‘He who knows not mountain and forest; cliffs; ravines; lakes and marshes; cannot conduct an army.
He who does not use guides, cannot take advantage of ground.’
Sun Tzu, The Art of War
One of the fundamental starting points for any military planning is a detailed understanding of the terrain – the ground. As Army prepares for the period 2020 to 2050, aside from the physical ground, Army must also consider the ‘cultural’ ground.
This is because the world, and Army, are heading into new cultural terrain.
One of the features of this new terrain is ‘the gender dimension.’ Just released by Army, Teaming: Optimising military capability for the coming era of equality: 2020 to 2050, analyses this dimension.
What is it?
Teaming is designed as a ‘one-stop-shop’ or ‘Resource Document Version 1.0’ on gender. It distils a wide range of research on gender issues, including those related to ‘Men’s Studies,’ and considers what implications this may have for Army’s internal environment and the tactics and capabilities it may need to grow to match the changing external environment.
In terms of expectation management, do not expect a short succinct report that can be read in one sitting! It is long – the size of a book. That’s because it seeks to provide a cultural immersion experience. Having a sophisticated, rather than superficial, understanding of the issues is what will allow the Army to succeed in this new terrain. Army can be masterful and ahead of the curve rather than stumble and be caught off guard.
How to use it?
Teaming can be treated as a book – something you read gradually, chapter at a time, or as a resource document which you ‘dip in and out of’ as suits. For example:
- Section commanders may be interested in the scenarios in Annex C
- Operations planners may be interested in Chapter 2 ‘The Military Operating Environment’
- RSM and COs may be interested in Chapters 6-7 on ‘Teamwork’ and ‘Leadership’
- Policy makers might focus on Part II: The Cultural Context
Here is an overview of its structure:
Your role – be part of the conversation and solutions
Teaming is a conversation starting-point. What is yet to be done, is the job of determining how to use this information to create the strongest Army possible. There is much work to do on developing the best solutions. This will require wide input, trial and error and a workplace climate and culture that acknowledges that Army, everyone, is in a learning space.
We are all walking into new terrain. I’m a cultural forward scout. I present this intelligence report to assist in your preparations. Over to you.
A copy of ‘Teaming: An orientation’ is available here.
About the author:
Liz Boulton is a Transport Corps Officer currently working as a research officer at Army Headquarters. She has deployed to East Timor and Iraq, and has also worked in Africa and the Pacific Islands in civilian logistics, risk communication and liaison roles.