The Battles Before
Case studies of Australian Army leadership after the Vietnam War
Edited by David Connery
Published by Big Sky Publishing
RRP $19.99 in paperback • ISBN 9781925520194
Published as part of the Australian Military History Series, The Battles Before examines the role of our senior Army leaders in preparing the army for war.
David Connery, in his introduction, characterises the work of generals in peacetime as “battles” – whether this be battling for budgets in committee rooms; battling the volume of paperwork; shaping the army’s image in the media or fighting for the acceptance of ideas that may lead to change in the service.
The five case studies cover the period from the early 1970s to 2010 and involve a series of pivotal moments in the history of the Australian Army:
- the dramatic downsizing that followed the Vietnam War;
- the 1985 Dibb Review and
- the build up to the East Timor intervention in 1999.
- The final chapter focuses on the crucial role of the Army’s leadership in developing the next generation of leaders.
Brigadier Nicholas Jans, in his foreword, highlights the fact that, of the 100 or so Australian officers who achieved the rank of major general since the Vietnam War, only a small number commanded troops on overseas operations, but all of them would have experienced a number of campaigns.
Verdict: Highly recommended for military leadership aspirants.