Plan BEERSHEBA - Army's future structure
Members of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment manoeuvre an Australian Light Armored Vehicle onto the tank deck of HMAS Betano. Plan BEERSHEBA was announced in December 2011 and will be implemented over the next 10 years.
On 31 October 1917, the 4th Light Horse Brigade charged the Turkish defences at Beersheba, winning a significant victory. Less well known is the reorganisation, re-equipping and retraining of the Desert Mounted Corps that occured in the months prior to the battle that underwrote this feat of arms.
Army has adopted the name Beersheba for the next phase of the Adaptive Army initiative. Plan BEERSHEBA describes a phased program to adjust Army's force structure so that it can generate optimal capability to conform to strategic guidance and meet the challenge of contemporary warfare. It incorporates lessons learned over a decade of continuous operations, and maximises capability through the application of Army's Force Generation Cycle.
Plan BEERSHEBA seeks to ensure that Army is a robust, relevant and affordable element of Australia's defence as described in Force 2030. It positions Army to contribute to the development of joint capability, and the introduction into service of the Defence Capability Plan.
The year 2011 saw the further evolution of Plan BEERSHEBA and the securing of Government agreement in October. Considerable effort was devoted not only to the plan itself, but also to seeking stakeholder endorsement across Army, Defence and Government.
Plan BEERSHEBA involves, in the first instance, the development of Multi-role Combat Brigades, based on the 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades, which have fundamentally common structures containing all elements of the combined arms team. The 2nd Division will support these Brigades, providing additional capacity. Second, Plan BEERSHEBA involves adjustments to the three enabling Brigades (6th, 16th, and 17th) to equip them to better support deployed forces. Third, some adjustments have been identified to enable Special Operations Command to more effectively align its force structure to its standing tasks. Finally, changes will be effected within the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (1st Division) to better support the force generation of Defence's amphibious forces.
Army is committed to the development of a world class amphibious capability. An Infantry battalion will be dedicated to providing 'tip of the spear' amphibious capability, enabled by other elements from the 'Ready' and enabling Brigades. This is an affirmation to Army's commitment to a truly joint amphibious capability.
Plan BEERSHEBA demands a greater operational capability from the Reserve. The 2nd Divison will be closely aligned with the Army Force Generation Cycle and will be responsible for defined capability outputs in direct support of the 'Ready' forces. Its warfighting focus will remain on stability operations and this task will provide the basis for the structure, training and equipping of the Reserve force.
The work conducted in 2011 will see the implementation of Plan BEERSHEBA over the next 10 years and will ensure that the Australian Army optimises its forces to maximise capability in order to remain robust and relevant well into the century's third decade.