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Paper – A Journey to Better the Character of Australia’s Leaders

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This paper by Richard Thapthimthong is titled ‘A Journey to Better the Character of Australia’s Leaders.’  The paper explains that in a fully digitised battlefield where advanced weaponry gives the individual soldier killing power previously unseen in war, the concept of character is often a second thought. “Though within a connected battlefield, the character of the individual is more often than not the most defining factor for mission success. War is won by strategy and tactics, but it demands the soldiers and leaders executing these actions to act and react in scalable and dangerous environments. The ability to thrive in these environments is down to the individual and is guided by many things. Though ultimately, the decision made within these environments stem from the individual’s character.” The author concedes that this particular human factor is the simplest to ascertain, yet often the hardest to understand and develop.

The comprehensive paper proposes a new definition of character be looked at for use within the Australian Army.  It also looks at measuring character, developing character and discusses the utility of a character development tool.

This is a topic that every member of the Australian Army, regardless of their posting background or individual experiences, should be able to form an opinion on.  Read the paper and contribute to our discussion on character.  Do you agree with the authors views on character development within the Australian Army?  Do you have alternate ideas to offer?


Richard Thapthimthong is an officer in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.  He is currently a student at Australian Command and Staff College, and was previously the Package Master for Leadership and Ethics at the Royal Military College Duntroon.  He is the co-host of the Professional Military Education podcast ‘War for Idiots.’

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