding contributions to the Cove and to the Australian profession of arms.
The Cove Recognitions 2017
This category recognises individual soldiers and officers who have made great personal contributions to the Cove:
Calen Thomas – Calen, a Lieutenant physiotherapist, has published four articles in Conditioning to help us train smarter. All put together, Calen is our most viewed author of 2017, with over 12,000 views of his articles.
Chris Field – Now MAJGEN Chris Field, as the Commander of the 3rd Brigade, provided three individual articles (including two Book Reviews) and also shared with us his ‘MAJ & SGT Leadership Team’ Education Program for Unit PME to increase our intellectual edge.
Chris Elles – Chris, a NZDF Sergeant, has provided a fabulous series of six articles in Adaptation to remind us of the importance of innovation.
This category recognises ADF institutions who have done the most to support the Cove concept, buying into the concept of ‘networked professional development’.
Warrant Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer Academy (WONCO-A) – WONCO-A, under the leadership of LTCOL Scott, have been partners of the Cove from Day 1. They contributed to the design and development of the site, and then provided 31 videos, podcasts and articles in Soldier’s Fives and Trenchline to improve our soldier skills. The Cove wouldn’t exist without them.
Education Wing Land Warfare Centre – Following direction from the top, Ed Wing were asked to help us improve written and oral communication in Army. They seized this opportunity with both hands, producing 9 articles in BLUF to develop our communication skills.
Defence Library Service – Early in the year Kym Andrews, the Library Service Manager in WA, reached out to the Cove to offer DLS support, which was willingly accepted and greatly appreciated. The relationship between the Cove and DLS has continued to go from strength to strength since that time. DLS has a range of resources to assist with individual and unit PME needs; we cannot recommend this fantastic service highly enough.
Most Viewed Articles:
7441 views: Calen Thomas’s ‘The Case for Abandoning Continuous Aerobic Training’. In this great article Calen argues that our physical training should comprise interval based activities in the anaerobic spectrum instead of the traditional long slow distance training prevalent in our Army today.
3739 views: David Beaumont’s ‘Logistics Primer’. LTCOL Dave Beaumont has just completed his time as the CA’s Scholar, and is now moving to be CO ASLO (Army School of Logistic Operations). During his time as the Scholar he produced a ‘logistics reading primer’ that received interest globally. Dave also produced his own blog ‘Logistics in War‘, which gained a great following in 2017.
2931 view: Calen Thomas’s ‘What Are the Physical Requirements for the Modern Battlefield?‘ Calen again (!), this time looking with a keen professional eye at what the real physical requirements are to fight and win on the modern battlefield.
Most Website Discussion:
14 comments: James Wright’s ‘8/9 RAR Introduction to High Performance 2017’ James is a physical training instructor who trialled a strength/power program for soldiers from 8/9 RAR based upon an elite sports program. This article explains the approach adopted and the results. The discussion generated by this article shows support for this style of training.
13 comments: Brendan Gilbert’s ‘Tearing Down the Christmas Tree’ Brendan is employed at Diggerworks. In this article he highlights the balance required between equipment that provides capability and the impact caused by increasing weight loads.
11 comments: Scott Chivers’ ‘Death by Powerpoint? – Finding New Ways to Present’ In this article, Scott an instructor at WONCO-A provides some alternative methods of instruction to help reduce the reliance on delivering a standard PowerPoint presentation.
11 comments: Calen Thomas’s ‘The Case for Abandoning Continuous Aerobic Training’ As our most viewed article it is not surprising that this article by Calen also generated some lively discussion.
We would also like to acknowledge the following individuals and organisations:
The Cove is part of a growing network of sites and resources dedicated to the sharpening of an intellectual edge. We would like to recognise the help, support and advice we have received from the teams below. If you don’t follow them, you should!
Grounded Curiosity – a space for military personnel to share ideas as we grapple with the challenges of future war and warfare.
The Strategy Bridge – a US based non-profit organisation focused on the development of people in strategy, national security and military affairs.
Doctrine Man – US based social media site that furthers professional discourse on key national security issues with a little humour on the side.
From the Green Notebook – a site for the growing global discussion on leadership and war.
Angry Staff Officer – a US blog focused on historical events, national security and Army doctrine.
Logistics in War – a site dedicated to exploring logistics and its impact on modern warfare.
The Central Blue – forum designed to promote informed discussion and debate about air power issues affecting Australia.
The Dead Prussian – podcasts that explore war and warfare through discussion and analysis of military history, historical events and contemporary conflicts.
War on the Rocks – A US based platform for analysis, commentary and debate on foreign policy and national security issues.
While some people, organisations and sites are singled out above, this network is truly more than the sum of its parts. Thanks to all for strive and serve in the profession.
AND FINALLY, a big thank you to Victoria Osborn for that picture that launched our social media star: ‘Cove Pen’! If you don’t have one yet, Cove Pen 3.0 will hit the streets in 2018. All you have to do to get one is hit contribute!