As geostrategic circumstances darken, there’s new interest in military mobilisation. For Australia, that involves moving the Australian Defence Force beyond its normal peacetime rate of effort. It can be an all-of-nation mobilisation for the ‘big’ war or more selective, like for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars when the ADF expanded, production in some industry sectors ramped up, recruiting increased and the training tempo rose.

Vice Admiral David Johnston, vice chief of the ADF, recently announced that a national mobilisation review is underway, the first since the Cold War. Discussions about mobilisation tend to conjure up images of mass production of tanks, warships and combat aircraft. However, industrial expansion is only part of the story. Technical mobilisation activities are important but not sufficient.

Mobilisation has traditionally been more than simply an engineering or logistical planning exercise; it also includes social issues and concerns. Mobilisation is a process that not only generates military hardware but also ‘marshals the national resources to defend the nation and its interests’. Australia’s greatest national resource is undoubtedly its people. As ADF chief General Angus Campbell observed last year, ‘A democratic nation’s army is as good as the support of its citizens’.

Please click here to read the full “Social mobilisation in a contested environment” article published at The Strategist, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.