Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies Australia


Thursday 5 April 2018

ADF Health Support Arrangements in Peace and War

AVM Tracy Smart AM

On Thursday 5 April 2018, the ADF's Commander Joint Health and Surgeon General, Air Vice Marshal Tracy Smart AM, addressed members and guests on the ADF's health support arrangements in peace and war.

In a wide-ranging presentation, AVM Smart described how the ADF health support system works, her dual role as CJ Health and Surgeon General, the evolution of Joint Health Command, the range of challenges she confronts and her approach to addressing those challenges. You can find the slides for the presentation here.  A short video on Joint Health Command can be found here

AVM Smart took the opportunity to debunk a number of myths that surround ADF health support, including on mental health issues, outsourcing of aspects of health support and privacy of patient information. She also touched on the challenges arising from the use of "free medical and dental" as a Defence advertising button, including managing expectations about the standard of health care that will be provided, and getting members to value a service that is provided to them free (eg in just six months in 2017, a staggering $0.5 million was wasted paying for specialist appointments that members failed to attend).

(Photo: USI; Bio: Defence)

Thursday 15 March 2018

The Battle of Marawi

Professor Clive Williams, MG

On Thursday 15 March, USI of the ACT Life Member, Professor Clive Williams MG, briefed members and guests on the  Battle of Malawi, which was fought between the Government of the Philippines and it supporters (including Australia) and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The battle commenced on 23 May 2017 and ran for five months. 

Clive covered a range of issues, including the influence of Islamic State and the Battle for Mosul, the prevailing demographics in and around the city and other local issues that contributed to the uprising, and the performance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

His conclusion was that dealing with the aftermath of the battle will be problematic due to the catastrophic damage caused around the centre of the city, ongoing local tensions, and problems inside the Government of the Philippines.

(Photo: USI.  Biography: ANU)

Thursday 8 February 2018

Home Sweet Home: A Critical Historical and Contemporary Perspective on the Emergence of the Department of Home Affairs

Professor John Blaxland

On 8 February, Professor John Blaxland, Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, presented to more than 100 USI of the ACT members and guests on the new Department of Home Affairs. In an entertaining but thought provoking address, Blaxland set out a range of concerns about the new arrangements. He described the evolution of the Australian Intelligence Community since Federation, arguing that changes had resulted incrementally - and sensibly - over time in response to periodic reviews and Royal Commissions. He contrasted this with the decision to form the Department of Home Affairs, the imperative for which remains unsatisfactorily explained.  You can find the slides for the presentation here and listen to the audio here.

(Photo: USI)

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