ISSUE 190 : Mar/Apr - 2013 - Australian Defence Force Journal

adfjournal.adc.edu.au

ISSUE 190 : Mar/Apr - 2013 - Australian Defence Force Journal

Modern Expeditionary Warfare 1Major David Beaumont, Australian ArmyIntroductionExpeditionary warfare is a traditional juxtaposition to territorial defence strategies—or amethod of invasion—and, as such, has been a consistent feature of war. However, its mostmodern concepts and ideas can be linked to the resurgence of doctrinal thinking that occurredfollowing the conclusion of the Cold War.Against a backdrop of increasing levels of disorder, expeditionary concepts and ideas havebeen renewed or developed, most notably those that consider expeditionary warfare in anoperational-level context. 2 Driven by the notion that it is better to face adversaries abroad thanin one’s own territory, expeditionary warfare is seen by many militaries as a manner by whichsea, air and land capabilities can be employed to address the challenges of contemporarystrategic conditions.The proliferation of concepts and ideas that define modern expeditionary warfare goesbeyond the production of operational concepts addressing new challenges. In recent years,its key concepts have been manifested, often dogmatically, as fundamental building blocks ofmilitary doctrine. In his seminal work, Seapower: a guide to the twenty-first century, acclaimedtheorist Geoffrey Till has sought to narrow this broad topic by refining expeditionary warfareto specifics that reflect the requirements of a modern age in war. 3 However, attempts suchas this have not finalised the debate as to whether the modern concepts and ideas regardingexpeditionary warfare are unique to the post-Cold War environment or are merely palereflections of the enduring requirements of militaries performing their expected duties.This article contends that the post-Cold War concepts and ideas of expeditionary warfarerepresent a logical adaptation of historical theories for the purpose of positioning militaryforces for conflict in the modern strategic environment. It will firstly examine these strategiccircumstances so as to emphasise why expeditionary warfare has become particularlyrelevant. It will then address the extent to which this strategic environment has influencedexpeditionary concepts and ideas, through the analysis of several key concepts and byaddressing countervailing arguments. It will conclude that military and academic thinkershave successfully adapted historical precepts on expeditionary warfare to the extent that theynow better reflect the needs of strategy in the post-Cold War age, although the subject is onethat clearly warrants further, ongoing deliberation.The new anarchySince the end of the Cold War, expeditionary warfare has been the subject of much attentionby Western militaries. For the ADF, expeditionary concepts have featured in force structure,strategic policy and a range of doctrine, including the Future Joint Operational Concept(FJOC). 4 Without referring to expeditionary warfare directly, FJOC posits joint operationsbeing conducted by highly mobile and ready forces to meet strategic objectives throughoutAustralia’s immediate region. 595

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines